Summer flowers aren't just for the centerpieces on your table. Next time you're whipping up a batch of cocktails, think of floral liqueurs and mixers that will punch up your party cocktails. Orange blossom water will lend a fruity, floral taste, while lavender soda will neutralize the acidity in tart summer lemonade cocktails.
Claire Smith, head of Belvedere's Spirit Creation and Mixology, says that making a punch is a great way to save time when it comes to preparing drinks. "No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen during a party," Smith says. "Make the punch ahead of time so on the day of your event you can spend your time interacting and entertaining your guests."
Smith suggests a vodka citrus punch with 8.5 ounces of Belvedere vodka, 4 ounces of lemon juice, 3 ounces of simple syrup and 16 ounces of soda water. Combine the ingredients in a pitcher, and garnish with lemon slices and mint.
Whether you grow fresh herbs or buy them from your farmers market each week, you can use them in everything from your cooking to your cocktails. We all know that mint is wonderful in mojitos, but you can also add fresh basil to lemonade cocktails, and thyme tastes great against the herbal notes in gin cocktails.
Spring and summer are the perfect times to experiment with fruit-forward cocktails, but that doesn't mean you should stock up on juices and syrups. If you buy quality liquors, you won't want to mask their flavor. Use fresh strawberries, pineapples, mangoes — whatever looks good at your market — and combine the muddled fruit with your favorite mixer over ice.
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