Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
For the longest time, I felt I couldn’t talk about summer without looking like a schmuck. I mean, clearly Mother Nature didn’t get the memo this year; it’s been chilly, dreary and downright depressing for most of May and June. However, summer is “officially” here and and it looks like even the weather joined the party; with temperatures in the high 30’s for Toronto this week, it’s gonna be sizzlin’ hot!
Of course, this year I’ll actually have a patio to lounge on, which excites me to no end. I am such a “drinks on the patio” kind of gal, and thankfully, I’m already armed with delicious, refreshing summer cocktail recipes from Minute Maid. If you didn’t catch my “Minute Maid: Six Ways to Celebrate Summer!” post, please do – you’ll find a wealth of amazing summer drinks to try, including a Tropical Citrus Granita, Peachy Sparkler, Summertime Sangria and more! (Mmm… sangria.)
Now it’s one thing to say “Let’s Celebrate Summer!” – and quite another to actually follow through with it. So, proving that we’re all about hot summer nights and cold fruity concoctions, I teamed up with Minute Maid and mixologist Nadine Hughes to host a #CelebrateSummer event in Toronto. I invited a handful of my favourite bloggers and social media influencers from the GTA for a very special Girls Night Out; we munched, we mingled, and we had a chance to sample some of Minute Maid’s favourite summer treats! And, we were introduced to Minute Maid Smoothies – an easy, affordable way to enjoy smoothies at home. Made with real fruit and no added sugar, they’re so easy to make: just pour into your blender, add ice, water and blend for the perfect smoothie every time. BONUS: each 250mL prepared cup contains two servings of fruit. Yum yum yum!
Minute Maid selected the perfect venue; the penthouse of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Toronto. With an urban vibe and a fresh burst of colour, it set the mood for our summery event.
Of course, being greeted by Summertime Sangria went a long way to put us in a warm weather frame of mind – and if you’ve got a few Minute Maid punches in the freezer, and some fruit in your refrigerator – chances are, you can make some right now! We served virgin and alcoholic versions (and we all know which one I enjoyed… by the glassful). Also on hand: delicious, light and healthy canapés, and sweet cookies to complement our cocktail party.
Awesome friends arrived (with eerie punctuality) at the start of the event, and I had a great time meeting, greeting and laughing with some of Toronto’s greatest influencers. Although I knew most of the attendees from the Toronto scene, it was fabulous to connect with a few online friends in person. Below: the sweetheart that is @FabFrugalMama; a group of gorgeous gals including @ChickyMara, @AliMartell, @ShopwithRobin and @SandyEl; the very awesome @Mom2Michael and @MapsGirl.
Of course, the fun began when Nadine started making the drinks – most of them from scratch – right before our very eyes! It was proof that anyone can be the hostess with the mostess; all you need are a few staples from Minute Maid (which you likely already have on hand) and a little imagination. In addition to demonstrating the recipes, Nadine also showed us creative ways to serve the beverages. The end result resembled something you would order at a fancy restaurant – but can be easily made at home in minutes!
Pictured above: Watermelon Grapefruit Fizz garnished with fresh basil. Although it’s an unexpected combination, the earthiness of the basil perfectly accentuated the crisp sweetness of the watermelon and grapefruit. It was definitely a crowd pleaser. Below: Nadine makes a Peachy Sparkler that was to.die.for. You’ll want to try this one at your next bridal/baby shower, summer party or picnic for sure!
Now it’s unfortunate that I was called away just as the smoothies were being circulated, because they truly were the star of the show. Available in Strawberry Banana and Tropical flavours, they received two thumbs WAY up from the attendees. After all, they’re incredibly easy to make, beyond delicious, and are an über convenient way to sneak in two servings of fruit, especially if you’re always on the go. And if you don’t believe me, here’s proof they made an impression, via @HartGalla and sent just last week:
Of course, I truly believe that Nadine saved one of the best recipes for last: Minute Maid’s Pucker Up Granita. Think Mojitos are hard to make? Think again. If there’s one cocktail recipe you try this summer, put Pucker Up Granitas at the top of your list! Tart, tangy and incredibly refreshing, you’ll need to make enough for seconds. And maybe thirds.
It truly was a Girls Night Out to savour. Friends, food, and great summer drinks from Minute Maid – what more could you ask for? We all left with a greater understanding of just how simple it is to create showstopping cocktails at home… in minutes… and with simple ingredients that save you time and money. Viva the fruity summer cocktail!
Of course, since Girls Night Out is all about being surrounded by your girls, special love to @TeacherMomofTwo, one of my most fave bloggers ever. She was originally unable to attend, but moved heaven and earth to come support me and share a cocktail. That’s what friendship is all about!
You can find all the Minute Maid #CelebrateSummer recipes here. In the meantime, you just know I’d love to share the deliciousness! One lucky reader will win a Minute Maid Smooth and Delicious prize pack valued at $150! It includes one Oster blender, two reusable smoothie cups and coupons for a wide variety of Minute Maid frozen products, including Minute Maid’s brand new frozen Smoothies! Available in Strawberry Banana and Tropical flavours, Minute Maid Smoothies are made with 100% juice, real fruit puree and no added sugar.
To enter, simply fill the form below with your qualifying entries. Good luck, and happy summer everyone!