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Spring Cocktails: Let's Celebrate Spring

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It's time to celebrate - today is the first day of spring! We are celebrating by sharing our favorite spring cocktail to enjoy a well deserved break. Sit on your porch, deck or backyard and think about the upcoming months of warm weather. We did it. We survived another winter! Here are a few of my favorite warm weather cocktails with some tips on how to mix them up even better...

The first thing I start craving when the weather even hints at warming up is a margarita. I've tried making margaritas at home, but they end up tasting too sweet, too sour or both. So, I consulted the pro's at Martha Stewart for tips on making a restaurant-worthy margarita at home and this is what I found out.

Start with high quality ingredients including the best tequila you can find. It turns out, the margarita mix from the supermarket was at fault for my too sweet margaritas. I should have known!

Margarita Recipe (from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:
lime, cut into 6 wedges
Coarse salt
Ice cubes
1 3/4 cups tequila
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 to 4 tablespoons Lime Simple Syrup

To make Lime Simple Syrup:
Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
zest of 1 lime

Combine sugar, water and lime zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Strain out the zest before using.

Salt the rims of your glasses. Blend mixture on low and increase until ice becomes frothy. Taste and add more simple syrup if needed. Drink and repeat.

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Mojitos are tied with margaritas as my favorite spring/summer drink. I love the fresh mint and the citrus combined. If you have some fresh sugar cane, it adds a tropical touch to the drink and tastes delicious soaked with rum. Mint grows very easily, so plant some seeds or a small plant and you can have your own stash of fresh mint all summer.

Mojitos from Martha Stewart

Mojitos Recipe (from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
4 sprigs fresh mint
Seltzer
3 ounces white rum

Combine lime juice, sugar and mint. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add rum and stir. Fill 2 tall cocktail glasses with crushed ice. Strain cocktail into the two glasses and top off with seltzer. Garnish with mint sprig and lime wedge or sugar cane and mint.

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Another cocktail that uses mint and is very easy to make is a Summer Breeze, also from the pro's at Martha Stewart.

Summer Breeze Recipe

Ingredients:
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup pink grapefruit juice
2 ounces gin
Fresh mint leaves
Ice
Seltzer

Mix ingredients, adding desired amount of ice and seltzer.

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