Great cocktails? One thing that is always a summer constant, especially at summer gatherings is delicious and refreshing drinks. Whether you have a yard full of guests, relaxing on the beach all day, or you’re enjoying a solo sesh at home or in the office — you can’t go wrong with one of these refreshing beverages.
Even if you’re usually drawn to the classic mojito or margarita, we believe that there are too many cocktail recipes available to expand your horizons and try something new. There is an abundance of recipes for alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails of all kinds.
Summer is all about spending time outside. However, as we face the ‘new normal’, we’ve come up with 20 easy options to help you last through a long, hot summer’s day even if you’re only shaking things up during your Zoom cocktail hours or raising the spirits of the person you’re quarantined with.
Let’s start, shall we?
1. Shaken Piña Colada
With its tempting mix of rum, pineapple, and coconut, the piña colada is the ideal summer beverage even if you’re just enjoying this season at home. You don’t need a blender to mix up a delicious piña colada. For this recipe, all you need is a cocktail shaker, some ice, and those three simple ingredients.
You just have to add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Fill the shaker with ice, seal with the lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled. Then strain through a fine tea strainer into a chilled glass or a hollowed-out pineapple (filled with crushed ice) and serve.
2. Aperol Jasmine Spritz
A make-ahead, big-batch cocktail that’s fizzy and refreshing. It’s a riff on the Jasmine, a classic gin cocktail, and the popular Aperol Spritz and is just right for sipping on a summer’s day.
This slightly bitter, vibrantly hued drink has been a staple aperitif in Italy since the 1950s but has rightly had enormous amounts of attention over the past couple of years. It’s the perfect drink for so many occasions, for beaches and barbecues, aperitifs and after-parties. It starts the party and it ends it, being the only drink that really cuts through that feeling when you’ve drunk too much of whatever else it was you were drinking.
To make this, you just have to make sure you use a good quality prosecco and just a dash of soda water. Serve or drink your Aperol spritz immediately, before the ice melts and dilutes the drink.
3. Strawberry Limeade
Strawberry Limeade is a refreshing summer drink made with freshly-squeezed lime juice, pureed strawberries, and simple syrup. It’s fresh, tangy, fruity, and the perfect way to beat the heat.
California weather can get pretty overbearing during these warmer months but luckily, fresh fruits to turn into refreshing drinks such as this one are aplenty. It’s just the kind of drink you enjoy by the poolside while you lounge all day long.
It’s easy to make, too! Just simple syrup, pureed strawberries, and citrus juice stirred and served over ice, and you’re on your way to bliss.
4. Peach Riesling Spritzer
This drink is perfect if you’re looking for something sweet to sip on during these hot summer days and nights. This refreshing Peach White Wine Spritzer was born from having frozen peaches and one bottle of white wine sitting in my wine fridge.
If you also want to make something light and not too sweet for a small ladies’ brunch or an office drink, this could be it! To make this spritzer, just pack a Collins glass full of ice then add the Riesling, and peach liqueur, and finish with lemon-lime soda. Take note to only choose a white wine on the medium dry side like a chardonnay, a pinot grigio, or a dry Riesling for this cocktail.
5. Campari Orange
If you’re not a wiz at mixing cocktails but you’d like to serve an apéritif over the weekend to help stimulate conversation among your friends before the meal, make something simple like this Campari orange cocktail. No muddling, no layering, and no fancy equipment required. You just need fresh orange juice, ice and, of course, Campari.
This is a simple cocktail to love this season — slightly bitter, sweet, and cold, it’s perfect in the humid heat. Just fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour Campari and orange juice over ice, cover, and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange twist.
6. Spritzy Americano
The Spritzy Americano is a straightforward, refreshing, lively way to start—or keep moving through—your summer day. This is a cold, balanced, bitter beverage. Most specialty mixed coffee drinks are sweet but the bitterness is an integral part of this beverage, balanced by the other elements — in this case, sparkling water, orange juice, and orange peel.
To make it, you need seltzer water, espresso, and fresh orange juice. This lineup is flexible, but your measurements will give you the right balance—just enough sweetness from the orange juice, and a body that feels neither thin nor sludgy. The texture of the Spritzy Americano is smooth and lightly carbonated. If you’re the type of person who needs a sweet coffee beverage, a splash of simple syrup is acceptable.
Do you know what could bring you even closer to the Spritzy Americano? Some booze. The addition of Amaro takes this thing to a whole new realm. It might feel a bit extra, but this is what brings the Spritzy Americano together at the close.
7. Cold Brew Irish Coffee
Irish coffee is a coffee cocktail with sweetened coffee, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream as its key ingredients. Nitro coffee has the same ‘coffee’ taste as traditional iced coffee, but it has a creamier texture and a foamy finish — it’s cozy, delicious, and incredibly easy to make.
Traditionally, Irish Coffee is served hot, but since it’s officially the summer season, why not give this drink a twist especially if you have nitro coffee readily at your disposal?
Don’t have a kegerator system? Don’t worry, there are easy ways to make cold brew coffee at home or at the office that will work just fine for this recipe. Add your cold brew coffee, whiskey, and simple syrup to a mixing glass. Then fill the glass with ice and stir to chill the drink.
8. Fernando Cocktail
This drink is a simple, easy-drinking cocktail that looks as dark and manly as anything on the bar. It is delicious any time of day, and it’s light enough for seconds. It’s perhaps best suited to an after-dinner situation, as herbal liqueur Fernet-Branca is said to aid in digestion and settle an upset stomach.
It is made by mixing the amaro Fernet-Branca with Coca-Cola, serving it tall over ice. Just add all the ingredients to a mixing glass, add large ice cubes and stir for 40 revolutions then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the top of a mint stalk.
9. Boozy White Sangria
White Sangria is the perfect summer cocktail! Wine, booze, juice, and fruits— no reason not to love this drink. Not only is it delicious, and easy to make, but the flavor combinations are endless. Loaded with a variety of fresh fruits, this drink is classic and delicious — and just what your hot day needs.
To prepare this sangria, macerate a quartet of fruits — pineapple, honeydew, grapes, kiwi, green apples, strawberries (and your other favorite fruits) — with sugar, elderflower liqueur, and vodka or tequila the night before, then add white wine and seltzer to taste on the day of.
10. Lillet Spritz
Another great cocktail you’ll be fizzing over this summer is Lillet Spritz. It’s a classic wine-based aperitif from Bordeaux, has been making big waves in Europe over the summer, and is set to do just the same here as the warmer months set upon us.
Best served on ice with a fresh fruit garnish, Lillet is incredibly versatile – you can either combine with sparkling water or tonic for the perfect spritz pick-me-up on a hot sunny day; or for something slightly more intense, it can also be teamed with gin or vodka for a truly aromatic cocktail.
And with two flavors – Lillet Blanc, with soft honey and orange taste; and Lillet Rosé, which has more of a berry and grapefruit zest – there’s no chance of getting flavor fatigue, as you’ll be able to switch it up to your heart’s content.
11. Negroni Cocktail
Easy to make and refreshingly bitter, the Negroni is said to have been invented in Florence by a dauntless Italian count who demanded that the bartender replace the club soda in his Americano with gin. It was a substitution that launched a thousand riffs.
Bitter, sweet, dry, and refreshing all at once, the carmine-colored cocktail has developed a reputation as a summer mainstay, but the truth is there’s never really a bad time to whip one up.
To mix the perfect version, add gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled. Then garnish it with orange peel and strain it into a rock glass filled with large ice cubes.
12. Siciliano Cocktail
The Siciliano cocktail is a delicious cold-brew coffee drink that bucks the trend of coffee cocktails. It’s a fairly low-alcohol cocktail, made with just a few ounces of sweet Italian vermouth and Amaro Averna, and combined with the kick of some good coffee this is a great way to either ease into your night or finish off a nice dinner.
If you can’t decide whether you want to finish your meal with a coffee or an amaro, drink this. Light and sweet, this is a perfect cocktail-hour aperitif. Plus, it’s quick and easy to make and is sure to be a hit this summer season!
13. Bronx Cocktail
The Bronx cocktail is a simple variation of a perfect martini that adds orange juice to the mix. If you are looking for a classic martini that is not as dry as some, this is a great option. It’s perfect for a meal or while you’re just working from home. Plus, it’s really nice any time you simply want a good gin cocktail.
Choosing a top-shelf gin and quality vermouth will make a better Bronx cocktail. The orange juice will cover up some impurities, but the real beauty here is tasting how the fruit plays off the botanicals in both the gin and vermouth. With each ingredient you pour, you’ll experience subtle differences in the flavor, so have fun exploring your options.
14. Mango Mojito
Cool, refreshing, and completely delicious, this mango mojito can also be the perfect drink to enjoy with friends during this season. It can also be a great libation for when you want a cool, thirst-quenching drink with the freshness of mint and fruit! If you’ve never tried mango in a cocktail before, it definitely needs to go on your bucket list this summer. The sweet, floral flavor tastes like it was meant for a mojito. It pairs perfectly with the fresh mint and lime juice, making it wonderfully refreshing!
In a blender, pulse the mango and mint leaves until roughly pureed. In a cocktail shaker or mason jar, add ice cubes, mango puree, rum, simple syrup, and lime juice. Shake vigorously, pour the mixture into two glasses with additional ice, and fill the remaining glass with club soda. Top with mint sprigs and extra mango. Enjoy right away!
15. Pimm’s Cup
A traditional Pimm’s Cup is a mix of Pimm’s, lemonade, lemon soda or ginger ale, and ice. Wedges of fruit like orange, lemon, and cucumber are added to the cup for a fruity refreshing summer cocktail.
Pimm’s is a spicy-sweet gin-based British liqueur. Citrusy and bitter at the same time, it is a classic liquor choice in the UK and has become popular over the past few years in the United States. The Pimm’s cup is a simple but versatile drink. The garnish is where you can really add a variety of other light flavors.
Making a Pimm’s Cup is as easy as can be. Simply shake the Pimm’s with ginger ale, lemonade, or lemon soda and strain the drink into a glass filled with ice. Add a long thin slice of cucumber, a couple of thin orange slices and mint leaves before serving and sipping. If you like, you can muddle the cucumber and orange in the bottom of the glass before you add the ice.
16. Strawberry Daiquiri
The strawberry daiquiri is an excellent cocktail for the warm days of summer. Whether it’s frozen or shaken or made with fresh or frozen strawberries, a made-from-scratch strawberry daiquiri is sweet, refreshing, and irresistible.
Most often, the strawberry daiquiri is blended and served as a boozy, fresh fruit smoothie. The shaken cocktail is just as delicious and a little easier because you don’t need to drag out the blender. No matter which version of this tropical drink you choose, the same ingredients are required: rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and strawberries.
17. Elixir Bloody Mary
Step up your summer chill with this ultimate Bloody Mary. The combination of vodka, spices, hot sauce, lemon, and tomato juice isn’t much different from other recipes, but a dash of Elixir Juice — a mixture of olive brine, dill pickle brine and various other pickle brines — helps to solidify this drink’s spot on your table.
To get the spicy flavors just right, be sure to rim the glass with Old Bay Seasoning, and don’t leave out the Elixir Juice and dried dill or you won’t truly experience Bloody nirvana. For a more Chesapeake-style garnish, stab a freshly fried oyster, lemon wedge, and dill pickle onto a wooden skewer.
18. Blue Hawaiian
From the sea-blue color to the tropical flavors, this fruity pineapple cocktail makes you want to hit the beach. The blue Hawaiian cocktail is a fantastic and fun tiki drink. It’s filled with rum, pineapple, and coconut and, best of all, it’s blue! Blue cocktails are always hard to resist because the color lures you in for a taste of the sweet tropical flavor.
In essence, this is a blue version of the popular piña colada. It simply splits up the coconut and pineapple flavors to allow room for the blue curaçao. That orange-flavored liqueur is responsible for the drink’s mesmerizing aquamarine color.
Combine rum, blue Curacao, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and 1 cup of crushed ice in a blender. Puree on high speed until smooth. Pour into a chilled highball glass and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.
19. Citrus Moscow Mule
This easy Citrus Moscow Mule is an amazing cocktail made with fresh fruit and ginger beer that makes it the perfect cocktail for hot summer days. This simple cocktail is full of bright, fresh citrus flavors. Grapefruit juice, lime juice, and orange liqueur give this citrus variation of a Moscow Mule an amazing flavor.
The interesting thing about this drink is that out of all the varieties of citrus, it has a sweet rind. The contrast of the sweet rind and sour fruit inside is what makes it work so well in a cocktail. Its juice is so delightful that it begs to be used for something special.
Dress the classic Moscow mule with bright, sparkling notes of these sweet and zesty citrus fruit’s nectar. The more citrus, the merrier.
20. Modern Mai Tai
First served in California, the Mai Tai is a play on the word Maita’i which is the Tahitian word for “good” and we think Mai Tais are indeed great!
The Mai Tai was created as a way to showcase the flavors of good-quality rum. It should never be neon-colored or overly sweet. A proper Mai Tai allows the rum to shine through with the other ingredients.
This thirst-quenching drink is quick and easy to make. Just combine light rum, gold rum, orange Curacao, orgeat, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add a cup of ice, cover, and shake until chilled. Strain into the chilled old-fashioned glass. Top with dark rum. Then garnish with a wedge of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.
You can sip on this summertime favorite anytime and we recommend enjoying it beside the pool or on the beach to reach ultimate relaxation.
Your Turn to Quench That Summer Thirst!
Every summer shindig needs a refreshing cocktail. And since summer is a time for kicking back and relaxing, skip the made-to-order drinks — it’s time for refreshing cocktails!
So, whether you’re relaxing on the beach all day, hosting a backyard barbecue, or simply enjoying a Friday after-work gathering, I’m sure we can all agree that cocktails and good company make summer more enjoyable.
When it comes to mixing cocktail drinks, the advice that ‘fresh is best’ is a great motto to live by. The freshest cocktails, come from real fruits and summer is the perfect time to take advantage of them.
From new twists on the most popular drinks to fun and refreshing fruit punches, the drinks mentioned above showcase the best produce of the season. In the spirit of adventure, however, it’s important to remain open to discovery.
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