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Years ago after moving into this home it seemed that the large stone terrace garden and other open spaces on the grounds were perfect for summer entertaining, sharing cocktails with friends and neighbors. One such year was a mojito inspired party, serving many guests, the night was a hit. I guess the chatter and excitement of the party with the unusually warm weather was the perfect combination to enjoy such a frosty and minty drink. 

As the years went by, more and more parties were held, each with their own theme and plan. I was noticing a pattern, how the party flowed and what was necessary to keep the party going. Considering the details and flow of guests is crucial to the success of such an event. You will know how much to prepare, best times to hold outdoor soirées and so on. 

Long before the party, planning was underway to determine the current year’s theme and featured drink. Guests were always welcome to bring something, but it is not necessary. One of the greatest joys for your guests is to offer them your hospitality.

To this day, with gratitude, the annual summer parties are a memorable experience for the many guests who have attended and look forward to another great evening. 

For now, the days are growing longer and temperatures are rising. Here is my classic mojito recipe and a watermelon version that has served my guest well, not to mention is an excellent thirst quencher after a long day of weeding in the garden, the perfect moment for a mojito, to refresh and relax. 

 

Classic Mojito Recipe 

2 ounces Flor de Caña silver rum

2 ounces fresh lime juice, strained

4 mint leaves

2 teaspoon sugar

2 ounces club soda 

In a 10-ounce tumbler, muddle the mint leaves with the sugar until the sugar turns light green and only flecks of mint remain. This step releases the essence of the mint that will flavor and perfume the drink. Pour in the fresh lime juice, and rum. One of my top favorite rums to use for this drink is Flor de Caña silver rum.

Add in the ice, yes, lots of ice. Fill the glass all the way to the top and finish with club soda. 

I find that beverages such as these are best made to order. Freshness is a great thing to savor. 

 

Watermelon Mojito Recipe 

2 ounces Flor de Caña silver rum

2 ounces fresh watermelon juice

1 ounce fresh lime juice, strained

4 mint leaves

1 ½ teaspoon sugar 

1 ounce club soda 

In a 10-ounce tumbler, muddle the mint leaves with the sugar until the sugar turns light green and only flecks of mint remain.  Pour in the watermelon juice, fresh lime juice, and rum.  Fill the glass all the way to the top with ice and finish with club soda.

*note: To make fresh watermelon juice, remove the rind of the watermelon and place flesh in a food processor, process until smooth. Strain through a medium size sieve and again through a fine mesh sieve. The color will depend on the variety of the fruit, so I suggest the small individual ones. They have deep red color and are sweeter in character. I shy away from using a blender as it is too hard for this purpose, much of the pulp becomes too fine and muddies the flavor. 

If you are planning an evening to entertain friends, give these recipes a try. Or, use the classic mojito recipe as a starting point to create your own unique mojito. Don’t stress the heat, have a mojito!

Sangria is the perfect beverage for big summer parties and is always a favorite. With endless variations this drink can be any combination of wine, fruit and a bit of added spirits. Red sangria is classic and most thought of, but a crisp white sangria can be quite refreshing if one prefers white wine over red. Choose a light, dry, young wine such as Rioja for the best refreshment.

 

Sangria Recipe

 

1 bottle red wine [Rioja]

1 cup fresh orange juice

½ cup French brandy

½ cup Grand Marnier

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup granular sugar

2 cup club soda [optional]

 

2 Meyer lemons, thinly sliced

2 navel oranges, thinly sliced

 

  1. Combine the wine, liqueurs, citrus juices and sugar in a glass pitcher.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved
  3. Add citrus slices and chill for an hour.
  4. Add club soda, if using, just before serving.

It seems you can never have enough sangria on hand, so make plenty. Some of the best food to serve with this popular drink from Spain is any type of grilled seafood. The smokiness of grilled food balances well with sangria’s bright, refreshing flavor.

 

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