Summer is (unofficially) here, and so are the cocktails to sip during the warmer, sunnier months that lie ahead. Light, refreshing, and often fruity, these drinks—some of the classic cocktails, others twists on old favorites, some entirely new combinations—bring the flavors of the season right into your glass. Kick back and celebrate summer’s slower days with these 11 cocktails.
Making this refreshing Italian aperitivo is as easy as riding a bike. And just like riding a bike, once you make one of these, you’ll never forget how it’s done. Just combine dry white wine, Campari and soda water with ice and garnish with two orange wheels.
2. Bloody Kirby
Day-drinking is de rigueur on a holiday, and how better than with a festive spin on a Bloody Mary? In this twist, citrus-flavored vodka is muddled with cucumber, Tabasco, and vermouth then served over ice for a light, slightly spicy but still refreshing brunch cocktail.
3. Peach Me
Ease into summery peach cocktails with this nuanced variation on an Old Fashioned. Muddle a Luxardo maraschino cherry and an orange slice with Angostura bitters, then add bourbon, peach schnapps and ice and stir until chilled. Strain over a large ice sphere and garnish with an orange slice for an impressive, yet easy, presentation.
4.High on the Hog
Celebrate the beginning of the warm season with this boozy slushie. Not only does it combine flavors not often found together, but this large-format recipe will keep you cool as a summer’s breeze. Just combine Kentucky bourbon, maple whiskey, ginger ale and dry vermouth in a plastic bag, and freeze until the mixture reaches a slushy consistency. Divide, then garnish with bacon strips.
Fun to say and fun to drink, this cocktail is a win-win. Plus, it uses in-season blood oranges for flavor and brilliant color, rendering it even more appealing. To make it, just shake together gin, honey syrup, lemon juice, and fresh blood orange juice, then strain and garnish with a lemon twist.
6. Honey Kumquat Caipirinha
This bright and citrusy drink will have you dreaming of soon-to-be summer, no matter if the weather happens to be cooperating. Plus, the recipe is so easy you can bring it together whenever the sun suddenly appears. Just muddle some kumquats and lime together, then shake with cachaça, velvet falernum, and clover honey syrup.
7. Gin Rickey
This cocktail is sweetener-free but full of flavor—a great low-cal thirst quencher. The classic mix of gin and lime juice topped with soda water is the ultimate for outdoor summer sipping.
8. Bodega Dog
This spin on a Salty Dog will help you make the most of those summer beers starting to appear on shelves. Schöfferhofer grapefruit beer pairs nicely with either gin or vodka, while a glass rimmed with Tajín Clásico seasoning helps to bring it all together with a touch of salty heat.
9. Amanyara Mojito
If you want a Mojito but don’t want to deal with the struggle of muddling mint or digging it out from between your teeth later, try this riff straight from the sunny Turks & Caicos isles. The classic combination of rum, lime, and mint are still intact, but it’s blended to a frosty smooth consistency and topped with chilled Champagne, allowing you to drink your way to that elegant vacation resort feeling.
10. Smuggler’s Cove Straits Sling
This twist on a Singapore Sling is fit for a pirate and necessary addition to your summer drinking rotation. The mix of gin with Bénédictine, Cherry Heering, lemon juice, demerara syrup, bitters, and club soda is absolutely perfect for sipping under the sun.
11. Reggae Rum Punch
You don’t have to actually be at the beach in order to drink like you are. Jamaican overproof white rum, a slew of tropical juices, and strawberry syrup come together to form a drink that will bring you straight to the islands, especially when garnished with fresh pineapple and mint.
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