13 Jun

Written by Lizzie on June 13, 2014

Summer Drinks

A fuss-free, easy way to look like you’ve made an effort when entertaining is to mix your own drinks. We’re not necessarily talking booze either; a non-alcoholic, homemade cocktail can go a long way to adding that stylish, polished edge to your party. Let’s get real: to anyone but the perfect host, the subject of cocktails can be rife with stress. Handmade or expensive ingredients listed one after the other (hands up if you think there are too many summery, boozy treats seem to call for obscure liquers and cordials), before you know it you’ve blown your budget on just one offering and you’re back to cheap plonk and fizzy pop. Well, not this summer. I’m here to talk you through two cooling, refreshing beverages which take minutes to mix and make it seem like you’ve slaved over them for hours. One alcoholic, one soft, and both delicious – this line up is all you need in your BBQ or garden party arsenal, easily adaptable for the colder months too. Let’s get started.

Rose Bellini: This is our alcoholic offering – a charming, stylish drink for guests on arrival, or the ideal accompaniment for a celebratory shindig. Bear with us, this one requires a bit of planning, but we promise it’s easy. All you need is a cup full of rose petals. You can pick ’em up from the florist or pluck them from the garden, just check the label when going with supermarket options (they might contain nasties).

The day before your party, remove the petals from your flower and rinse them under cold water. Add a cup of cold water into a saucepan and place it on the heat. To the water, add one cup of sugar, whatever you have, caster will dissolve quicker but granulated will also work well. Stir over the heat as the sugar dissolves. Throw in the clean rose petals and turn the heat down. Leave the mix on the hob for around 10 minutes, gently simmering. Leave to cool and when the mix reaches room temperature, strain it into a sterilised jar. The sugar content means you can keep the syrup at room temperature for up to a month!

Now it’s time to assemble your cocktail! Bubbles have their way of making everything seem that little bit more exciting, but you don’t need high quality champagne to make this work. Shop around for deals on prosecco and cava, champagne’s Italian and Spanish cousins. You can currently buy a bottle of Plaza Centro Prosecco 75Cl for 50% off RRP, just £6.49. Keep an eye on our Tesco, Ocado and Sainsburys pages for the latest deals. All you need to do to assemble is spoon two teaspoons of rose syrup into a flute. Top up with bubbles and you’re ready roll. This is a great option for a cocktail when hosting because it takes barely a minute to put together – so you lose next to no time with your guests!

Non-alcoholic White Sangria: This drink is a fruity treat, as complex as a cocktail. So often, soft drinks are packed with real or artificial sugars, making them sticky and sickly. This mix requires quite a bit of fruit, but if you buy frozen or tinned, you can shave pounds off the cost. When buying mixers, always remember that it pays to go own-brand. For this recipe we’re using Tesco Tonic Water, buy a multipack of four for just £1.60. That’s a whopping 40p less than it costs for just two bottles of Schweppes. Buy low calorie and this drink will be diet friendly, too!

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use any fruit you have lying around. Find yourself a large jug. Chop any fresh fruit you intend to use. This could be anything from a leftover apple to mango – be creative! If you’re using frozen fruit, this has added benefits as it’ll act as ice to keep the drink cool – perfect if you’re drinking in the sun. If you’re not using frozen fruit, just add some ice cubes instead. Grab a handful of berries, and add whatever else you like – tinned peaches and pineapple also work well. Fresh herbs like mint and thyme add a lovely edge to this drink too.

You want the fruit to fill around one third of the jug. Take the tonic water and pour until it reaches the top. A jug is a good option as you can work the room, pouring as you go, instead of locking yourself away in the kitchen! Make sure to add a few bits of fruit to each glass, then when it’s empty you can simply add more tonic water to what’s left in the jug.

So there you have it, two summer drink options to keep you hydrated as you celebrate under those rays. Let us know how it goes! If you have any other recipes or ideas, be sure to share them over on Twitter @LizzieShopScoop or down in the comments. Happy drinking!

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