Entertaining is all about being gracious and keeping guests engaged from the beginning to end of an event.  What lovelier start to a hot summer soiree than a cool and refreshing beverage?  We like to offer guests a “welcome drink” upon arrival, alcoholic or non.  Sometimes these drinks are butler-passed on trays by waiters standing at the party entrance; other times we set up a drinks stand or station.  Either way, the presentation should look lovely and taste like a delightful reminder of the season.  Here are some fun recipes we’ll be trying out at jill gordon celebrate parties this Spring and Summer.

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

St-Germain is a delightful French liqueur of elderflower blossoms. It tastes of pear and lychee and lemon, and the sweetness of the liqueur is cut here  by the Champagne bubbles and cool cucumber.  Added bonus:  the St-Germain bottle looks gorgeous on a bar.

St. Germain Welcome Drink for Hamptons Events

Recipe: Fill a tumbler with ice. Fill three-quarters of the glass with dry champagne or prosecco. Add thinly sliced cucumber and fresh mint. Top off with a good splash of St-Germain.

Photo & Recipe via Zested

Barefoot Contessa’s Pink Grapefuit Margarita

Everyone loves a margarita, and what better way to kick of a Hamptons event than with a gorgeous pink drink concocted by East Hampton’s very own Ina Garten.  Who can resist that color?

Barefoot Contessa's Pink Grapefruit Margarita

Recipe: Combine 1 cup of Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 cup Triple Sec Liqueur and 3 cups of ice in a blender.  Blend until slushy and add 1 cup silver tequila.  Pour into glasses that have been rimmed with a cut lime and then dipped in Kosher salt (alternatively, skip this step and sprinkle a touch of salt into each drink). Garnish with a lime slice.  Yields 4 drinks.

Photo and recipe via There Goes the Cupcake

Homemade Ginger Ale

Ginger Ale is a fan favorite, and this recipe from Aran Goyoaga (blogger of Canelle et Vanille) is super easy.  Happily served on its own, this ginger ale can be revved up a bit with Aran’s Strawberry Consomme and a hit of vodka.Ginger Ale Welcome drink for a Hamptons Party or Wedding

Recipe: In a small pot, add 2 Tbs grated fresh ginger, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a boil and allow sugar to dissolve.  Remove pan from heat and let the syrup steep and cool for about 30 minutes.  Strain the syrup through a fine sieve.  Mix with juice of one lemon, 1/8th tsp active dry yeast and 2 qts water.  Whisk together and, using a funnel, pour into a plastic bottle (not glass, as fermentation can crack the glass).  Screw top on bottle and allow to ferment at room temperature for about two days until carbonation forms.  Be sure to refrigerate once it carbonates.  Strawberry Consomme: Toss 1 lb fresh sliced strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar together in a bowl.  Cover and allow to macerate for 24 hours; the strawberries will release their juices.  Strain through a fine sieve without pressing excessively.  Mixology: In an iced rocks glass, mix 1/2 cup ginger ale, 1 Tbs strawberry consomme and 1 Tbs Vodka (to taste – or not at all).  Garnish with fresh lemon slices and sliced strawberries.

Recipe and photo via Design Sponge

Sip and enjoy the season!