There are so many things I love about summer but high on my list are summertime cocktails.  Oh, to behold a plump glass pitcher, dripping little rivulets of cool dewy sweat, jingle-jangling chunks of ice that stand up to the omnipresent heat, filled with just the thing to beat down the choke-hold humidity throws on us every summer.

“I’m not going to drink too much; I’m going to take drunk by the throat.” – Pat Mack, friend since childhood

Summer means putting away the red wine – for me, anyway, because it’s just too damn hot here in the South to fill my gullet with such heady richness – and serving my favorite go-to cocktails.

White Wine Sangria

  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can lemon-lime soft drink
  • 1 peach
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon

Clean and slice the fruit. Mix the vodka, triple sec, sugar and fruit in the bottom of a pitcher and let set until the sugar dissolves. When you’re ready to serve, add in the wine and soda. Serve over ice.



Peartini Ice

  • 1 bottle ice wine (375 ml)
  • 2 cups pear syrup
  • 2 cups pear vodka
  • 2 cups white cranberry juice

Mix wine, syrup, vodka and cranberry juice together.  When ready to serve, add ice and pour.

*Ice wine (dessert wine also known as Eiswein), pear vodka and pear syrup can all be found at larger wine and spirit shops.

**Absolut Pears or Grey Goose La Poire are worth the spend in this cocktail.

Raspberry Tea Slush

  • 8 cups water
  • 6 regular-size tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 cups vodka
  • lemon-lime soft drink, chilled (if desired)


Boil the water and remove from heat.  Allow tea bags to steep in water for 30 minutes to an hour; remove tea bags.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved.

Process lemonade and raspberries in blender until smooth.  Stir together tea, raspberry mixture, and vodka in a large bowl or party bucket; cover and freeze 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve as-is, or stir in lemon-lime soft drink, if desired.

Tequila Mojitos

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups fresh mint sprigs
  • 2 cups lemon-lime soft drink, chilled
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup tequila
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs, lime slices

Bring 1 cup water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add mint sprigs, and let stand 2 hours or until mixture is completely cool.

Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding mint. Stir in lemon-lime soft drink, lime juice, and tequila. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy lives in Lexington, South Carolina, is a contributing writer for the Food & Drink section and is currently working on her first cookbook. Mandy is an award winning recipe writer and judges regional cook-offs and other culinary contests.

“I'm just a gal that likes food. Of course I like to eat, but what I've discovered about myself over the years is that there are more ways for me to enjoy food than just eating it. I like to shop for it, read about it, cook it, entertain with it and write about it. And when it's really good, sometimes I'm tempted to throw it on the floor and roll in it."