We are about to enter peak outdoor entertaining season. What would a summer afternoon or evening (or morning?) be without a cool drink in hand? If you are looking for beverages to serve a crowd — and you know, give people something to sip thoughtfully while making or avoiding small talk — here are some great options from our archives. Most are flexible and versatile enough to be served with or without booze, and all can easily be scaled based on the size of your gathering.


Blueberry Lemonade With Ginger and Basil, pictured above. This drink is just as vivid in flavor as it is in color. Sip it straight or mix it with club soda, gin or vodka. The berry base lasts a few days in the refrigerator. You do not need a huge piece of ginger for this, so store the rest of your root in chunks in the freezer, either in a zip-top bag or wrapped in aluminum foil.

Summer Garden PunchFirst you start with a homemade cherry tomato shrub (a mixture of fruit, vinegar and sugar) and then use it to make a refreshing punch with green chile vodka and vermouth. The shrub can be mixed with ice water or soda for non-drinkers. It can sit in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Orange Honey Ginger Ale (left) and Watermelon Mint Zinger. These are both designed to be interesting, thirst-quenching, booze-free drinks. If you felt like adding some rum or tequila or your spirit of choice, that is cool with us.

This Little Figgy Went to Kashmir. The technique here uses the spring from a Hawthorne strainer (an inexpensive, basic tool worth keeping around if you like to drink cocktails) to help break up the preserves while agitating the mix in a cocktail shaker. If you do not have one, you can use ice instead, but shake it really hard before straining. With regard to the pimento bitters, the drink’s creator, Post spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan, says leaving them out will not ruin it. She says allspice dram makes a nice substitute, or you can add cinnamon sticks and allspice berries to the pitcher to help make up for the zing of the bitters if you do not have them.

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