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Crushing The Heat - Refreshing Cocktails

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

It wasn’t so long ago in March or so, that I was looking forward to when I could complain about the heat. I’m ready. The nineties are just a tad too hot for me. After finishing some weeding in the heat recently, I actually sat in a lawn chair under the sprinkler for almost an hour. With an orange crush.

The orange crush was made famous by a restaurant in Ocean City, MD called the Harborside Bar & Grill, although it’s all over the East Cost now with slight variations. Even Disney has their own version where they use rum instead of vodka and blend it like a Slushee. Don’t skip the step of juicing your own orange - it really makes a difference.

Orange Crush


1 navel orange freshly juiced

2 ounces vodka

1 ounce Grand Marnier (or another orange liqueur

3 to 4 ounces lemon-lime soda like sprite or 7UP

a sprig of fresh mint


Fill a glass with crushed ice. Pour the vodka, Grand Marnier and fresh orange juice in the glass. Give it a gentle stir. Top it off with the soda and a few mint leaves.

Lavender Sangria


1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp. fresh lavender leaves OR dried lavender buds


1 750mL bottle Pinot Grigio

1/2 cup brandy

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

2 cups club soda

*1/3 to 1/2 cup lavender syrup recipe

1 pint of strawberries sliced

10 ounces cubed pineapple


*For the simple syrup:

Heat water in a small saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Add honey and lavender leaves (or buds), and stir until honey is completely dissolved.

Remove from heat, and let steep for one hour. Stir every fifteen minutes or so to recombine the lavender into the liquid.

Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve, and into an airtight container. Press down on the lavender in the fine mesh sieve to squeeze more flavor into the syrup. Discard lavender.

Add the strawberries and pineapple to the bottom of a pitcher. Pour your wine, brandy, Grand Marnier, lavender syrup (start with 1/3 cup, taste and add more if you want) and club soda over top and stir. This tastes great when it sits in the fridge and “marinates” for a bit. But you can also serve it right away.

The last is a super simple drink that I have served in summer for years. The problem is it can be difficult to find bitter lemon soda, which is critical for this drink. So far, I have only found it at Wegman’s (sometimes) and Total Wine (usually). You can buy it through Amazon, however, you’ll pay a ridiculous price for it.


For one cocktail

2 ounces gin

4 ounces bitter lemon soda

Juice of one lime

Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add the gin and bitter lemon. Top with the juice of one whole lime and stir gently.

Start the sprinkler. Fall is coming.

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