Kristen Mendiola/The Daily Meal; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

Recipe of the Day: An Easy Labor Day Cocktail

Why whine when you can wine?
Kristen Mendiola/The Daily Meal; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

If there's one day in the entire year that you should take it easy, it's Labor Day. Since its inception, the national holiday has been honoring hard-working Americans by giving them a day off work. The day is typically a time for backyard barbecues chock-full of juicy burgers, hot dogs, no-cook sides and yummy desserts. But there's one thing no Labor Day celebration would be complete without and that's a cocktail. 

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Even if you're having a potluck, Labor Day can get a little, well, labor intensive. If you're the one in the kitchen, you're liking working away creating a perfect potato salad, making sure the noodles for your pasta salad aren't overcooked, and baking at least one themed pie. One place you can take it easy though, is on your cocktail. Make one big batch cocktail and provide cups and ice for guests so they can serve themselves. 

Sure sangria is always a crowd pleaser, and who doesn't love a margarita? But if you want your beverage to really shine, this red wine and berry spritzer is a must-have. Although at first glace it may seem similar to sangria (it uses red wine and assorted fruits) this cocktail is anything but. The chilled beverage needs carbonation. Whether it's added by using selzter water, berry kombucha or sparkling lemon soda is up to you. 

Another key element of this recipe is tea. You should use red zinger, raspberry zinger or rooibos tea bags. Not only will the tea give your cocktail a pleasant aroma and slight fruity sweetness, it'll also provide your guests with a ton of antioxidants to get them through the holiday celebration. The tea is mixed with boiling water and sugar. Once cooled, the rest of the ingredients are added. Keep in mind, the batch cocktail needs at least four hours to chill, so plan accordingly. 

When setting up the cocktail area, leave a batch of the red-wine mixture, a bowl of ice, fruit for serving and your carbonated beverage of choice. The selzter water, kombucha or lemon soda should only be used to top off each glass. Serving a batch cocktail will make your day 10 times easier by removing the need to refill your guest's glasses throughout the day. For more Labor Day party recipes that will make the holiday feel laborless, click here

Red Wine and Berry Spritzers

Ingredients

  • 4 red zinger, raspberry zinger or rooibos tea bags
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (750-mL) bottle dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 2 cups assorted fruit: halved pitted dark cherries, sliced strawberries, raspberries or blackberries
  • 1 small orange, halved, seeded, very thinly sliced
  • Ice cubes
  • Seltzer water, club soda, berry kombucha or sparkling lemon soda

Directions

Step 1: Put 4 tea bags into a heat-proof container. Add 2 cups boiling water and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir well and let stand until cool. Remove tea bags.

Step 2: Pour the tea into a large pitcher. Add 1 bottle red wine and 1/2 cup orange liqueur. Stir in 2 cups of assorted fruit and 1 sliced orange. Refrigerate covered until very cold, at least 2 hours.

Step 3: Fill wine glasses with ice. Add red wine mixture to fill the glass 2/3 full. Use a spoon to add pieces of fruit to each glass. Top with seltzer water to fill the glass. Serve right away.

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