Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Essentials: I Don't Think Prada is the Answer They're Looking For

Hey there - I'm Karen from I Don't Think Prada Is The Answer They're Looking For (yes, it's quite possibly the longest blog name ever). As most of you know, while Jessica is jetting around Cali, she asked a few people to fill the void with their summer essentials. And I'm happy to oblige! Ever since the days of pool parties and Jell-o Pudding Pops, summer had reigned supreme in my mind. These days though, warm summer nights aren't complete without an icy cocktail in hand. So I thought I'd shake things up by detailing my 5 Summer Essential Cocktails!

The great thing about warm-weather drinks is how endlessly adjustable they are: many ingredients are a matter of personal preference. Not a big drinker? A few of these could easily be made for a non-boozy crowd. The summer's meant to be laid-back - remember what Will Smith told us back in the day? - so just grab whatever you have on hand and try out one of these essentials:

1) The classic: Red Wine Sangria

Sangria never goes out of style, and it's a great option for picnics or other outdoor events. Many people dice up the fruit (and feel free to substitute with what's in season!), but I prefer to slice them vertically for a prettier pitcher.

1 bottle red wine (I prefer Shiraz/Syrah)
1 container of frozen lemonade
1 liter of ginger ale
A splash of dark rum (or more if you want to get into trouble!)
1 orange, sliced1 apple, sliced
1 peach, sliced
Maraschino cherries to taste, 3-4 tablespoons of juice included

Mix all the ingredients together in a pitcher, except the ginger ale. Allow to sit for a few hours or overnight. Add the ginger ale before serving and enjoy!

2) The Trendy: Pineapple Mojitos

Mojitos became popular a few years ago, and unlike the Appletini, for instance, it's stuck around. And I for one am glad it did! It's truly refreshing in the summer heat.

10 mint leaves
2 ounces of pineapple flavored rum
1/2 lime, cut into wedges1 tablespoon simple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 - 1/2 cup of club soda
Pineapple chunk, lime wedge and/or a sugar cane for garnish

Muddle the mint leaves with the lime wedges in a pitcher or large glass. A tool called a muddler is very helpful if you're serious about mojitos; but the back of a spoon or a fork can easily do the trick. Add the rum, some ice, and top with club soda.

3) The Keep It Simple Stupid option: Lemon-flavored Italian Soda with Cherry Vodka

Sometimes you don't have time to muddle mint before guests are arriving, and this quick drink can save the day! Simply combine a shot of cherry vodka (my favorite is made by Three Olives) with a few ounces of San Pellegrino Limonata. Garnish with a lemon slice, or some maraschino cherries, and find your place on the patio!

4) The Guys-Get-Bored-of-Beer-Too drink: Spiked Iced Tea

So many cocktails are marketed towards females - the Cosmopolitans, the Pina Coladas, anything involving blue curacao. But sometimes the guys like to take a break from the beer, and they don't want paper umbrellas standing in their way. Spiked iced tea fits the bill! I use the Bourbon Iced Tea recipe found here - which is equally great without the mint!

5) The Neo-Traditional Cocktail: The Gimlet

Gimlets were popular back in the 1950's -- days when it was common to partake in liquid lunches, or have a cocktail before dinner. Sounds glorious! But in the past few years, it's been making a comeback (meaning you can look both glam AND cool by whipping up a batch for your next get together!) Gimlets can be made with vodka, gin or tequila; I prefer gin personally. The classic recipe calls for Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice; I prefer fresh squeezed.

2 ounces of gin
2 ounces of fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup or agave nectar
Splash of club soda

Mix all the ingredients together and shake with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge, for effect :)

Hope you enjoyed that lush-ous (see what I did there?!) review of my summer drinks. Inspiring, right? Time to grab a glass, some friends, and enjoy the summer! {Photo at top is from Slim Aarons gallery - check it out if you'd like some vintage summer inspiration!}

Thank you, Karen! So, anyone up for drinks?


  1. omg bring it on. today was the day from hell. i need to join your blog...i'm on my way.

  2. Those drinks look delicious!

  3. Ooh tasty!! :D And way to be different from everyone else's! I didn't even think about drinks or food when I did mine, haha

  4. Ohhh yes...I want the Pineapple Mojitos
    ...yummmy...That is so great!
    Kisses and have a great Thursday:)

  5. Mmmmmmm. I just adore sangria in the summer!

  6. Owm! Pineapple mojitos sound so good. I tried watermelon ones last weekend (which were awesome) and happened to have purchased the most enormous bottle of rum you can buy, therefore, I need to make more mojitos.

    Chic on the Cheap

  7. I never knew that sangria had lemonade concentrate in it! Personally I prefer a white sangria with tons and tons of diced peaches :)


Thanks for commenting - each one means a lot!

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