Labor Day Booze: The Best Drink Recipes to Make for Your Party

Summer might not be officially over until mid-September, but for most of us trading in beach umbrellas for kid’s backpacks, it’s already time to bid the carefree season adieu. If you’re like many Americans, any last summer celebrations will be packed into Labor Day weekend — whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a picnic hike, or one last beach bash.

Whatever your plans for the holiday weekend, make sure you’ve got the drinks to match — especially if you’re the one hosting a get together for friends and family. If you want to serve cocktails but can’t get excited about another margarita, it’s time to switch it up a bit. Changing your drink repertoire can be difficult, but on-demand alcohol delivery service Drizly has you covered. Not only can you order your drinks online and have them delivered to your door from local vendors, but the site’s editor-in-chief and chief cocktail officer, Trisha Antonsen, has even crafted new drink recipes that are sure to be a hit with your guests.

When it comes to drinks for Labor Day parties, it’s all about setting a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere so the focus can be on the mingling and soaking up the last bits of summer, Antonsen said in an interview with The Cheat Sheet. “For me, no matter what it’s about setting the unfussy tone,” she said. With that in mind, she and her team crafted three drinks that will let you sip on waning summertime flavors without needing to stand behind the bar all night. These crowd-pleasing cocktails are simple to make, and even easier to enjoy. For the party math on how to stock your bar for any sized crowd, you’ll also want to check out Drizly’s tips.

1. Endless summer

Endless Summer cocktail from Drizly

Endless Summer cocktail | Drizly

If you’re not ready to give up those tan lines just yet, or the fruit flavors you’ve been sweet on all summer, give this simple cocktail a try. The fresh citrus juices naturally pair with the tequila, but the crème de cassis (a black currant liqueur) will add hint of berry flavor. There’s no need for multiple steps here; just pour the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and you’re set to go. For the Instagram appeal, garnish with lime, blackberries, or both.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ ounces tequila
  • 1½ ounces fresh orange juice
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce Cointreau
  • ½ ounce crème de cassis

Directions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine all ingredients and shake until frosty and cold; then pour entire shaker contents into a rocks glass. Garnish with fruit as desired.

2. Spicy Paloma

Spicy Paloma cocktail

Spicy Paloma | Drizly

Before we get to the drink, here’s a quick infusion primer. For this recipe, which calls for jalapeño-infused tequila, Antonsen recommends slicing 2 to 3 peppers for an entire bottle of tequila. The spice level is determined by the seeds, so Antonsen said she typically will leave about a third of the slices with the seeds, but remove the seeds from the remaining slices. She puts the slices in the bottom of an airtight jar, then pours the entire bottle of tequila over top. Flip the jar gently upside-down, then set it upright once again on your counter for a few hours. The longer it sits, the more spicy it will get, so Antonsen suggests mini taste tests along the way. (And no, you don’t need to refrigerate the infusions for vegetables or fruits, she said.)

If you want a citrus infusion, all you need is the fruit peels (cut into ½-by-1-inch strips). Pour in the liquor, and then allow the fruit peels to infuse the alcohol for a few days. You’ll want to strain the liquor if you’re using fruit peels, but Antonsen said she keeps the pepper slices in this tequila infusion for extra color and flair. After you’ve become the next infusion master, this paloma is pretty straightforward with lime juice, grapefruit juice, and a salt rim. If you don’t think your guests have the same taste buds for spice that you do, offer mezcal as an alternative, Drizly suggests.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces jalapeño-infused tequila
  • 3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • Salt
  • Jalapeño
  • Lime

Directions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine tequila, grapefruit juice, and lime juice. Shake until cold, then strain into a salt-rimmed collins glass and garnish with a lime wheel and jalapeño slices.

3. Elder-Peary Sangria

Elder-Peary Sangria

Elder-Peary Sangria | Drizly

This cocktail will help you bridge the gap between seasons, while also serving up an easy batch ahead of time. “The longer it sits, the more married the flavors become,” Antonsen said, adding you can make this drink the day before your event. A dry white wine of your choice is the base, but you’ll add St. Germain (hence the “elder” reference from the elderflower) and pear nectar juice for a very drinkable blend. If you’d like, you can top off the drinks with soda water just before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of dry white wine
  • 10 ounces of St. Germain liqueur
  • 8 ounces pear nectar juice
  • Pear
  • Blackberries

Directions: In a pitcher, combine white wine, St Germain, pear nectar juice, pear slices and blackberries, then refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours. Serve in glasses with ice, topping off with soda water if desired.

Follow Nikelle on Twitter and Facebook

More from Culture Cheat Sheet: