Pitcher-Perfect Cocktail Recipes | Minnesota Monthly

Pitcher-Perfect Cocktail Recipes |  Minnesota Monthly
Tasty Cocktails

Photo: Haarala Hamilton

A batch of sangria or a pitcher of cocktails is perfect for a get-together on the deck, patio or porch. With a pitcher of cocktails at the ready, guests can easily serve themselves and you have a little more time to enjoy your own get-together. An easy idea is sangria, which you can personalize in any way you want. Below I provide proportions and ideas for a white sangria to try, and three-ingredient cocktails that show that simplicity is often the key to delicious drinks.


Sangria is not only refreshing and easy to make with the many delicious fruits available at this time of year, but it is also a great drink to get you going. Recipes vary widely, but the key elements are wine, your favorite fruit, a touch of sugar, a little liquor, and maybe an aftertaste of fizzy. Start with a wine you would normally enjoy drinking. And while red wine is the original, rosé or white wine works just as well, as in the recipe here. Juice of oranges, lemons and limes makes for a crunchy base, then mix in the seasonal fruits you enjoy, such as fresh peaches, nectarines and strawberries or mango and pineapple for a tropical flavor. Use regular, apple or peach spirits brandy or peach or orange liqueur. Try swapping out the soda with flavored sparkling water for an extra flavor boost. Experiment all summer long with your favorite blend of ingredients.

For appetizers to match this refreshing twist on wine, pay tribute to the Spanish origins of sangria with Manchego cheese, olives, and Marcona almonds. The sour touch of Sangria plays nicely against soft, creamy Brie cheese and savory-sweet melon wrapped in prosciutto. You can also serve white sangria with a creamy chicken pasta or a cold pasta salad with chicken, and seafood such as lobster or lobster rolls and crab go well with the wine-fruit pairing.

White Sangria

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

White Sangria

Makes about 6 (8-ounce) servings

1 orange, quartered and sliced ​​inch thick
1 lemon, cut into wedges or circles
1 lime, cut into wedges or circles
¼-½ cup granulated sugar (or favorite sweetener)
1 cup sliced ​​fresh strawberries, peaches, or other seasonal fruits, plus more for garnish
1 cup orange juice, without pulp or squeezed
1 (750 ml) bottle of white wine
½ cup liqueur such as apple/peach brandy, peach schnapps or Grand Marnier
Club soda or ginger ale, top (optional)

Combine the fruit and sugar in a large pitcher and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes to allow the fruit flavors to infuse into the wine. Add the juice, wine, and liqueur and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. When ready to serve, pour a tall wine glass over ice and add a splash of chilled club soda or ginger ale, if desired. Add a little of the fruit to each serving and garnish with more fruit if you like. Keep leftovers in the fridge; it tastes best within 1 to 2 days of making.

Cocktails with three ingredients

When you’re stuck in a cocktail rut, it’s easy to break free. The secret is simplicity. “I think we tend to be too nervous around cocktails—both ordering and preparing them,” writes author Kate Calder in her book, “Cocktails with three ingredients† In it, she wanted to prove that for most of the world’s best cocktails, you only need three ingredients and a few minutes to whip them up. Some may be new to you, others are classics. They’re classics because they work, she says, and it’s comforting to know they’ve been enjoyed decades — or in some cases centuries — before we were born. With the following recipes from the book, you can bring elegance, style and fun to cocktail hour while still keeping it easy and delicious, whether you prefer to mix one or two drinks or a batch.

Tasty Cocktails

Photo: Haarala Hamilton


This cocktail will make the fizz haters change their tone. The grapefruit juice adds strong notes of sour citrus and the syrupy grenadine rounds out the taste for a balanced and refreshing drink. —KC

For 1 Cocktail
2 ounces grapefruit juice
Dry sparkling wine to top up
½ ounce (1 tablespoon) grenadine
Strawberry, for garnish

Batch to serve 6
13 ounces (generous 1½ cups) grapefruit juice
Dry sparkling wine to top up
3½ ounces (lean cup) grenadine
Strawberries, for garnish

Fill your highball glass with ice and add the grapefruit juice and grenadine. Top up with sparkling wine, stir and serve. For a batch, fill individual glasses with ice, then make the cocktail in a large pitcher or punch bowl with ladle (a few handfuls of ice in the bowl) and serve. Garnish with strawberries.

Citrus Punch

Photo: Haarala Hamilton

Citrus Punch

Spicy, sweet cocktails for serving a crowd – punch bowls are made for cocktails like this one. The combination of ginger beer and vodka lifts the fruit juice and makes it invigorating. —KC

For 1 Cocktail
1 ounce vodka
2 ounces citrus juice
2 ounces alcoholic ginger beer
Orange, lemon and lime slice, for garnish

Batch to serve 4
3½ ounces (scanning ½ cup) vodka
8½ ounces (1 cup) citrus juice
8½ ounces (1 cup) alcoholic ginger beer
Orange, lemon and lime slices, for garnish

Fill a highball glass with ice and add the vodka and fruit juice. Top up with ginger beer, stir and serve. For a batch, add all ingredients to a pitcher or punch bowl with ice, stir and serve. Garnish with slices of orange, lemon and lime

Rum Runner Cocktails

Photo: Haarala Hamilton

Rum Runner

A tropical cocktail that can be found at just about every beach bar along the Pacific coast, it’s made from the classic combination of rum and fruit. It tastes (okay, might just look) better in an overly garnished tiki mug, but since you’re unlikely to have one between the teacups, a rum runner tastes great in a highball glass too. —KC

For 1 Cocktail
2 ounces dark rum
3½ ounces pineapple juice
1 tablespoon grenadine
Slices of pineapple, a maraschino cherry, pineapple leaf and a parasol, for garnish

Batch to serve 6
12 ounces dark rum
21 ounces pineapple juice
6 tablespoons grenadine
Slices of pineapple, a maraschino cherry, pineapple leaf and a parasol, for garnish

For one drink, fill your tiki glass or hurricane mug with ice and set aside. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and then add all the ingredients. Close the lid and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into your mug or glass and serve. Garnish with pineapple slices, a maraschino cherry, pineapple leaf and a parasol.

For a batch, combine rum, pineapple juice, and grenadine in a pitcher and stir. Pour over ice in serving glasses and garnish with pineapple slices, a maraschino cherry, pineapple leaf and umbrella.

Recipes and photos from “Cocktails with three ingredients” by Kate Calder © 2021 Used with permission from Hardie Grant London. Photos by Haarala Hamilton.

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