Memorial Day weekend is upon us and summer is around the corner. We can’t think of a better opportunity to serve up some refreshing drinks, perfect for the beach, pool, barbecue or picnic. Sure you could easily grab a delicious pilsner or IPA, a crisp fruity Chardonnay or a simple gin and tonic. But we are going to try to push a few boundaries and spice the ideas and options up a bit.

Let’s start with the ever-popular shandy (also known as a radler), a mix of beer and lemonade (or sometimes soda). You could opt for Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy but how about taking the adventurous route and preparing your own. Draft Magazine offered four recipes in this article. We suggest the half craft beer, half homemade lemonade mix to start, but the others sound great too.

Next up… Sangria. Very simple to make, very versatile, very refreshing. Total Wine has pre-made sangrias available, but if you are making your own, choose a decent bottle of red wine, perhaps a MerlotShiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. You should absolutely consider the alcohol content of the wine as this drink goes down easily and is potentially potent. Next you get to choose fruits to add: oranges and lemons are usually added, but you should also consider grapes and melons and apples and pineapples and mangoes, etc. Add those fruits to your wine. Add a sweetener which can simply be sugar or honey or even orange juice. Oh, and a shot or two of brandy.  Mix well and refrigerate overnight if possible. Serve by mixing with club soda or ginger ale if desired.

Mojitos are the perfect summery drink. But let’s try for something with some pizzazz. Wow, check out those amazing photos with endless possibilities. We decided we’d like to check out the Key Lime Pie Mojito, which sounds oh so awesome! Mojitos take some work as you need to muddle limes and mint to start, but the refreshing results are definitely worth the effort!

Beer cocktails have been growing in popularity over the past few years. Mixing beer with traditional cocktails can lighten up a heavy drink and add some tartness and refreshment. One such summery drink is the Beer Old Fashioned, using a Berliner Weisse beer to take some of the sweetness out of the original cocktail. This beer style is not extremely common, but there should be some examples locally that you can use no matter where you live. Ask your Total Wine associate for guidance. You will not be sorry you made the trip.

Those options should completely quench your thirst. However, we couldn’t resist showing you a few more fun ideas for your holiday weekend. Popsicles in Prosecco sounded like winning the jackpot. If you close your eyes, you can imagine the flavors right now! On the way home, be sure to stop off and buy a watermelon and other fruits because you’re going to try your hand at making a unique carving and filling it with with a spiked fruit salad. While it’s not exactly a drink, you still have a juicy and refreshing snack kicked up a notch with the addition of vodka.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend responsibly and be sure to let us know what drinks you enjoyed with family and friends.