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Tired of "the usual?" Try one these new summer libations. 

Cocktails Anyone?

Looking at a cocktail "menu" can be as much fun as perusing the dinner menu — and it just may inspire you to try something new. Here are my variations on some new cocktails seen (and tasted) in the past few months. Adjust the ingredient amounts to suit your personal taste. Enjoy!

Vodka-Based Drinks

The Big Apple
Shake vodka, honey and apple cider with ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a martini glass that has been rimmed with sugar. Garnish with an apple slice.

Nutty Russian
Shake vanilla-flavored vodka with Frangelico and ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a snippet of fresh vanilla bean.

Tropical Martini
Shake equal parts vodka and pineapple juice with a splash of crŠme de cassis with ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple.

Lemonade Martini
Shake lemon-flavored vodka with fresh lemon juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a martini glass that has been rimmed with sugar. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Champagne-based drinks

Pear Sparkler
Pour pear purée (purée fresh ripe, poached or canned, peeled pears in a blender or food processor) and a splash of Poire Williams into the bottom of a champagne flute. Fill with Champagne; garnish with a pear slice.

Strawberry Fields Forever
Pour strawberry purée (purée fresh or thawed frozen strawberries in a blender or food processor) and a splash of eau-de-vie-de-fraise (French strawberry liqueur) into the bottom of a champagne flute. Fill with Champagne; garnish with a strawberry slice.

Peachy Keen
Pour peach purée (purée fresh ripe or poached or canned peaches in a blender or food processor) and a splash of peach schnapps into the bottom of a champagne flute. Fill with Champagne; garnish with a peach
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