The weather is getting warmer, which means the party scene is about to heat up. Welcome the season by building up your bartending repertoire with light, fruity cocktails.

Whether planning a luau, cocktail party or a little get-together with friends, a well-stocked bar is particularly important. For parties, make sure you have a cocktail mixer set, plenty of ice, about a pound for each guest, as most spring and summer drinks are served on the rocks or with crushed ice.

Having a few essentials on hand is key: A basic bar includes vodka, whiskey, wines and beer. If you’re feeling more adventurous or creative, you can also add gin, tequila, rum, bourbon, vermouth, sherry and brandy.

Mixers add a dash of flavor, or in some cases spice, to a summery cocktail. Orange juice, seltzer, tonic water, cola, ginger ale, tomato juice, Tabasco sauce, horseradish and Worcestershire will wake up your drink recipes.

Another great addition to your bar is Hair of the Dog, which has a light raspberry taste that can jazz up any drink. Using Hair of the Dog as a mixer will make a tasty drink that includes detoxifying ingredients to help the liver better process toxins. Thus it helps to counteract the negative effects of alcohol on the body. The sugar-free version also has no carbs.

Finish off your drinks with sliced lemons, limes, oranges or maraschino cherries. A curl of lemon peel can make an attractive finishing touch.

Try these recipes using sugar-free Hair of the Dog for a diet-friendly twist on familiar drinks:

Caribbean Dog



1 shot Malibu Rum

1 can Hair of the Dog

Blend ingredients with ice, then serve in a tall glass. Float a 1/2 shot of Chambord in the glass and garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

Tex Mex Dog

(Hair of the Dog’s version of the margarita has fewer carbs -; approximately 40 grams less than traditional margarita mixes.)

1 1/4 shot tequila

3/4 shot triple sec

3/4 shot Grand Marnier

1/2 can Hair of the Dog

Combine ingredients and serve over ice in a glass with a salted rim. Garnish with a slice of lime.

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