Holiday Recipe Rewind: Chef Carla Hall Shares Tasty Cocktails for a Holiday Weekend!

From  Chef Carla Hall ( you know her from THE CHEW)   created these cocktails for a  GMA  Holiday Celebration segment: (Labor Day) a few years ago! I thought these would be terrific for July 4th!


White Sangria with Peaches (or Nectarines)


–2 to 3 white peaches, sliced (2 if they are large, 3 if they are small)
(Yellow peaches or even nectarines could be used as a substitute!)
–¾ cup peach brandy (any fruit-flavored brandy will work providing it works the type of fruit!
–1 bottle Moscato, chilled.
(*Check with your local spirits/wine purvey about what’s available. It doesn’t have to be expensive to work. Even Prosecco would work!)
–1 liter peach seltzer water, such as Seagram’s Sparkling White Peach Seltzer, chilled
(You can get other flavors of seltzer water that blend with the sangria. Peach isn’t always easy to find.
Melon or Orange would be equally good too.)

–In a pitcher,  add in 3/4 of the sliced peaches (reserve some for garnish) and the  brandy.
–Lightly muddle these two together.
–Add the Moscato (or it’s substitute) and seltzer water.
–Stir with wooden spoon to mix.
–If you have time to allow for chilling and flavors to blend, do so!
–Pour into ice-filled glasses and top with a couple of fresh peach slices.


Strawberry Basil Soda– with or without alcohol! 

This recipe is really great and would be awesome with any spirit of your choice!

Alcohol suggestions:
Prosecco, Berry Rum, Tequila, Basil Vodka (Square One nails it!)

Photo is from THE CHEW’s Facebook page



–1 pound Strawberries (trimmed)
–2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
–Juice and zest of 1 Lime (plus the zest of another lime for rimming glass)
–1/2 cup Basil Leaves (plus 5 more for rimming glass)
–1 cup Sugar (plus 3 tablespoons more for rimming  the glasses)

Making Strawberry-Basil syrup:

–Place the strawberries in a blender, and starting at low speed, puree until completely smooth.
–Pour through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids.
–Measure 1 liquid cup of the strawberry juice,
–Add water if necessary to yield 1 cup.
–Pour into a small saucepot,
–Add the lemon juice, lime juice, lime zest, basil, and sugar, and bring to a boil.
–Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, and then remove from heat and allow to cool.
–Pour through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids to yield Strawberry-Basil syrup.

Flavored sugar for rimming the glass:
–Microwave the 5 Basil leaves for 30 seconds.
–Combine with the 3 tablespoons Sugar and remaining Lime Zest in a food processor and pulse to create Basil scented Sugar.
–Pour onto a small plate or dish.
–Rim the edge of the glasses with a lemon or lime wedge, and dip in the scented sugar.

Making the beverage: 

–Add 3 tablespoons of the Strawberry-Basil Syrup to the glass, a few ice cubes,
–Top with Seltzer and/or add a moderate amount of spirits.
–Gently stir to combine and enjoy.



This last pitcher cocktail recipe is a riff off a whiskey smash!
This Cherry Whiskey Smash sounds lovely and would be ideal for  summer cocktails and get-togethers.
The recipe is via It sounds so yummy!



Basic recipe for one cocktail

– 1 ounce Jack Daniels  ( you could use a Jack Daniels Honey or a regular Jack
– 1 ounce cherry juice
– 1/2 ounce amaretto
– 1/2 ounce ginger brandy
– 2 ounces cherry cola
– 5 maraschino cherries

The math on this is pretty easy for 12 cocktails!

12 oz— Jack Daniels (one could use the Jack Daniels Honey version too)
12 + oz — Cherry Juice. (Try Trader Joes for there tart cherry juice mixed with regular cherry juice!)
6 oz. — Amaretto
6 oz. — Ginger Brandy
24 oz — Cherry Cola (Get a decent one on this. Don’t go private label unless you know it’s got the chops to hold up the drink)
3 bottles- Maraschino Cherries. These can hold up well in the refrigerator if you have leftovers. Unlikely you will, but buy more than you think you need!

Why would I worry about cherries?



–Add cherries (5 cherries might sound like a lot, but it’s not!) to the bottom of a pitcher or a punch bowl and muddle until smashed.  (The muddling might require more than 5 cherries)
–Add ice to the pitcher or bowl.
– Mix Jack Daniels, cherry juice, Amaretto, and brandy into a separate pitcher,
–Stir briskly with a long spoon for at least 30 seconds for this to combine.
– Pour over ice, then top off with cherry cola and stir.
– Serve with additional cherries, if desired.

Sounds delish doesn’t it? Using some tart cherry juice will balance off the sweetness of the Maraschino cherries.


Thanks to Chef Carla Hall for these great recipes!These recipes were featured in a post I wrote a few years ago that was through


Stevie Wilson,

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