PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Rania Harris, of Rania’s Catering, is in the Pittsburgh Today Live kitchen mixing cocktails inspired by her vacation on Kiawah Island.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Aperol Jasmine Spritz

Lemon Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Peeled zest of 4 lemons, plus 1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice


  • 12 ounces gin, chilled
  • 6 ounces Aperol or Campari, chilled
  • 24 ounces, seltzer, chilled
  • ¼ teaspoon aromatic bitters

Frozen lemon wedges, for serving
Rosemary sprigs and peeled lemon zest, for serving


Syrup: In a saucepan, combine sugar, lemon zest, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely. Strain, discarding zest; stir in lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate in an airtight container until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups.

Spritz: In a pitcher, stir together syrup, gin, Aperol, and bitters. Top with seltzer, add rosemary and lemon zest, and stir once to combine. Pour into glasses with frozen lemon wedges; serve.

Serves: 8

Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonade Mojitos


  • 1 lemon
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces sweet tea vodka
  • 1 cup lemonade


  1. Squeeze each half of the lemon into two 16-ounce mason jars or tumblers, then place lemon half in glass.
  2. Add 5-6 fresh mint leaves to each glass then muddle with a wooden spoon. Fill glasses with ice, then add 2 ounces sweet tea vodka and ½ cup lemonade to each glass.
  3. Screw on top and shake to combine, or stir to combine, then serve.

Makes: 2 drinks

Lemon Mezcal Margarita


  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 4 ounces orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
  • 6 ounces mescal
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ice


  1. Mix equal parts salt and pepper on a plate. Run a wedge of lemon around the rim of two rocks glasses; dip into salt and pepper mixture.
  2. Place mescal, triple sec, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice; shake until outside is cold and frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain over ice into prepared glasses; serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Makes: 2 drinks