Cookbook Profile

Beach Bar Essentials

from The Summertime Anytime Cookbook

The Summertime Anytime Cookbook


All you need to know to become a great domestic bartender is how to master a few impressive drinks. There is no need to stock your bar with a bonanza of alcohol. When I entertain, usually my guests will politely ask, "What are you drinking?" or "What's open?" leaving me the opportunity to offer them whatever is on tap. For dinner parties, I usually make a "house cocktail"—something colorful with a tantalizing name—and present it as guests arrive. Invariably, guests will opt for the enticing drink or else choose something tamer like wine or water. Here are some more tricks of the beach-bar trade:

Start collecting attractive glassware

The pieces needn't be costly or crystal, or even form a large matching set. Your collection should include champagne flutes, highballs (tall with straight sides), rocks (old-fashioned) glasses, and a few large tumblers for blended drinks.

Buy in bulk

Most name-brand (expensive) alcohol is available in large jugs at Costco and other discount superstores. Premix your cocktail du jour and pour it into an attractive pitcher. Your guests will never know your thrifty bar secrets!

Use large ice cubes

Small cubes or shavings water down drinks.

Garnish glass or pitchers

Some of my favorite garnishes are slices of grapefruit and blood orange, fresh mint sprigs, pomegranate seeds, olives on jeweled cocktail sticks, and frozen cranberries, raspberries, or peach slices, which help keep cocktails cold.


See recipes for Sunset Cocktails.


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This page created August 2008