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Food Deadline Easy Summer Entertaining

Sangria is an easy drink to make for a summer party. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Party hosts looking for creative drinks for their summer celebration menu can prepare a variety of beverages and cocktails for guests.

Hosts can get creative with a number of drink recipes by adding different spices, fruits and more to the mix.

According to the Flavor Forecast team from McCormick, one of the beverage trends this summer explores icy treats and incorporating them into drinks.

"Our latest Flavor Forecast trend reinvents traditional treats to meet everyone's increased craving for bold flavor experiences," said McCormick executive chef Kevan Vetter. Shaved ice and other iced renditions can easily be added to cocktails and mocktails.

"Bold, concentrated flavors from fresh fruit syrups, bitters, sours and spices guarantee they won't get diluted as the ice melts. Sip, slurp, spoon and repeat," writes the Flavor Forecast team.

In addition to the iced trend, there is much to be done with fresh fruit - such as purees and syrups as well as adding other ingredients such as cucumbers, olives, herbs and more to seasonal drinks.

Creamy creations, according to the team at Flavor Forecast, are also fun and flavorful when it comes to creating drinks. Beverages, such as a buttermilk masala chaas drink, can include various ethnic flavors from regions such as Thailand and India.

Serve the following drinks at your next party.

Twisted Maria

Twisted Maria

Twisted Maria

6 ounces DeLeon Platinum tequila

4 ounces Watermelon Juice

12 Cherry tomatoes on Vine

4 ounces Lime juice

4 teaspoons Agave

Glassware: Rocks Glass/Collins

Garnish: Lime Wedge and Tomato

DIRECTIONS: Mull 12 cherry tomatoes in a shaker. Blend 10-12 pieces of watermelon or 1 ounce of watermelon juice into shaker. Add in remaining ingredients and pinch of salt. Shake, strain and pour over ice.

From Fingerprint Communications

'Skinny' Mango Margarita

Food Column American Table Skinny Mango Margarita

Skinny Mango Margarita

Servings: 2 drinks

1.5 ounces favorite Silver Tequila

1 ounce Patron Mango Liqueur

2 ounces fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Ground cinnamon

Meyer lemon or orange slice, cut in half for garnish

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a short "rocks" glass filled with crushed ice. Dip the side of the Meyer lemon or orange slice into the cinnamon and garnish the glass. I make a cut in the center of the slice with a paring knife so that it slips over the rim of the glass more easily.

Chef's Note: One ounce is equal to 2 tablespoons. If you don't have an ounce measure, you can use a tablespoon.

From Associated Press

Grapefruit Basil Kombucha Mocktail with Butterfly Pea Flower Shaved Ice

Grapefruit Basil Kombucha Mocktail with Butterfly Pea Flower Shaved Ice

Grapefruit Basil Kombucha Mocktail with Butterfly Pea Flower Shaved Ice

Colored Ice

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6 cups water, divided

1/4 cup dried pea flowers

Basil & Anise Syrup

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons Organic Anise Seed

1 teaspoon Basil Leaves

Grapefruit kombucha

1 cup Basil & Anise Syrup, chilled

1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, chilled

1 cup unflavored kombucha, chilled

1/4 cup cold water

1 cup chillled seltzer water, divided

4 edible orchid flowers, (to garnish)

DIRECTIONS: For the colored ice, bring 1 cup of the water to boil in small saucepan on medium-high heat. Add pea flowers; steep until flowers are hydrated and water is tinted blue. Strain through a fine sieve; discard flowers. Mix blue pea flower water with remaining 5 cups water in large glass measuring cup, stirring until well blended. Pour mixture into ice cube trays. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the Basil & Anise Syrup, mix all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to simmer on medium heat. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Strain mixture through fine sieve. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled.

To make the Grapefruit Kombucha, mix Basil & Anise Syrup, grapefruit juice, unflavored kombucha and water in large glass measuring cup.

To serve, shave pea flower ice cubes using a food processor or ice shaver. Place 3/4 cup of the shaved ice into bottom of beverage glass. Place orchid flower in glass on top of ice. Layer with an additional 1/4 cup of the shaved ice.

5. Mix 3/4 cup Grapefruit Kombucha and 1/4 cup seltzer. Pour over ice and serve immediately to reveal color-changing beverage. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 beverages.

From McCormick

SANGRIA

Food Deadline Easy Summer Entertaining

Sangria is an easy drink to make for a summer party.

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 8

2 cups rose wine

2 cups red wine

2 cups peach juice

1/2 cup lime juice

1/3 cup orange liqueur

1/3 cup rum

1/2 cup superfine sugar

DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate for several hours, then serve over ice.

From Associated Press

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.