Food

These Mixed Drink Tricks Will Help You Fit Cocktails into Your SmartPoints Budget

Get-togethers get festive with a refreshing, sophisticated, and easy-to-make drink or two.

Warm-weather social situations are ripe for cold cocktails. Make tasty, cold libations with these steps.
 

Keys to the summer cocktail


>> One formula, many drinks: 1 part sour, 1 part sweet, 2 parts alcohol is the bartender’s golden ratio. But as you’ll see in the recipes that follow, it’s really just a jumping-off point. Tweak to your own taste!

>> Fizz it up: Topping a drink with something sparkling brightens the flavor and makes the drink last longer—so you’ll keep your SmartPoints values under control.

>>Ice picks: In the summer heat, larger cubes melt more slowly in a rocks glass, while smaller cubes or crushed ice work for “long” drinks served in tall glasses. Hosting a crowd? Combine ingredients in a pitcher, but save the ice for the glasses. That’ll keep the melt from diluting what remains in the pitcher.

>>Glass class: You only need three types. Stemmed martini (aka cocktail) glasses are for mixed drinks served “up,” without ice—holding the stem lets you avoid warming the contents of the cup. Rocks (aka old-fashioned or lowball) glasses are for drinks you mix in the glass with an ice cube or two, not in a shaker. And a tall highball (or collins) glass is for drinks served over abundant ice.

>>Rim trim: Moisten the rim of the glass with a citrus wedge or complementary liquid, then dip into a dish filled with kosher salt or sugar.

 

Final flourish: the garnish


To make your cocktail party-worthy, finish it off with one of these pretty garnishes. Each adds flavor, so make sure you’re pairing your drink with an appropriate add-on.
 

Fruit


Thin whole slices or half-moons of lemon, lime, and orange: Cut a notch on one side, so it can slip over a glass.

Wedges of lemon and lime: Cut off each end of the fruit, then halve lengthwise and slice into wedges. Cut a notch on the flesh side.

Twist: Use a paring knife to remove slender strips of citrus peel, taking care to avoid the white pith. Twist over a glass to release the oils, rub it around the rim, then drop it in.

Peel-on pineapple chunks: Cut a notch on the flesh side.

Small whole strawberries: Cut a notch at the tip.

Get fancy: Spear a cocktail pick with a slice of citrus and a piece of pineapple, cherry, or strawberry. Place across the top of the glass.

 

Vegetables and herbs
 

Just stick these in the glass with the drink:

• Small celery stalks with leaves attached

• Carrot sticks

• Mint

• Basil

• Rosemary

 

Classics

Just stick these in the glass with the drink:

• Pimento-stuffed olives

• Cocktail onions

• Maraschino cherries

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