On The Early Show Friday, Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor of Bon Appetit magazine (www.bonappetit.com), mixed a bunch of delicious summer drinks perfect for a crowd. You can make plenty at once. They're easy to make, and retain their flavor even when made in large quantities.
Oh, and they pack some punch, too!
LILLET: Aperitif wine produced from a blend of Bordeaux wines, enhanced by liqueurs.
APEROL: An Italian aperitif produced by the Campari company. Its ingredients are, among other things, bitter orange, gentian and rhubarb. The drink has an alcohol content of 11 percent. Aperol is the main ingredient in Spritz.
MOJITOS: A traditional Cuban cocktail that became popular in the United States during the late 1980s and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. A mojito is traditionally made of five ingredients: spearmint, rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime and carbonated water. Its combination of sweetness and refreshing citrus and spearmint flavors are intended to mask the potent kick of the rum, and have made this clear cocktail a popular summer drink.
AQUA FRESCAS: Aguas frescas (Spanish for "fresh waters") are a combination of either fruits, grains, or seeds, and sugar and water, blended together to make a cheap and refreshing beverage. Although most common in Mexico, aguas frescas are also popular in Central America and the Caribbean. Some of the most popular flavors include agua de tamarindo (made with tamarind pods), agua de jamaica (made with hibiscus flowers), and agua de horchata (made with either rice or chufa nuts).
SANGRIA: A wine punch (more formally and precisely, an aromatized wine) that originated in Spain. It typically consists of a red wine, chopped or sliced fruit, a sweetener such as sugar, and a small amount of added brandy, triple sec, or other spirits. But Knowlton made a "blanco" sangria: Instead of using white wine, he used a sparkling wine.
1 bunch fresh mint, washed and stemmed
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups lime juice
1 750 ml bottle light rum or aged rum
4-1/2 cups seltzer or club soda
Garnish: 12 mint sprigs
Combine mint leaves and sugar in a large resealable zipper storage bag. Roll a wooden rolling pin over the mint and sugar mixture for about 30 seconds to bruise the leaves. Pour into a large pitcher. Stir in lime juice and rum. Just before serving add cold seltzer, tilting the pitcher and pouring onto the pitcher's side to retain as much effervescence as possible. Stir gently. To serve, fill 10-ounce glasses with crushed ice (regular ice is OK). Using a ladle, add a few mint lives and then the drink mixture. Garnish each glass with mint sprig.
1/2 cup white grape juice
Licor 43 (an herbaceous Spanish liquor with notes of vanilla and orange, available at some liquor stores); Use 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons), or use brandy if you can't find Licor 43
2 tablespoons sugar
2 750-ml bottles chilled cava
1 cup sliced strawberries
24 fresh mint leaves
Mix the first four ingredients in a pitcher until the sugar dissolves. Mix in cava, berries, and mint. Fill glasses with ice. Ladle sangria over ice and serve.
Watermelon-Ginger Agua Fresca
About 8 Cups (1/2 gallon)
10 cups of 1-inch pieces peeled watermelon (from about 8-pound watermelon), seeded, divided
3 cups cold water, divided
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup (or more) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice (from one 3-ounce piece of ginger)
To make ginger juice: Peel a three-ounce piece of ginger and grate it over a plate. Wrap in cheesecloth; twist at both ends to squeeze out the juice. Or put the grated ginger in a fine-mesh sieve and press to release the juices. In a pinch, bottled ginger juice is available at natural food stores.
Place 2 1/2 cups watermelon and 3/4 cup cold water in blender. Puree until smooth. Pour agua fresca into large pitcher. Repeat three more times with remaining watermelon and cold water. Add lime juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and ginger juice to pitcher and stir to blend. Add more sugar by tablespoonfuls, if desired. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least three hours.
DO AHEAD: Can be made eight hours ahead. Keep chilled. Stir before using. Fill glasses with ice cubes; pour agua fresca over. Garnish each glass with lime wedge and serve.
For adult version, add one 750-ml bottle of vodka.
2 small mango, pitted, peeled, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups 100 percent blue agave silver tequila
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) Simple Syrup
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) Cointreau or other orange liqueur
8 cups ice cubes, divided
Fresh cilantro sprigs (for garnish)
Combine mango and cilantro leaves in medium bowl. Press firmly on solids with muddler or back of wooden spoon until mashed. Mix in tequila, lime juice, Simple Syrup, and Cointreau, then one cup ice. Stir to blend well. Strain into large glass measuring cup. Divide remaining ice between two tall glasses. Pour margarita mixture over. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Simple Syrup (Makes about 1-1/2 cups): Stir one cup sugar and one cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer three minutes. Cool.
DO AHEAD: Can be made two weeks ahead. Refrigerate in airtight container.
In a highball glass, mix a ratio of two ounces spirit (Campari, aperol, Lillet) to two ounces soda. Garnish with orange, lemon, or lime peel or twist.