Cosmopolitan

If any one drink can be credited for the resurgence of the cocktail in recent years, it’s the Cosmopolitan, which appeared in bars across the country in the mid-1990s. No one seems to know who created it, and there has been much debate as to whether it first appeared in San Francisco or New York. But no matter who first put these ingredients together, there’s no doubt this is the most popular new drink to come along since the martini.

The best thing about the cosmopolitan is that it is extremely well constructed. Although it’s a far cry from the martini, the balance of flavors that comes from mixing the tart lime juice, the semisweet cranberry juice cocktail and the sweet triple sec, and the extra dimension the citrus-flavored vodka adds, is sensational.

Ingredients:
Ice cubes as needed
2 fl. oz. citrus vodka
1 Tbs. triple sec
1 Tbs. cranberry juice cocktail
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

Directions:
Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice cubes. Pour in the vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice cocktail and lime juice and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serves 1.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Guides, The Bar Guide, by Ray Foley (Time-Life Books, 1999).

Monitor

The monitor originated in the Caribbean, probably in Cuba. It is more or less a rum smash with the addition of club soda, which makes for a long, thirst-quenching drink.

Ingredients:
6 fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 Tbs. simple syrup
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Crushed ice as needed
2 fl. oz. light rum
2 fl. oz. club soda
1 lime wedge

Directions:
Put the mint leaves in the bottom of a highball glass. Add the simple syrup and lime juice and muddle well. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add the rum and club soda and stir briefly. Add the lime wedge. Serves 1.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Guides, The Bar Guide, by Ray Foley (Time-Life Books, 1999).

Sangria

Sip this sangria slowly to beat the heat of a summer afternoon.

Ingredients:
1 bottle (750ml) fruity, dry red wine
1/4 cup brandy
2 Tbs. sugar
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 oranges, thinly sliced
3 cups sparkling water
Ice cubes as needed

Directions:
In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, sugar, lemons and oranges and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sparkling water and stir to blend. Fill 4 glasses with ice and pour the sangria into the glasses. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Spain & Portugal, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 2000).

White Sangria

Use whatever stone fruits look freshest at your market to create this refreshing sangria. It’s the perfect cooler for a hot summer day.

Ingredients:
6 peaches, plums or nectarines, or your favorite  combination of stone fruits, halved, pitted and  sliced 1/4 inch thick 1 1/2 cups peach nectar
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
1 bottle (750ml) dry Spanish white wine (white Rioja) or Sauvignon Blanc
2 cups club soda, or more, to taste
Ice cubes for serving

Directions:
In a large pitcher, combine the fruit, peach nectar, orange liqueur and wine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

Stir in the club soda and ladle the sangria into ice-filled glasses. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining, by George Dolese (Free Press, 2006).

Easy Latin Drink

This easy Latin drink of sweetened crushed fruit mixed with sparkling water is a nice alternative to soft drinks.

Ingredients:
2 honeydew melons, about 12 lb. total
Juice of 4 lemons
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup crushed fresh mint leaves
3 cups sparkling water, chilled
3 lemons, thinly sliced
Ice cubes as needed
10 to 12 fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Directions:
Cut the honeydew melons in half and remove and discard the seeds. Using a metal spoon, scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Working in batches, puree the honeydew melon in a blender or food processor. As each batch is finished, transfer it to another large bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar and mint leaves to the puree and stir to combine until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours to blend the flavors.

When ready to serve, pour the melon mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a large pitcher or jar. Add the sparkling water, lemon slices and ice and stir well. Pour or ladle into glasses and garnish each glass with a mint sprig. Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining, Edited by Chuck Williams (Free Press, 2005).