With summer’s arrival and the Fourth of July holiday upon us, you’re likely getting ready to throw your annual yay, America! soiree in the backyard or planning a few weekend porch and pool gatherings with friends. The easy part is deciding on what food to serve your crowd. Not so much is the decision for keeping your guests refreshed and, more importantly, from becoming overly intoxicated. Sure, beer and wine are great but why be boring?
We perused our booze book library in search of ideas for serving a thirsty crowd and found the perfect reference manual for such occasions: Kat Odell’s “Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz”.
Published this past March, Odell defines day drinking as imbibing between the hours of noon and 6 p.m. anything on the lower end of the proof scale or drinks containing 10 percent or less booze-by-volume. The key to daytime drinking is low-alcohol allowing for session sipping without becoming undone while also avoiding a wicked hangover the next morning. As Independence Day is on a Tuesday this year, the lack of a hangover on Wednesday is critical.
Thankfully, Odell’s handy day drinking guide includes a handful of low-abv punches and batched cocktails. So, dust off the old punch bowl or grab that 64-ounce pitcher in your cabinet and try one of these low-proof recipes for serving a party crowd.
Spiked Iced Tea
While Odell has this recipe listed as 1 serving, we thought we’d batch it to serve 6 people.
- 36 ounces brewed black tea (she suggests Earl Grey)
- 18 ounces of Pimm’s No. 1
- 1.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 3 ounces honey
In a large glass pitcher, stir together tea, Pimm’s, lemon juice and honey. To serve, guests simply fill a Collins or iced tea glass with ice and garnish with a lemon wheel. Serves 6.
Rosé All Day
A crowd-pleasing spritz cocktail we’ve batched for 8 that incorporates rosé, Aperol and fresh strawberries.
- 16 strawberries, hulled
- 32 ounces chilled rosé
- 8 ounces Aperol
- 4 ounces fresh lemon juice (equal to 4 lemons)
In a large glass pitcher, muddle strawberries. Add rosé, Aperol and lemon juice. Stir together. To serve, have guests pour into a wine glass, add ice and top with a splash of soda water. Serves 8.
Alphabet City White Sangria
Sangria is always a winner at a party. This white wine version Odell offers up uses melons and peaches for subtle sweetness.
- 1 bottle (750 ml) dry, floral white wine (Odell suggests Muscat)
- 1 ½ cups cubed cantaloupe or firm melon
- 1 peach, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¾ cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Combine wine, melon, peach, grapefruit juice and sugar into a large glass pitcher. Stir. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. To serve, have guests fill a wine glass with ice and add sangria. Serves 8.
Recipes adapted from Kat Odell’s “Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz”.