Cucumber Lime Sangria

One of my favorite things about warm weather is backyard patio grilling with friends. The littles playing in the sprinkler, the grill filled with delicious (and healthy!) foods, and conversation with friends. Even when it's just our little family, having a backyard al fresco dinner just makes the days feel more special. I love having a signature drink for such occasions as well, even if we are just celebrating being together. Here's a light, breezy recipe that is perfect for any backyard affair (inspired by this recipe).

Cucumber Lime Sangria:
1 small honeydew melon
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
12 fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
750 milliliter bottle Sauvignon blanc or other semi-dry white wine, chilled (optional)
1 liter bottle carbonated water, chilled
3 drops lime essential oil
3 drops orange essential oil
Fresh mint sprigs, lime + cucumber slices for garnish

Remove and discard seeds and rind from the melon and cut it into thin slices. In a large pitcher combine the melon slices, cucumber slices, lime slices, and the 12 mint leaves. In a small bowl stir together lime juice, honey, and essential oils, then pour over the melon mixture. Add wine, if using, stirring gently. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, stir in the carbonated water and mix well. Pour into individual glasses and garnish with lime, cucumber, and/or mint.