There’s something to be said for cocktails being refreshing no matter what season it is. What’s not to love? But when summer hits, there’s something about having the perfect drink to cool you off after a day on the beach, or to wash down dinner off the grill, or to keep you chill when you’re kicking back on the sand. When the freshest, most seasonally appropriate ingredients are combined, it’s pure magic.
The most obvious thing to consider for summer cocktails is fruit. It’s the best time of year for stone fruit like peaches, plums, cherries, as well as all of the citrus fruits like limes, lemons, and grapefruit. The blend of crisp, sugary refreshment with a hint of spirits tastes like pure vacation, and making the most out of ripe produce is game-changing. Bubbles are another great way to invigorate a warm weather cocktail, adding effervescence to punches, juices, and sangrias. There are even plenty of classic cocktails making a comeback, so don’t be afraid to pull the dark brown bottles out of your cabinet.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite summer cocktails to help you beat the heat, with at least one drink for every palette. From sweet, to sharp, to bitter or sour, we’ve got a libation to tempt you.
There is nothing more versatile than a margarita. No matter if you like it blended or on the rocks, there are very few ways to go wrong. Our favorite summer margarita takes advantage of two classic summer flavors: cucumber and lime. With a balanced, melon-like sweetness and the sharpness of the lime, this is a well-balanced crowd pleaser.
2 6 inch cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
1.5 cups silver agave tequila
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup lime simple syrup
Lime wedges (for garnish)
Place the cucumbers, tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup into a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve into a pitcher and chill for about one hour. When you’re ready to serve, moisten the rims of your glasses with either lime juice or water and roll them in salt. Place the margarita mix into a shaker with ice cubes and shake until chilled. Pour and serve garnished with a lime wedge or cucumber slice. For a bit of added spice, mix chile powder in with your salt rim!
No matter how you slice it, fruit and wine is one of the most delicious flavor combinations. While many sangrias can feel a bit heavy on the palette, our recipe is lightened with ripe stone fruits and sparkling lemonade. Not only is this a delicious drink, but it’s a great way to use up any fruit that’s at risk for going bad on your counter. Literally every fruit would be delicious in this recipe.
1 bottle dry white wine
1 cup peach liqueur
3 ripe, fresh peaches, peeled and cut into slices
1 large orange, cut into six wedges
1 large lemon, cut into six wedges
1 large nectarine, cut into six wedges
2 cups sparkling lemonade or lemon Italian soda
Mix all ingredients except the sparkling lemonade in a large pitcher. Allow to stand unchilled for 2-3 hours. Chill and add sparkling lemonade just before serving. Garnish with fruit or mint sprig.
Not only is this classic cocktail beautiful, but it’s incredibly refreshing and light. Since this recipe has so few ingredients in such a delicate balance, we think it’s important to use high quality options. This is the perfect compliment to a fresh seafood dinner, or a great dessert cocktail for warm nights on the porch.
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup floral gin
1 tablespoon Maraschino liqueur
1/4 teaspoon simple syrup
In cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, the gin, the Maraschino liqueur, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake thoroughly for at least twenty seconds. Strain into chilled coupe glass and drop in a cherry or two.
Raspberry Gin Rickey
Gin Rickeys are a warm weather staple, with their versatile base and infinite potential for mix-ins. Not only are they easy to make, but they are easy to make in large batches for entertaining. While they’ll work with just about any sweet fruit, we like raspberries for the pop of color, subtle tartness, and the way they break down as the drink sits.
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups rasberries
1 cup fresh lime juice
12 oz gin
1 quart seltzer water
Make a simple syrup and let stand while you muddle raspberries in the bottom of a glass. Add 2 tbsps lime juice, 2 tbsps simple syrup, and 2 tbsps gin. Fill each glass with ice and top with seltzer water. Garnish with lime wedges and extra raspberries. To make in large batches, muddle the raspberries in the bottom of a pitcher.
Now that we’ve shared our favorite summer sips, let us know what yours are in the comments!