Summertime is finally here! Time to relax, grill and entertain your friends with a party on the patio or by the pool. And what says "Let's party!" more than a cocktail? Fun cocktails can set the tone for a get-together and you don't have to be a bartender or mixologist to impress your friends! All you need are a few flavors of Tastefully Simple's drink mixes and some clever serving suggestions.
What type of cocktail should you serve? Margaritas are widely considered to be the most popular cocktail in the United States. Margaritas are typically made with tequila, which is distilled from the agave plant. To be considered tequila, it must be at least 51% agave and tequila brands range from 51-100% agave. According to the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, there are over 1,000 brands of tequila! Which one should you use for your margarita?
Five basic types of tequila
Blanco (white) is typically clear and is bottled directly after distillation or stored in stainless steel tanks for about four weeks before bottling. Blanco is commonly used for margaritas and other mixed drinks.
Gold can either be a "mixto," where colorings and flavorings are added to a 51% mixture of distilled agave, or a blend of blanco and aged 100% agave. Gold can also be used in mixed drinks, and the mixto variety is often used in bar drinks.
Reposado tequilas are aged in primarily American or French oak barrels or storage tanks, which imparts a golden color and takes on a slight flavor of the wood in which it is stored. This type of tequila is best when sipped.
Añejo tequila is aged for much longer - at least one year in oak barrels - and generally has a smoother, more complex flavor profile. Extra Añejo is aged for three or more years and is the highest quality available. Of course it is also the most expensive!
Want to avoid a hangover?
Tequila has gotten somewhat of a bad rap. Many people think tequila is more likely to cause hangovers, but distilled ethyl alcohol is chemically the same, regardless of its source. It is the additives or "conjers" blended with it to add coloring or flavoring that are generally suspected to cause those morning-after headaches. The Gold "mixto" variety of tequila is infamous for causing headaches and many suggest spending a little more for 100% agave is worth it. TIP: our TS EatWell drink mixes do not have artificial ingredients (conjers)!
Tequila not your thing?
Maybe you are still not excited about using tequila in your cocktails. Rum can also be used to make a margarita. Orange Mango Daiquiris are a yummy example. Rum gives the cocktail more of a daiquiri feel and is a perfect alternative for those with an aversion to tequila. Just like tequila, rum can vary from light (clear) to dark and spicy. Dark rums are aged in charred oak barrels and often have vanilla or other flavorings added. White rums are most often used in cocktails like margaritas, but you can also choose a dark rum that complements the flavor of the mixer.
Mojitos are also a popular choice if rum is your thing. Check out this recipe for a delicious Blackberry Mojito!
Add a WOW with garnishes
You can distinguish cocktails made with tequila from those made with rum or even non-alcoholic versions with the addition of clever garnishes. Tastefully Simple’s cocktail pops can double as both a garnish and stirrer by snipping one end of a frozen pop and inserting (open-end down) into a frozen drink.
Small chunks of fruit frozen on skewers can also be used as stirrers. To make, slide small chunks of fresh fruit such as blueberries and fresh peach and pineapple chunks onto bamboo skewers and freeze overnight.
If you are looking for some unique, fun drink markers, we've got you covered.
Whether you are a tequila or rum fan, or you would prefer non-alcoholic “mock-tails,” you will find a recipe you love in our recipes area. Cheers!