Can you believe it’s time for summer’s last hurrah? Before we know it, we’ll be pulling on sweaters and mixing batches of spiked cider. But for now, let’s focus on enjoying what we have: tasty cocktails featuring everything from fresh fruit and chile to the tropical flavors that help us soak up every last bit of summer while we can. Here are the 11 essential cocktails for your August parties.
There are times when a regular Margarita just won’t cut it. Luckily, this cocktail is here to satisfy all your devilish cravings. A traditional Margarita base (made with Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup) is shaken and strained, then topped with a red wine float for an extra-special twist.
2: CHILE FRESCA
Red bell pepper is an unusual but tasty ingredient that will keep you coming back to this cocktail again and again. When combined with cucumber, lemon juice, tequila, agave nectar, and bitters, the peppers are light and refreshing, while ginger beer and a chile-salt rim help to add a little bit of spice.
3: BLACK DEMURE
Blackberries show off their less sweet side in this concoction. Slightly spicy Wild Turkey 81-proof bourbon is perfectly balanced when shaken with Massenez crème de mure, Cointreau, lemon juice and simple syrup, then strained and garnished with a blackberry and lemon wheel.
4: GREEN BEAST
Great for sharing, this punch is ideal for large get-togethers. Plus, the recipe—equal-parts absinthe, lime juice and simple syrup mixed with water—is so simple you’ll be able to whip up a batch in no time, so you can entertain with ease.
5: BROWN DERBY
Wind down with some whiskey in this classic whiskey drink. The Brown Derby takes bourbon and mixes it with grapefruit juice and honey syrup for a sweet and sour cocktail that’s perfect for enjoying with dinner or as a lighter nightcap.
This cocktail will make sure your thirst is quenched, thanks to the irresistible combination of cucumber vodka, pureed watermelon, and fresh lime juice. Whether you drink it with brunch or as an afternoon pick-me-up, you definitely won’t forget to hydrate with this drink in hand.
7: KYUURI HANA
A combination of gin and cucumber vodka makes the boozy backbone for this light and refreshing sipper. Mix it with simple syrup, sour mix, mint, and lemon for a drink that’s slightly sweet and fruity—perfect for poolside consumption.
8: SPANISH GIN & TONIC
The secret to a good G&T? It’s all in the toppings. Two-parts gin and three-parts tonic serve as the classic base to a wide variety of garnishes to suit your mood. Try juniper berries, lemon and thyme for something light and refreshing, or mix in sliced fig, lavender and vanilla bean for a sweeter, fruitier take.
Bring the British Virgin Islands to you with this Tiki drink. Rum, pineapple and orange juice, and cream of coconut are all you need to conjure up visions of white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Don’t forget to top it all off with grated nutmeg, a pineapple wedge and a straw for true tropical appeal.
10: RASPBERRY CAIPIRINHA
This summery twist on the Brazilian classic is enjoyable at any time of day. After all, what could be better than a mix of sugar, raspberries, lime, and cachaça? Simply muddle the fruit with the sugar, then shake and pour unstrained into a rocks glass and garnish with a raspberry.
11: SEX ON THE BEACH
Get a little action in with this modern classic. The combination of vodka, peach schnapps, orange and cranberry juice, and Chambord is sweet and tropical—just what you need to make a hot summer night even hotter.