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Summer is on the horizon and our inner hostess is itching to throw an outdoor soiree.

What’s on tap, drink-wise? Instead of our go-to spritzers and sangrias (yawn), we’re pulling a page from three new recipe books all designed to kick one’s cocktail repertoire up a notch.

Cocktail Swatchbook In the spirit of a Pantone color book, blogger and expert host Kelley Lilien created this flipable guide for warm-weather boozing. Each card features simple instructions, glossy photos and all the necessary accoutrements for making 50 retro cocktails with a modern twist. 

Slushed! Have your dessert and drink it, too. Slushed! includes alcohol-infused treats like chocolate-stout ice cream, chile-lime tequila pops and frozen Kahlua cheesecake. With step-by-step techniques and illustrative photos, they’re all totally doable sans fancy tools, but you’ll probably want to invest in an ice-cream maker to fully get in the spirit.

Edible Cocktails We try to eat food that is locally grown, so shouldn’t that extend to drinking? In her new book, mixologist Natalie Bovis teaches us how to use our own backyard ingredients in a variety of concoctions, as well as how to grow a “cocktail garden” and properly stock the pantry for any imbibing occasion.

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