2017-08-16 / Arts & Entertainment News

Cocktail or mocktail, it’s time for a cold beverage


Sitting on my balcony yesterday afternoon sweltering due to a heat index of 110 degrees while dreaming of icy, cold summer cocktails — I was reminded of a letter I received from an avid Diva Diaries reader last year who, in her opinion, felt that I shouldn’t refer to spirited beverages in my column because such mentions “promoted alcoholism.”

Margaret from Estero went on to say, “… and, young lady, I think you should look at your own drinking habits and switch to iced tea or soda. You seem to drink too much champagne.”

Oh, dear Margaret from Estero — you can NEVER drink too much champagne.

While I appreciate Margaret’s concern, it’s the hottest, most humid part of summertime in Southwest Florida and it calls for cocktails — cold, delicious cocktails — or, if like Margaret, you choose to avoid spirits, then enjoy a mocktail version.

The following recipes are for some of my favorite summer cocktails (or mocktails, sans alcohol) and are best sipped on a porch, lanai, balcony or boat. Or you can just sit on a cardboard box in your driveway — there’s no pretense when it comes to beating the heat by raising a glass (or a red solo cup).

¦ Popsicle Mimosas — OMG, you guys. My friend Warren just posted these on Facebook and I had to try it. Simply pour some champagne or Prosecco into a large wine glass and then insert a Rainbow Sherbet Popsicle, stick side up, and enjoy. If rainbow flavor doesn’t float your boat, go with orange, strawberry or lemon. The world is complicated these days and sometimes life calls for a simple, easy drink that brings back memories of childhood (for the mocktail version, just substitute flavored sparkling water for champagne).

¦ Divarita — This is basically my own personal version of a margarita — and I’m sorry, Margaret, there’s so much booze in this drink that the only mocktail substitute would be a shaker of salt and glass of ice. The Divarita calls for a tall salt-rimmed glass in which you’ll pour two shots of tequila over ice, the juice of two limes, a splash of orange juice and a shot of Grand Marnier. If your glass is not full enough, please add more tequila. Garnish with a slice of orange — also, you’ll need a straw. You should hear me trying to order the Divarita in restaurants — my husband says he’s going to get the recipe printed onto cards that I can simply hand to bartenders.

¦ Strawberry Lemon Gin Delight — Due to a bad experience with gin and 7-Up on my 21st birthday (if you’ve ever had a 21st birthday party, you get the gist), I’m not a gin fan, but I wish I was because it really is so refreshing and summery. My friend Amy enjoys gin, though, and I’ve had a sip or two of her favorite cocktail and it’s tasty. Mix 1½ ounces of gin with an ounce of fresh lemon juice, a splash of simple syrup and three strawberries in a blender with two cups of ice, blend and serve — garnish with a strawberry (use juniper berry flavored soda instead of gin for your mocktail).

¦ Hemingway Daiquiri — one of my BFFs, Melinda, makes this potent (and yummy) daiquiri named after Key West’s most famous snowbird by filling a blender with one-quarter of shaved ice, 3 ounces of rum, the juice of two limes, the juice of a half of grapefruit, and six drops of cherry liqueur. She blends it up, pours it in a big old goblet and enjoys (for a refreshing mocktail version, just use pineapple juice instead of rum and apple juice instead of cherry liqueur — yum).

Cheers, dear readers. Let’s enjoy our summertime bevvies, for autumn in Southwest Florida will arrive before we know it — as in sometime around mid- January. ¦

— Ciao for now, my lovelies! Stay tuned for another divalicious diary entry next week…

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