Five-minute frou-frou

When it’s hot, nothing satisfies like a fresh, ripe, summer fruit cocktail. More about the fruit than the alcohol, the perfect drink goes down a little too easily, threatening to keep you in your seat to enjoy the summer evening a bit longer than you had planned.

Here are a few recipes to try, using ingredients that can be found right now at u-picks, farmers markets, and local grocery stores close by.

Keeping in tune with the lazy summer state of mind, all of these can be made with minimal preparation – usually about five minutes – and can be kept ready in the fridge for a few hours if you know that guests are coming.

A blender or a food processor is a necessity here, just to puree the fruit. No other specialized bar equipment or fancy glassware is necessary – just simple tall glasses and a generous supply of ice.


Mango margarita (makes two)


– 1 fresh mango, pureed

– 1 lime, juiced

– 2 oz. triple sec

– 3 oz. Tequila


To prepare the mango, cut pulp into chunks and process in food processor or blender with the lime juice until very smooth. Frozen mango works great here too, and is often less expensive. Hold puree in the refrigerator if prepping in advance.  When ready, fill tall glasses with ice, and mix the remaining ingredients in with the mango. Taste. If too tart, stir in a splash of orange or apple juice. Pour into the prepared glasses and serve.


Peach Bellini (makes two)


– 2 fresh peaches, very ripe

– 1/4 lime, squeezed

– 6-8 oz. sparkling wine, chilled

– 2 t. simple syrup, optional


Peel the peaches and puree with the lime juice until very smooth. The acid in the lime juice will protect the delicate color, especially if preparing in advance. Add the simple syrup (see recipe below) if the wine you are using is dry or the peaches are not super sweet. Fill a champagne flute or wine glass 1/3 full with the puree, then top with the wine. Stir. Prosecco is a nice sparkling wine to try. Be sure to taste, and add a drop or two of simple syrup if needed.


Spiked summer smoothie (makes two pint glasses)


– 1 fresh peach, very ripe, peeled

– 1 banana

– 1/2 cup raspberries or other berry

– 2/3 cup orange juice

– 2 oz. vodka

– 1/3 cup seltzer or soda water


Put first four ingredients together in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Hold in the refrigerator until ready to use. Fill pint glasses with ice and pour mixture over the top until 2/3 full. Add 1 oz. vodka to each glass and top with soda. Stir. Taste. You may add some simple syrup to brighten the flavor if needed.


Note: frozen berries work great for this recipe, too. Often cheaper than fresh, their flavor is usually just as good.



Melon cooler (makes two)


– 1/2 cantaloupe, honeydew, or 1/4 smaller watermelon, the riper the better

2 t. simple syrup

2 limes, juiced

2 oz. gin


Note: This recipe requires a fine mesh strainer!


Peel the melon and remove seeds. Cut in large chunks and puree in blender or food processor. Set a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour puree through. Stir with a wooden spoon to force liquid through. Stir in simple syrup and lime juice. Fill a goblet with ice, add juice and then gin. Stir and taste. Melons vary wildly in ripeness, so some may need more sugar than others. Garnish with a mint sprig. 


Simple syrup


– 1 cup water

– 1 cup sugar


Combine in saucepan over medium heat and let boil for five minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Has a variety of uses – whenever sugar is needed in liquid form: ice tea, lemonade, or dreaming up more cocktails!




This weekend: The Bite of Oregon

Waterfront Park, Aug. 11-1 Admission is $7.

    An event with statewide participation from chefs and vintners, focusing on food from our region. Heavy on the seafood, the menus available online for the Bite are much less inventive than those in the past. Surely they’re big sellers, but do we have to have crab cakes and seafood cocktail every year?

    Check out spice-rubbed grilled Oregon lamb skewers in a house-made huckleberry glaze from Chef Merlyn Baker of Foley’s Station Restaurant in LaGrande. “This is our first time at the Bite, and if we’re going to travel all the way across the state we’d better make something fun and interesting,” Baker said. His Vietnamese-style Pang Pao Halibut sounds seductive too.