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My friends would tell you that I love to plan things. Probably because I love to plan things. Trips, dinners, friends’ weddings, complete strangers’ weddings, happy hours, kitchens, game plans, Saturdays. You name it. I probably want to plan it.

So a few weekends ago I planned an impromptu barbeque on a lovely weekend. I know, impromptu means you don’t plan it. See previous paragraph. For this particular gathering I already had food covered (fish, steak and vegetables grilled plus my vegetarian baked beans and homemade cupcakes) and while we always have wine and beer on hand, I needed something else for beverages. I could have gone the cocktail route but it was a Sunday and somehow cocktails on Sunday after noon seem risky. I had some fresh lemons on hand so I made lemons into lemonade (sorry, I had to write that)!
I made sun tea in the large jug (it’s caffeinated so I also had a pitcher of herbal sun tea as well), fresh squeezed lemonade and then provided sparkling and still water. Folks could make their own mocktail with any of the beverages plus mix-ins. Just want strawberry lemonade? No problem. You’re just a fan of sparkling water with some mint? Have at it. I put out ice and wine glasses just in case people didn’t want to commit to a large glass of their creation, they could keep trying new things.

If you and your crowd might also like to imbibe, I highly recommend making vodka sun tea: pour vodka into a large jar (or other holding tank), add about five black tea bags, let steep over night then remove tea bags. Bam. Vodka sun tea. If you add simple syrup you have sweet tea vodka. You could also put out limoncello (which I am in the process of making myself) but I wouldn’t recommend mixing just the tea vodka and limoncello unless you want a really brutal next day.

My family has a reunion coming up — we have them every three years — and I generally commandeer where I can because that’s my nature. The past two reunions I somehow became bartender thanks to my now famous sangria but this year I suppose I got so excited talking about the cocktails I had planned and happy hours that people thought I was ignoring sad hours and mocktails. Not so, family. Not so. I have just as many fun things (if not more!) planned on the non-alcoholic beverage front. An old stand by, strawberry basil agua fresca, could make an appearance. Perhaps some totally new and unexpected things as well. We shall see.

As long as we’re on the subject of drinks, lay it on me: What is your favorite cocktail or mocktail? Does your sherbert punch blow everyone’s mind at your holiday party every year or does Grandma Betty’s rum punch steal the show?