Recipes: Cocktails

Euphoria Punch

Susie's own recipe created for our our book discussion of Euphoria by Lily King. A good thirst quencher for traveling down a steamy river in New Guinea.


16 ounces honey
10 ounces water
30 ounces rum
30 ounces (3 cups ish) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon Angostura bitters
40 ounces (5 cups) ginger ale
1 large ice block or several smaller blocks
Lemon slices
Mint leaves


Heat the honey and water and make a thin syrup. Let it cool. Add rum, lemon juice, and bitters. Combine with ginger ale and ice in glasses. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves.

Old Skull Popper

In “Cruddy” by Lynda Barry, Roberta’s dad, Ray, constantly guzzles Old Skull Popper. What exactly is Old Skull Popper? Lynda Barry thinks she made the name up, influenced by an Old West novel. We loved the name and decided we should come up with our own version. Honestly, this recipe is more tame than anything a navy man like Ray would drink. But, we like to keep our senses and stomachs during our book discussions.


2/3 cup tequila
1 cup grapefruit juice
1/3 cup Rose's lime juice
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup blackberry puree (see recipe below)
Ice cubes
Cherry Pop Rocks — yep, you read that right!
Grapefruit slices, halved

Pop Rocks sprinkled in Old Skull PopperDirections
In a pitcher combine tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec, and blackberry puree. Pour mixture over ice. Garnish with grapefruit slices and sprinkle with Pop Rocks.

Blackberry Puree

16 oz frozen blackberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar

Puree berries and sugar in processor. Strain and discard seeds.  

Pairing Suggestion:

Break out the Old Skull Popper to celebrate a night you’ll never remember with friends you’ll never forget! Cruddy by Lynda Barry, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt are favorite boozy books.

Spring Fling Cocktail

Susie served this delicious cocktail while hosting our April book club. It’s been a cold and dreary spring so this was the perfect refreshment.

3 oz. Amaretto

2 oz. vodka

4 oz. OJ

2 oz. or more cranberry juice (Susie used about 6 oz.)

lemon juice squeezed in

Mix all the above and serve over ice.

Red Wine Sangria

What's a summer book club get-together without a refreshing glass of red sangria made by Julia. Mmmm...


2 bottles of red table wine
1 cup of brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1 cup orange juice
1 cup blueberry pomegranate juice
1 cup simple syrup (1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar heated until sugar dissolves - then cooled)
Sliced Strawberries

Mix all and refrigerate in a sealed pitcher for 24 hours before serving.

Mango Sangria

Jen O. brought this recipe to our Ravinia trip a couple of years ago. It may have never even made it to the concert because we missed the train and sat on the deck sipping cups of sangria while waiting for the next train. It was so refreshing in the warm, sunny evening.


1 bottle cheap white wine
1 bottle canned mango juice
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
Orange slices, green grapes, pineapple chunks or other fresh fruit.

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together in a pitcher; chill and serve.

Disco Lemonade

Special thanks to Julie's friend, Mary, for the recipe for this refreshing summer beverage. Perfect for serving during a book discussion outdoors in the garden.
1 can frozen lemonade
2/3 cup blue raspberry vodka
2 cups vodka

Prepare lemonade as directed in large pitcher. Stir in vodka and raspberry vodka. Serve over ice.

Serving suggestion: Collect all car keys in advance.

Cherry Queen

How to make your own deliciously, divine cosmo drink. Perfected by trial and error by dedicated nippers, Mike and Julie. Test kitchen approval during many "Killer Bunny" slaughters.

1 part cointreau or Triple Sec (orange liquor)
2 parts cherry vodka
2 parts cranberry cocktail juice
2 parts cherry juice

Pour in shaker filled with ice. Shake, pour, and enjoy!