Food: Summer sipping

Margaret Maples

These libations put ice water in the shade

The coolest thing about summer? Sitting by the pool or on the patio with icy, colorful drinks.

To make these recipes go smoothly, have all the non-frozen ingredients well-chilled, and prepare the special ice cubes and sherbet balls the night before. Mint leaves float, so after placing a leaf in each section of your ice cube tray, pour water to the halfway mark. After that water freezes, top it up, so the leaves appear to be in the center of the ice cubes.

Gazpacho Gulp

Yes, gazpacho is cold, zesty soup. This is the drink version, served with sprigs of cilantro and slices of lemon (or lime, if you prefer).

4 cups vegetable cocktail drink, such as V-8

3 tablespoons diced green bell pepper

3 tablespoons diced red onion

½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (to taste)

½ teaspoon Tabasco (to taste)

Ice cubes (if desired)

Garnish: Cilantro, lemon slices

Place ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Chill for 4 hours. Serve in Manhattan-style glasses, over ice if desired. Garnish with bouquets of cilantro and lemon. Makes about 6 servings

Limey Mint

This pale green gobletful is like a gentle breeze. Mint leaves frozen in ice cubes offer extra cool, and the drink is garnished with interlocking wheels of lime.

1-inch lime sherbet balls (enough to fill a tall slender glass)

Mint ice cubes (mint leaves frozen in water in an ice tray)

Lemon-lime soft drink, such as Sprite or ginger ale

Garnish: Lime slices

At least 4 hours before serving, use a small scoop to make lime sherbet balls. Refreeze. Freeze mint leaves in ice cubes. To serve, place several lime sherbet balls and mint ice cubes in a tall glass. Fill glass with Sprite or ginger ale. Garnish with lime slices. Makes about 1 serving

Pink Monkey

This birthday-pink concoction is finished with a slice of banana, a glossy strawberry and ice cubes made of red fruit drink, such as Hawaiian Punch.

½ cup cream of coconut

16 ounces lemon-lime soft drink, such as Sprite

Grenadine syrup (to taste)

Ice cubes made of red fruit drink, such as Hawaiian Punch

Garnish: Strawberries, banana slices

In a blender or the cup of a milkshake maker, combine cream of coconut, grenadine and soft drink. Whip. Pour a little grenadine syrup into parfait or Margarita glasses. Add Monkey mix, including froth. Add red fruit drink cubes. Garnish with strawberries and banana slices. Makes about 2 servings

Sangria

Makes about 2 servings

- Sangria: We couldn’t decide between red and white sangria, so we’ve mixed merlot and sauvignon blanc. Then come lots of orange wedges, lime slices and cherries. Orange-cherry ice cubes keep up the chill.

1 cup merlot

1 cup sauvignon blanc

1 cup seltzer water

½ cup Triple Sec

½ cup honey

1 cup Maraschino cherry halves

2 oranges, sliced into wedges

1 lime, halved lengthwise, then sliced

Orange-cherry ice cubes (orange juice frozen in an ice tray with Maraschino cherries)

Garnish: Maraschino cherries, orange slices, mint leaves

Combine merlot, sauvignon blanc, seltzer water, Triple Sec, honey, cherries, orange wedges and lime slices in a large pitcher or bowl. Chill. Pour into large wine glasses. Add orange-cherry ice cubes. Garnish with boutonnieres made of cherries, orange slices and mint leaves.