Long, hot summer afternoons beg for the company of a cool and refreshing cocktail. Whether you're sunning by the pool, hosting a garden party or just looking for an icy libation at the end of the workday, here are 10 recipes for a glass full of instant vacation, and 10 tips and tricks to turn you into an instant mixologist.
See also: Here are 10 good wines for under $15.
Mandarin Orange Cocktail by Arlen Gargagliano
Home infusion: Do-it-yourself infusion is becoming more popular, and this Mandarin Orange Cocktail recipe is an easy entrée into the process. You'll steep mandarin orange peels in rum for about five days, keeping the infusion in a cool, dark place and shaking it a few times a day while infusing. Use a fine strainer to remove the peels before you make the cocktails.
Negroni by John Mariani
Shaken, not stirred: A stainless-steel shaker will be your loyal sidekick for mixing summertime drinks. Fill your shaker about three-quarters full with crushed ice, then add the ingredients and shake briskly for a few seconds. This Negroni recipe includes Campari, the classic Italian aperitif, in a cocktail that was created in 1935 at Florence's Hotel Casoni: You'll be instantly transported to an afternoon stroll in the Piazza del Duomo "in vacanza. Salute!"
Pancho's Original Margarita by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
Rimming the glass: Whether frozen, straight up or on the rocks, a margarita isn't complete without the ring of salt garnishing the rim of the glass. For that final touch, run half a lime around the rim to moisten it, then shake a thin layer of coarse salt into a saucer and upend the empty glass straight into the salt, leaving a layer coating the rim.
Mexican Mojito by Deborah Schneider
Muddling through: The light, sweet mojito is an ideal choice for warm weather, and the classic beverage for utilizing a muddler. This bartending tool is a steel or wooden pestle, used to crush the fresh mint leaves so that they release their fragrance into the sugar.
Classic Mint Juleps by Florence Fabricant
Simply sweet: Making simple syrup takes only a few minutes, and the liquid can be kept in the refrigerator for sweetening beverages in a jiffy. The basic version requires stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves, then cooling the mixture before use. For the mint-infused simple syrup in this Classic Mint Julep recipe, add fresh mint to the sugar-and-water concoction and refrigerate overnight.