Refreshing Spring Cocktails

Strawberry Gin Smash
Via The Kitchn

It's time to celebrate the arrival of spring and the departure of winter!  Spring is natures way of saying, "Let the party begin!"   This calls for a toast.  Here are some refreshing cocktails to welcome warmer weather and good times.  Cheers!

Pitcher of Strawberry Gin Smash
Serves 8

2 tablespoons sugar
2 limes, juiced, about 4 tablespoons
1 pound fresh strawberries
2 cups gin 
3 cups club soda
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Muddle the sugar and limes in a pitcher that holds at least 8 cups (64 ounces). Set aside 6 to 8 small strawberries and make a small slice in their tips. Hull and slice the remaining strawberries and muddle the slices lightly with the sugar and lime juice.

Stir in the gin and club soda and pack the pitcher full of ice. Add mint sprigs to garnish. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with a strawberry, slotted onto the edge of the glass.

Make-Ahead Note: You can make this ahead; mix everything except the club soda and ice, then refrigerate overnight. A night in the fridge will also help the strawberries add more flavor and color to the drink.

Kiwi Capiroska
Via Spoon Fork Bacon

Kiwi Capiroska
Makes 6  

2 cups kiwi, peeled and diced
12 mint leaves, divided
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 limes, juiced
2 cups high quality vodka
2 cups tonic water (or coconut flavored sparkling water)
ice cubes

1 kiwi, peeled and thinly sliced

Line six glasses up and fill each with 1/3 cup of diced kiwis, 2 mint leaves, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 lime juiced.
Muddle together the contents of each glass until fully combined.
Fill each glass with ice and top off with 1/3 cup vodka and 1/3 cup tonic water.
Stir, finish each with a kiwi garnish and serve.

Spiked Raspberry Sweet Tea
Via The Cookie Rookie

Spiked Raspberry Sweet Tea

Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  5 mins
Total time:  25 mins
Serves: 6-8

8 cups water
2 family-sized tea bags (or 6 regular-sized)(I prefer Luzianne)
1/2 - 1 cup granulated sugar (I prefer the tea not too sweet)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups Chambord Liquor (optional)
1/2 cup good quality vodka (optional)
mint springs, raspberrys, oranges, etc for garnish

Bring water to a boil then remove from the heat.
Add the tea bags, cover and let steep (soak) for 15 minutes.
Remove the tea bags then add the sugar and baking soda, stir until sugar dissolves.
Add in Chambord and Vodka if desired.
Let the tea cool.
Pour into ice-filled glasses.
Garnish with a mint sprig, raspberries, oranges, whatever you love.

Note: You can make the sweet tea separate from the liquor and make the spiked part 'by the glass'. Use 1 cup sweet tea and 3-4 tablespoons Chambord. 

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