Summer Sippers

Chill-out with these cool and easy drinks.

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No summer soirée is complete without a perfectly refreshing cocktail. Add extra punch to your punch with these fresh ideas.

Decorate the rim with lip-smacking flavor. Line the mouth of each glass with honey and roll it in shaved, toasted coconut―perfect for piña coladas. Use a slice of lime instead of water to salt the rims of your margaritas. For sweet and fruity drinks, dust glasses with granulated sugar or graham cracker crumbs.

Perk up everyday ice cubes. Use inexpensive plastic molds to make cubes in a variety of shapes. Freeze blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or even edible flowers in the individual cubes. Chill mint juleps with mint-leaf cubes for extra flavor.

Be the host, not the barmaid. Set up a bar where guests can help themselves. Prepare fresh-cut fruit in bowls; citrus fruits are a must, but consider exotic options as well, such as star fruit. Don't forget to offer an assortment of colorful napkins, swizzle sticks, umbrellas, and other fun toppers.

The Summer Sippers Checklist
Ice buckets and tongs
Lots of ice
Glasses (Take the hassle out of post-party cleanup by renting them; plan on at least two glasses per person.)
Knife and cutting board
Napkins
Trash can (You can use a tablecloth to hide it under the table.)
Bottle and wine opener(s)
Bowls/trays for garnishes
Pitchers for refreshments (They'll perspire in the heat, so tie a cloth napkin around each handle to ensure a strong grip.)

Stock the Beach Bar
Here are a few of our favorite coastal accoutrements.

Glass swizzle sticks featuring sea stars, seashells, sailboats, dolphins, fish, palm trees, and other beachy themes ($7.49 for a set of six); The Swizzle Stick Store, 570/934-2736 or theswizzlestickstore.com.

Sugar cane swizzle sticks―perfect for daiquiris and fruity cocktails ($13.50 for three packages of 10 to 12); Melissa's, 800/588-0151 or melissas.com.

Nautical-theme or customized cocktail napkins (prices vary); The Stationary Studio; 847/541-5800 or thestationarystudio.com.

ALSO:
 Exotic and Easy: Fresca Pomegranate
(developed by The Culinary Institute of America for The Coca-Cola Company)
4 ounces Fresca
4 ounces pomegranate juice
4 ounces club soda
Pomegranate seeds

Fill a 16-ounce glass half full with ice. Add Fresca, pomegranate juice, and club soda. Stir. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

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