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Beach Drinks 

DIY cocktails and summertime sips

Summer's almost here and the time is right for kicking back on a lounge chair, dousing yourself in coconut suntan lotion and relaxing by the nearest body of water. But wait . . . there's something missing! A tasty, chilled cocktail in a long-stemmed glass, perhaps?

Enter DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks by Marcia Simmons and Jonas Halpren. Both the book and the blog of the same name are loaded with lively, creative recipes for making your own drinks. Recent recipes on the blog ( include delights like a strawberry-basil mojito, blueberry Champagne popsicles, blueberry sparkler and Planter's Punch with homemade grenadine.

We asked Simmons, a Petaluma-based writer and editor, for the hot summer drink of 2012, and she sent along this tasty watermelon-cucumber refresher. "I chose this drink because it's refreshing and seasonal but also works with a different spirits (though vodka and tequila are the best), and the juice is a good nonalcoholic/kid's drink," she says.

Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher

1 1/2 ounces vodka or tequila blanco

1/2 ounce triple sec

1/2 ounce watermelon-cucumber-mint juice (recipe below)

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of watermelon or cucumber, or a sprig of mint.

Watermelon-Cucumber-Mint Juice

2 cups diced, seeded watermelon

1 cup peeled, seeded cucumber

10–12 mint leaves

Liquefy all ingredients together in a blender, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer and discard pulp. Yields one cup.—Leilani Clark

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