One of my favorite summer activities is picnicking at Brooklyn's own gem of public space, Prospect Park. It's less crowded than Central Park, and arguably lovelier. My friends and I make a point of gathering there at least once every summer for a potluck picnic. There is nothing better than spending a day in the sun with friends, family, delicious food, and cold drinks!
This Saturday was the perfect sunny day for a picnic. Our younger guests explored the woodsier parts of the park and took in the adventures of nearby children and kite flyers, while the grown-ups enjoyed salads, sandwiches, fancy cheese, and wine. Greg invented a special watermelon-ginger-bourbon cocktail for the occasion, which is aptly named "Prospect Punch." It's a perfect drink to serve for daytime picnics and barbeques. I made a bunch of yummy recipes, the most popular being S'mores Bars, which were a hit with all ages!
Fun Brooklyn fact - apparently back in the day, it was common for people to sleep in Prospect Park to stay cool on hot summer nights! We learned this from one of our picnic guests whose grandparents grew up in the neighborhood. Although we did have to go home at some point, I can certainly understand the appeal of staying there as long as possible.
Below is Greg's Prospect Punch recipe and links to all of the other delicious recipes I used for our picnic, which will hopefully provide inspiration for your own park pilgrimages and backyard barbeques!
- 6 oz bourbon
- handful of fresh mint leaves
- 12 oz watermelon juice
- 12 oz strong ginger beer
- juice of 3 limes
The night before, muddle together the mint leaves and bourbon. Leave them overnight to infuse the bourbon with mint flavor. When you are ready to prepare the cocktail, strain out the mint leaves using a fine mesh sieve. To make the watermelon juice, puree cubes of fresh watermelon in a blender. You don't need to add any liquid - it will quickly turn in to a refreshing juice. Combine the bourbon, watermelon juice, lime juice, and ginger beer in a pitcher (or jar for picnic travels!). Makes 4 servings. Serve over ice.
Additional Picnic Recipe Ideas
- Edamame Hummus from the Food Network - one of my picnic faves, perfect with pita chips
- S'mores Bars from Glorious Treats - these are gooey and delicious like s'mores flavored brownies
- Kale, Quinoa & Cherry Salad from Cooking Light - this summer salad with chickpeas also makes an easy meal for hot nights