Let's be real: Here in Florida, we could use a fruity, frozen cocktail 10 months out of the year. But as we head into the height of summer, dips in the pool and sips from a frosted glass are necessities. � Pureed watermelon, frozen margaritas, fresh mint — they all pair well with the unrelenting heat of the Sunshine State. Fruity cocktails can get a party going and cool your guests off at the same time. Plus, fruit juices and purees are a healthier alternative to other mixers like sugary soda. So find a shady spot in the back yard (bonus points if there's a pool!) and pour something refreshing for friends and family.
Alcohol We're sticking with lighter liquors for these refreshing drinks. Think vodka, tequila, gin and light rum.
Fresh herbs Basil and mint are must-have garnishes.
Simple syrup This mixture is a necessity for fruit cocktails. To make simple syrup, heat equals parts water and sugar together in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Let cool before using. If you're pressed for time (or lacking in creativity), you can always rely on this simple cocktail formula: A splash of simple syrup + a splash of liquor + a fruit juice of your choice. The more ice in the glass, the better.
Fun straws What's a fruity cocktail without a crazy, colorful straw? Barbershop pole-striped paper straws in a variety of colors are available everywhere from eBay to Target.
Watermelon Margaritas Watermelon puree and ice make this refreshing.
Blueberry-Peach Mojito A different take on the typically lime-heavy mojito.
Pineapple Basil Cocktail A simple concoction with a tropical edge and fresh herbs adding a nice twist.
Between all that splashing and slurping, your guests are going to get hungry. For snacks, have something light on hand that can withstand the heat. And for the main entree, go ahead and pull out the grill.
Trail mix Mix equal parts cashews, Brazil nuts, dried mango, coconut flakes and banana chips in a bowl.
Fruit Lean into the fruity theme with watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew cut into easy-to-grab slices.
Þ Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad
Þ Burgers a la Pizzaiola