Seven Cool Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Your Hot Summer Reception
by: Michael Kabel

At the risk of making a terrible pun, summer weddings and receptions are one of the hottest wedding trends right now. The months of July and August, previously considered off-limits for weddings, are coming into their own as the months of choice for modern brides.

If you're planning an outdoor reception, the drinks you serve will play a big part in keeping everyone cool and refreshed while the celebration continues. For many weddings, especially for those brides and grooms leading a purpose-driven life, non-alcoholic drinks remain the beverage of choice for their festivities. But choosing drinks and refreshments that keep the party lively is nonetheless an important part of the party. Fortunately, there are some "virgin" (alcohol-free) alternatives to the most popular cocktails around.

The Madras

The madras is a popular drink throughout the Southern United States, where its fruity combination of orange and cranberry juices makes a light, refreshing compliment to its vodka. For the non-alcoholic alternative, just leave out the vodka and mix equal parts juices.

Serve the drink over ice in a champagne flute, possibly with a spitted cherry garnish.

The Tom Collins

The Tom Collins is an old gin drink that was popular throughout the early 20th Century. It's served in a tall glass with lemon juice (or lemon sour mix), some simple sugar, and a little carbonated soda water to give it "fizz." The proper garnish is a maraschino cherry or a spitted orange slice.

The Cosmo

The Cosmopolitan has enjoyed a whole second round of popularity since making constant appearances on HBO's Sex and the City. The non-alcoholic version includes cranberry juice, a dash of orange syrup, and a dash of limejuice.

Serve over ice in a rocks glass with a lime garnish.

Tequila Sunrise

Not just a song from the Eagles, this delicious tropical drink is made with orange juice mixed with grenadine, or cherry syrup. Serve in a tall glass, over ice, with either a spitted cherry or orange slice garnish.

Neon lemonade

This drink will find a big reception from the children because of its vivid blue color. Minus its the vodka, its simply lemonade or lemon sour mix combined with blue drink coloring such as blue-tinted fruit punch. Its also served over ice in a tall glass with a spitted cherry or orange slice.

Long Island Iced Tea

The notorious Long Island Iced Tea without the booze is still a tart, refreshing mix of lemon sour mix or lemonade and traditional brown cola. You serve it in tumblers with a lemon garnish.

By the way, lemon juice is high enough in calories that substituting diet cola won't make that much of a difference.

Long Beach Iced Tea

The Long Island's fun-loving tropical cousin is a buffet table of fruit punches mixed together for a sharply refreshing treat. Mix equal parts orange, cranberry and pineapple juices together and throw in a dash of grenadine on top. Serve in a slim high glass and garnish with a lemon wedge and cherry.

Many of these drinks can be made in bulk using punch bowls or iced tea containers. The amounts to use for each should be up-scaled for quantity. Cheers!