Gabrielle Olya
May 29, 2017 11:09 AM

Marcela Valladolid says that when you’re throwing a summer party, “you need to have a cocktail” — but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

“I love this idea of having one signature cocktail at an event, and that way you don’t have to spend money on stocking a full bar,” the co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen, 38, tells People Now. “Find a good one, make people fall in love with it, and they’ll be drinking that all night.”

Valladolid’s suggestion for a simple summer cocktail that guests are sure to love is the Strawberry and Thai Basil Mojito from her new cookbook, Casa Marcela.

To make the drink, first muddle ¼ cup of strawberries and 2 tbsp. of sugar in a chilled glass.

.”The more sugar, the less alcohol you can taste,” jokes Valladolid.

For more party tips and recipes from Valladolid, pick up PEOPLE’s Summer Grilling special issue, on newsstands now.

Next, add 1 tbsp. of basil and lime juice from half a lime.

“Fresh lime juice can brighten up any drink,” says the chef.

Fill the glass with ice, and add 1½ oz. of rum and ¾ cup of sparkling water.

“Give it a gentle stir,” advises Valladolid. “The strawberries will stay at the bottom, but you want those flavors to come up.”

For the finishing touch, garnish the glass with strawberries and basil.


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