Summer cocktails are all about capturing the vibrant and refreshing essence of the season in a glass. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, hosting a backyard barbecue, or simply unwinding after a long day, summer cocktails offer a delightful way to cool off and embrace the laid-back vibes of the warmer months. With their emphasis on bright, juicy flavors and light, crisp spirits, these cocktails are perfect for anyone looking to add a splash of fun and relaxation to their summer gatherings.
If you’re someone who enjoys the idea of sipping on a cool, fruity concoction that embodies the carefree spirit of summer, then these cocktails are right up your alley. They’re ideal for those who appreciate the simple pleasure of kicking back with a refreshing drink in hand, as well as for anyone eager to experiment with fresh seasonal ingredients and playful garnishes. So, if you’re ready to infuse your summer days with a burst of flavor and a touch of sunshine, exploring the world of summer cocktails is a must!
Tequila is one of Mexico’s most beloved gifts to the world of spirits, and the classic margarita is the best way to enjoy it. While there have been countless variations since its origin, the classic margarita is the easiest and purest of tequila cocktails. It’s a zesty, spicy blend of tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and simple syrup with a salted rim garnish to tie all the flavors together.
A dainty and light summer cocktail, the Aperol Spritz has a bittersweet flavor profile with a dry finish. Aperol is a type of bitter liqueur that blends with prosecco and soda in this bubbly and refreshing cocktail. Aperol Spritzes have a low alcohol content as they don’t contain hard liquor, so you can have a second with dinner and still be good to drive home.
Second in popularity only to the Margarita, the Paloma is another refreshing and simple tequila cocktail. It consists of silver tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime juice. Grapefruit soda adds a bitter and bubbly finish that works well with an alcohol-forward spirit like silver tequila. The Paloma pairs well with spicy Mexican meats.
No pool or beachside lounge is complete without a strawberry Daiquiri. The classic Daiquiri is nowhere near as popular as this strawberry-infused summertime cocktail. Frozen strawberries and ice create a smoothie-like texture and a delicate sweetness to complement tart lime and rich rum.
The best way to enjoy a tasty cocktail while still looking good in a bathing suit is with a low-calorie vodka tonic. Plus, it’s one of the easiest and cheapest cocktails to make. Tonic water has a unique flavor thanks to its key ingredient, extracted from the South American cinchona tree. What was once a remedy for malaria is now a beloved cocktail mixer. Just add a squeeze of lime, and you have a perfectly quenching cocktail.
Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita
This new-age take on the classic tequila cocktail is a sweet and spicy flavor explosion. This recipe takes a little more effort, but it’ll be a show-stopper at your next Mexican-themed soiree. Muddling fresh pineapples and fresh jalapeno slices with reposado tequila brings a peppery, sweet, and smokey flavor profile. Instead of simple syrup, pineapple juice provides the sweetness to pair with lime juice and orange liqueur.
Named for the key ingredient and the type of glass you serve it in, the Whiskey Highball is a two-ingredient cocktail consisting of rye whiskey and a splash of ginger ale. It’s perfect in its simplicity and allows the mixer to make it as strong as they like. The Whiskey Highball is also a popular summer drink as it’s served over ice, making it a refreshing and easy-to-drink option for outdoor gatherings. It’s a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time and is enjoyed by whiskey enthusiasts worldwide.
Named for bartender John Collin’s proprietary cocktail recipe using Old Tom Gin, Tom Collins has been a favorite cocktail since the 1860s. It’s a simple three-ingredient cocktail featuring gin, lemon juice, and soda water. It’s a botanical and zesty cocktail with a light, bubbly finish. Tom Collins is another great option for a low-calorie cocktail. The drink can be garnished with a lemon wheel or a cherry; some variations even add a splash of simple syrup for a touch of sweetness.
Banana fans rejoice, this cocktail features bananas in two ways. It adds frozen bananas and banana liqueur to the classic daiquiri recipe of rum, lime, and sweetener. Blending frozen bananas creates a silky, creamy texture like vanilla ice cream. This decadent daiquiri is better than a banana split.
The classic mojito is one of Cuba’s best inventions. It popularized the technique of muddling ingredients to release their flavors. Consisting of fresh mint muddled with lime juice and simple syrup, the mojito has a zesty, sweet, and minty foundation for an alcohol-forward white rum variety. Soda water dilutes the strength of the rum and mint while adding a bubbly finish.
A staple for any gin drinker, the Negroni is an iconic and classy cocktail consisting of equal parts gin, Campari, and vermouth. It is a well-balanced bitter and botanical cocktail with a dry finish. It’s the perfect cocktail for a fancy summer cocktail hour.
If you’ve ever been to a Tiki bar, you’ve surely enjoyed one of these tropical rum cocktails with a colorful paper umbrella sticking out of it. Despite its popularity as a tropical cocktail, the Mai Tai originated in San Francisco when a bar owner concocted it to impress his Tahitian guests. Consisting of agricole and dark rum, the Mai Tai is an ultra-rich and fruity cocktail that blends with orange liqueur, lime, and an almond-flavored Orgeat liqueur.
A botanical twist on the classic Bourbon Rickey, the Gin Rickey is an easy three-ingredient cocktail consisting of gin, lime juice, and seltzer water. You can really appreciate the juniper and botanical flavor profile in the gin in this cocktail. The lime juice and the sodium in the seltzer water enhance the spirit’s unique flavor while adding zest and bubbles.
The Americano originated in Milan, Italy over 150 years ago and it earned its name due to its popularity with American tourists. The Americano is a sweeter twist on the classic Negroni, blending gin and Campari with sweet vermouth and club soda. If the Negroni is too bitter, dry, and strong for you, the Americano is a little more gentle.
Classic Daiquiris are the original, simple Cuban cocktails from which all the more elaborate frozen versions arose. Most bottled cocktail recipes fill this veritable rum sour with sugar. This recipe minimizes its sweetness by adding just a dash of sweetness to a ratio of two parts rum to one part lime juice.
A slushy summertime twist on the classic mojito, this watermelon mojito adds chunks of watermelon with lime juice and mint to muddle. Watermelon quenches your thirst, while mint cools your palate. It’s a sweeter, even more, refreshing rum cocktail that makes a pitcher’s worth of cocktails for your next backyard barbecue.
Named for the botanical gin brand Pimm’s No. 1, Pimm’s Cup is one of the oldest gin drinks, originating in London during the 1840s and marketed as a healthy digestive. The original recipe uses fresh ginger and lemon juice, but modern adaptations are more open to creative license. This recipe uses ginger ale and lemonade for a sweeter version.
Yet another iteration of the classic margarita, the only difference between the frozen and the classic is ice. This easy recipe calls for equal parts orange liqueur and Blanco tequila with fresh lime juice and a hefty serving of ice to create a smoothie-like texture. It’s the perfect cocktail to pair with bottomless tortilla chips and guacamole.
Originating as a boozy remedy for scurvy for Navymen, the Gimlet originally used Rose’s lime syrup and gin. The best part about the Gimlet is that you can use cheap gin. The sweet lime syrup stands up to harsher alcohol-forward gins. If you can’t find Rose’s syrup, this recipe gives you the proper proportions of lime juice and simple syrup as a fresher alternative.
This two-ingredient cocktail consists of gin and grapefruit juice in a one-to-two-part ratio. The Salty Dog gets its name from the salt-rimmed glass you serve it in. Salt is the all-powerful seasoning that enhances and balances flavors in any recipe. In the case of the Salty Dog, salt enhances the citrus and botanical flavors of grapefruit and gin, respectively.
Whether it’s winter or summer, the Old Fashioned is always in season. It’s the most iconic bourbon cocktail that is nearly as old as Bourbon itself. The Old Fashioned is essentially a sweetened bourbon drink made by crushing a cube of sugar in a mixture of bourbon and Angostura bitters.
If you’re a berry lover, the Bramble cocktail is the best way to enjoy the late summer harvest. Consisting of rich blackberry liqueur, muddled fresh blackberries, sweetener, and gin, the Bramble is a floral, berry blast. It also has a beautiful presentation, with a transparent top that fades to a deep purple at the bottom.
“Smash” refers to the muddling of mint and lemon juice in this bright and refreshing whiskey cocktail. You can use bourbon or whiskey for this cocktail. Bourbon adds a smoky finish, while whiskey is spicier. Either way, a blend of mint, lemon, and simple syrup cools and brightens the palate.
Long Island Iced Tea
This cocktail is more of a dare than a drink. Still, there’s no better season to get smashed than the long days of summer. It throws equal parts of nearly every hard liquor that exists into one lethally alcoholic beverage with sour mix and cola to cushion the blow. After one of these, you won’t need another drink for the rest of the night.
A gorgeous orange and red-hued cocktail, the Tequila Sunrise is an easy three-ingredient cocktail composed of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine. You already know that tequila pairs well with citrus, so orange juice and tequila are a perfect pairing. Grenadine adds a shock of red coloring and a bitter finish.
- Classic Margarita
- Aperol Spritz
- Strawberry Daiquiri
- Vodka Tonic
- Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita
- Whiskey Highball
- Tom Collins
- Banana Daiquiri
- Classic Mojito
- Mai Tai
- Gin Rickey
- Classic Daiquiri
- Watermelon Mojito
- Pimm's Cup
- Frozen Margarita
- Salty Dog
- Whiskey Smash
- Long Island Iced Tea
- Tequila Sunrise
- Pick your favorite recipe
- Gather all the needed ingredients
- Prep a summer cocktail in less than 5 minutes