With summer in full swing, and the dog days of summer upon us, this is a great time of year for backyard parties and pitchers of easy-to-make but delicious cocktails to indulge your guests with.  It’s important to remember, regardless of your climate, your drinks will be best if chilled. Also, allowing your mixed drinks enough time to fully develop will result in the best possible drinks for you and your guests.

Red Wine Sangria

Not many people may know that Emeril Lagasse’s skills in the kitchen continue to the bar. However, his red wine sangria is easy to make, and absolutely refreshing.  In a large bowl, combine two bottles of chilled red wine, one cup of your favorite brandy, one cup of orange juice, and one quarter cup of sugar. Then, stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Then add into the bowl two oranges, sliced, two lemons, sliced, three key limes, sliced, two apples that have been cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Before serving, add two cups of cold club soda and stir, serving over ice.

Strawberry Basil Margarita

Nancy Mitchell of The Kitchn offers her recipe for her easy to make strawberry basil margaritas.  Mix together one 12-ounce can of frozen limeade concentrate, 2 1/2 cans of water, and 1 1/2 cups of tequila in a pitcher.  Hull 10-12 strawberries, slice lengthwise, and then add to the pitcher. Then, add about eight basil leaves that have been crumpled in order to release the basil flavor into the drink.  Cover the pitcher and allow to sit in the fridge for at least four hours, but ideally overnight.

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri

Perhaps there is no drink more synonymous with summer than the strawberry daiquiri, and Maureen Petrosky’s version on The Kitchn is easy to make, and perfect for the backyard summer party.  In a blender, combine one cup of white rum, three cups of fresh strawberries that have been hulled, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, and about one cup of ice. Then, pulse evenly before serving in chilled glasses.

Mojito

Jim Meehan of Food & Wine, offers readers a simple receive to follow to make a classic mojito, the quintessential summer drink.  In a pitcher, add one cup of rum, four ounces of simple syrup, three ounces of fresh lime juice, 16-20 mint leaves, and ice, stirring very well. Using a strainer, pour into ice-filled or chilled glasses. Next, add about one-half ounce of chilled club soda into each cup, and garnish with a mint sprig.