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Sherri Richards, Published August 09 2013

Five cocktails that are perfect for summer

FARGO – Hot days call for cold drinks, and this summer I’ve been experimenting with a few cocktail recipes.

White Sangria has become a party go-to I can make from memory. I enjoyed the Blackberry Lemon Gin and Tonics so much, I bought my own mint plant to make sure I’d always have enough around to mix up a tumbler.

Here are five refreshing recipes for the at-home mixologist to try – in moderation, of course.

1. This spring, I’d picked up a couple bottles of Chardonnay on sale. My husband and I weren’t overly impressed with my selection when we uncorked it. So I poured it into a pitcher and stirred up a batch of white sangria using an online recipe I adapted.

Sherri’s White Sangria

1 bottle white wine

1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar

1 cup orange juice

2 ounces brandy

1/2 liter ginger ale or club soda

1 to 2 cups frozen mixed fruit (I use a mix of strawberries, peaches, pineapple and mango)

Add ingredients to pitcher and stir. If wine is chilled, you can serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from http://wine.about.com

2. These pretty pours caught my eye on Pinterest. They’re refreshing and nice change of pace from traditional G&Ts.

Blackberry Lemon Gin and Tonics

Serves 4

12 blackberries

20 fresh mint leaves (I use fewer, usually only 3 per glass)

2 lemons

1/4 cup simple syrup

12 ounces gin

Tonic water

Ice

Using four highball glasses, Place 3 blackberries, 5 mint leaves, juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 tablespoon simple syrup in each glass and muddle together.

Fill each glass with ice. Add 3 ounces gin. Top off each drink with tonic and stir.

Recipe from http://spoonforkbacon.com

3. When we attend baseball games at Newman Outdoor Field, I almost always get one of the homemade wine coolers. One day, it occurred to my husband we could make these at our home, too.

We fill tall glasses with ice, add white wine and lemon-lime soda, and since we don’t generally keep Torani syrup in the house, flavor it creatively. We’ve tried frozen juice concentrate, strawberry margarita mix and Hawaiian Punch.

4. Our friends from Montana introduced us to this delightfully easy-to-make margarita, no mix required.

Blended margarita

Serves at least 4

2 to 3 ounces tequila

2 to 3 ounces triple sec

1/3 can frozen lemonade concentrate

Ice

Pour tequila, triple sec and lemonade concentrate into a blender and top with ice. Blend.

5. Leinenkuegel’s Summer Shandy, a lemony wheat beer, is one of my favorite drinks, but unfortunately only available seasonally, through Labor Day to be precise.

A shandy – short for shandygaff – is a beer mixed with lemonade, ginger ale or other non-alcoholic beverage. In a pinch, I’ve mixed a splash of lemonade with a light beer, or, when I was pregnant, nonalcoholic O’Doul’s. It creates an acceptable substitution.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556