Grilling. Outdoor drinking. Boundless sunshine. The bittersweet pain of the season’s first sunburn.
Memorial Day weekend kicks off the season of casual entertaining, and to make the most of the 16 weekends between now and Labor Day, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan. Otherwise, you might find yourself throwing frozen chicken nuggets on the grill because that is all that’s in the house.
Oh boy, do we ever have a plan: boozy barbecue sauce; an oversized monster bowl of punch; summer cocktail classics for every kind of drinker. Recipes for the best summer ever? We think so.
Throwing a Memorial Day party? Make it memorable with one of these eight enticing recipes that serve a crowd. Whether you choose the rum-based Martha Washington Punch or the mezcal-spiked Oaxacan Punch, you won’t have to worry about running out of party fuel.
Memorial Day is the perfect time to fire up that grill. Try this recipe from chef Adam Perry Lang for barbecue sauce punched up with some bourbon. The recipe calls for a modest quarter of a cup of the spirit, which blends seamlessly with the other ingredients, including apricot preserves and molasses.
Still not sure what you want to sip for Memorial Day? Watch all-star West Coast mixologist Erik Adkins show you how to make three summertime classics in our How to Cocktail videos: The super-simple Presbyterian, the frothy Gin Fizz and the boozy Sazerac. These drinks are equally simple and delicious, whether you’re already feeling summer’s heat or there’s still a chill in the air.
Ever tried a Tom Collins? Well, this cooling tipple is perfect for throwing together at the last minute and has satiated decades of discerning drinkers. Want to know more? Check out cocktail historian David Wondrich’s account of who actually created this classic summer cocktail. Our advice: start reading after you’ve mixed one for yourself.
Celebrate the season’s beautiful weekends with warm-weather cocktails from a pair of master mixologists, Angus Winchester and Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Winchester’s gin-based Bloomsbury Fizz adds club soda to the classic Clover Club, creating a drink even more refreshing than the original. And Morgenthaler’s aperitif The Lone Ranger is a delightful combination of tequila, lemon juice, rich simple syrup (two parts sugar to one part water) and delicious brut rosé sparkling wine.
Don’t get caught drinking inside on a warm and sunny day. When the weather permits, we recommend you try one of our favorite outdoor refreshers for the holiday, including the Mojito and the Sherry Cobbler. And, if you feel like hitting the town, check out our list of the best rooftop bars in the country.
Though you can make a case for sipping most drinks when the sun shines, there are a few tried-and-true warm-weather recipes we hope you won’t forget about this Memorial Day, starting with the quintessential British Pimm’s Cup, which is chock full of tasty seasonal fruit. Next up: The rum-based Strawberry Daiquiri—and we’re not talking about the ones made with pre-bottled mix. Finally, an easy Sangria is useful, especially this south-of-the-Equator twist that includes cachaça, a Brazilian sugar cane spirit.
Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.