When I was little, I loved ordering Shirley Temples. I mean, come on, they were pink, sweet, delicious and I felt super fancy sipping them out of a tall cocktail glass. Now that I’m a relative grown-up, I still like to order a Shirley Temple now and again. Collin Murray thinks I’m crazy but that’s ok, Shirley Temple’s are worth it.

Shirley Temple (adapted from Canadian Living Magazine)

Makes one virgin cocktail

2 tablespoons homemade grenadine

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1-2 cups ginger ale soda

Ice

Orange slices and maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)

In a cocktail glass, add ice, grenadine and orange juice. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with orange juice and maraschino cherries, if desired. Enjoy.

*If you like, you can add an ounce of vanilla vodka for a Drunken Shirley Temple…quite delicious.

At the beginning of the year, I made a little promise to myself to try and make more of the things in my fridge and pantry from scratch. Lots of times, we get into the habit of buying condiments, spreads, jams, and other staples from the store because it’s easy but many times, it is less expensive and healthier to make your own.

Grenadine is a thick red syrup that is used to flavor cocktails. When you purchase it from the store, grenadine is basically high fructose corn syrup with red food coloring. Yum? Uh no. My version is equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar — still high in sugar, but far and away more natural then the store bought version. One batch takes about 10 minutes and will keep in the fridge for six months: an easy start to keeping my ‘make from scratch’ promise.

Homemade Grenadine (adapted from Canadian Living Magazine)

Makes about 1 cup

1 cup pomegranate juice

1 cup granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, combine both ingredients. Allow mixture to boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to six months. Enjoy.

My Nannie Mary recently sent me a vintage cookbook (which made me really happy — THANKS NAN!) and inside this lovely book, I found an intriguing recipe for Rhubarb Punch. And as you may remember, Collin Murray is a rhubarb freak. I, on the other hand, am not. Not at all. Sigh: the things you do for love.

Since rhubarb can be bitter, this punch is greatly improved by the addition of a little Simple Syrup. I would suggest that you taste the punch first before adding the syrup as how much you add is really a matter of personal preference. Similarly, you could also add club soda to this punch if you like a little bubble.

This punch is a lovely drink to sip on a warm afternoon on the deck. Add a little sandwich, a cookie or two, a sprinkling of sunshine and some company (or not), and you have yourself the perfect combination for a lovely and relaxing day.

Rhubarb Punch (adapted from Farm Women’s Union of Alberta Cookbook)

Makes 4-6 cups

2 cups unpeeled rhubarb, sliced into ½ inch pieces

4 cups water

Simple Syrup, to taste

Ice, for serving

In a small saucepan, combine the chopped rhubarb and water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 6 minutes. Cool slightly. Using a mine mesh strainer set over a large bowl, strain the rhubarb pieces from the liquid. Cool the rhubarb juice in the fridge, add Simple Syrup to taste, and serve over ice. Enjoy.

This is perhaps the perfect summer drink. Sweet tea with citrus and a hint of mint. Delisciousness in a cup.

Some people don’t like a super sweet iced tea but I do and while this tea doesn’t taste candy-coated, you could certainly reduce the sugar by a quarter cup if you aren’t a fan of sweet, sweet tea. Similarly, though I’ve been making this tea with Orange Pekoe, I think it would be rather tasty with Earl Grey, English Breakfast or really any black tea with a hint of citrus — be courageous my lovely readers, experiment!

I started making this tea a few months ago but drinking it inside while watching it snow just didn’t feel right. I made it for Collin Murray last week and we drank it on the deck while enjoying a nice, sunshiney day and it was the tea was the perfect thirst quencher. I love this recipe.

Citrus Mint Iced Tea (barely adapted from The Southern Junior League Cookbook - 

Makes 10 servings

6 cups water

3 orange pekoe tea bags

¼ cup mint leaves

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

Juice of 3 lemons

Juice of 3 oranges

In a large saucepan, combine water, tea bags, mint leaves and sugar. Bring to a boil for one minute, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture into a large pitcher. Add lemon and orange juices and allow the tea to cool before drinking.

Serve over ice. Enjoy.

I’m not a lush. Not really. I just like my bubbly. A lot.

And I like tasty things added to bubbly, like grapefruit juice.

Mimosas, the ever classic combination of orange juice and champagne, are a very popular beverage to serve for brunch. In this take on the time-honored drink, I’ve switched out the orange juice for freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with a hint of simple syrup to take the edge off the grapefruit.

To me, this is the perfect Mother’s Day Brunch punch. It’s easy, elegant and most importantly, it’s super tasty.

Champagne and Grapefruit Punch (inspired by The American Woman’s Cookbook)

Serves 4 (there will be sweetened juice left over)

3 ruby red grapefruit, juiced (about 3 cups)

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

1 bottle Champagne, chilled

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Let stand at room temperature to cool.

In a large jug, combine grapefruit juice and simple syrup mixture. Stir to combine.

In a Champagne glass, measure one to two tablespoons sweetened juice. Top with chilled Champagne. Enjoy.