35 Best Summer Cocktails
Soak up the sun...and the booze.
It’s summer, and you know what that means—spending as much time outside as possible, preferably by a pool or the beach. From frozen drinks to icy margaritas and tropical mixed cocktails, there's something for every mood, party, and holiday this summer. Celebrate the return of warm weather and sunshine with these 35 essential summer cocktails.
Summer days are loooong, which means you’re likely to find yourself drinking during the day and into the night. If you don’t want to risk going overboard (or like us, getting sleepy early 😴 ), try one of our tips for lower ABV cocktails so you can keep sipping from brunch till after dinner. First off, we love adding seltzer to a cocktail to make it extra bubbly and keep us hydrated. Try our bittersweet Aperol spritz, red wine sangria, or strawberry jalapeño mint julep—we’ve added soda water to both to great effect. You could also go simple with our ranch water cocktail: It’s pretty much a tequila soda with lime, with added Cointreau to make it like a less-sweet margarita. Our second trick is to make your drink more savory than sweet. It’s super easy to suck down a sweet cocktail fast, but add a few salty umami ingredients, and it becomes something to savor. Try our beer-based Michelada (secret ingredient: soy sauce) or taco bloody Marys (complete with optional mini tacos!).
Though we have been known to drink something cold and icy in the depths of winter (hello, Jack Frosties), there’s really nothing better than a frozen cocktail when it’s HOT out. We’ve included a few of our favorites here. There’s frozen margaritas, ofc, but we’ve also got spins on the classic, like a frozen strawberry margarita, frozen watermelon margarita, and a frozen sangria margarita.
Don’t have a blender? No sweat. Go with one of our summer fruit-inspired margaritas instead. We’ve got a peach margarita, blueberry lemonade margarita, or our pink señoritas (think a marg with pink lemonade instead of lime juice).
Not a tequila fan? We got you too. Try our rum runner (with two kinds of rum!) or our spiked sparkling basil lemonade (basil-infused vodka? yum!) or our classic citrusy, almond-y Mai Tai.
If you’re having a summer party, cocktails ARE important, but don’t forget options for other refreshing beverages too. Whether it’s mocktails for your teetotaler friends or non-alcoholic drinks like lemonade and iced tea, we’ve got options.
There are a bunch of ways to infuse a drink with fruit like steeping some actual fruit in the alcohol itself or making a syrup out of berries or fruit juice. In this case we have packed peachy goodness into this margarita with two ingredients: peach schnapps and peach puree.
Get the Peach Margarita recipe.
Don’t let Derby Day be your only excuse to make these mint juleps; they’re worthy all summer long. If you’re into spicy margaritas then you’ll be able to handle the heat here; the jalapeño-infused simple syrup mellows out once it hits the cool mint and sweet berries
The dangerous task of bringing alcohol across state lines during Prohibition was colloquially known as rum-running, and is the namesake for this classic tropical cocktail. True to its name, this drink has not one but two types of rum in it, and is balanced by the addition of fruity liqueurs and fresh juice, making it a perfect cocktail for a balmy day.
Get the Rum Runner recipe.
A sort of effervescent, less-sweet version of a margarita, only 3 ingredients are required for Ranch Water: tequila, lime juice, and seltzer. (Preferably Topo Chico; some claim it’s not a real Ranch Water without it!) We like adding a splash of orange liqueur like Cointreau for a little added sweetness and citrus flavor too.
Get the Ranch Water recipe.
This fruit-forward margarita works best with frozen strawberries, so it doesn't get watered down! We love adding fresh basil for some sweet anise-y flavor, but other fresh herbs like mint or even cilantro can kick up the flavor of this sunny cocktail.
Get the Frozen Strawberry Margarita recipe.
If you've never had a Michelada, you're in for a treat. The addition of hot sauce and lime juice add a spicy/sour kick that takes your average light beer from good to great. Thanks to our secret ingredient (soy sauce!) there's also a hint of umami flavor that keeps you coming back for more.
Get the Michelada recipe.
To unlock the delicious concentrated flavor found in citrus skins, we made an oleo saccharum for this cocktail. Let us explain: granulated sugar draws the flavorful essential oils out of citrus peels as they sit at room temperature. We love watching the sugar transform into a beautiful syrup, perfect for flavoring seltzer, cocktails, or desserts.
Get the Spiked Coconut Limeade recipe.
Basil-infused vodka? Sign us up. This brings out the sweetness of the herb and turns the spirit a vibrant green.
White wine sangria + a piña colada? Yes please! One sip will transport you to the tropics.
Get the Piña Colada Sangria recipe.
Turn your night into a pick-your-own-cocktail night with mojitos made with strawberry, blueberry, or pineapple. Whatever your choice, it's a good one. If you just so happen to be interested in one without alcohol our Blackberry Virgin Mojito is mighty refreshing and a great fourth option.
Get the Mojitos, 3 Ways recipe.
This recipe requires a little forethought. Chop up some fresh watermelon and throw it in the freezer the night before you make the margs—this ensures the drinks are perfectly slushy and ICE cold. (If you forgot, don't fret! Two hours in the freezer should do the trick.)
Get the Frozen Watermelon Margarita recipe.
Turn your margarita into summer goals with this blueberry lemonade version. Have some leftover blueberry simple syrup? It tastes AMAZING in seltzer water, and is a great sweetener for iced tea. You can even stir it into yogurt or ice cream for a punch of blueberry flavor.
Get the Blueberry Lemonade Margaritas recipe.
We blended our Dark & Stormy cocktail for this frozen summer upgrade. The fresh ginger really makes it zing!
Get the Frozen Dark & Stormy recipe.
Crushed, ripe blackberries give this mojito a tart-sweet kick, but use any of your favorite summery fruits!
Get the Blackberry Mojito recipe.
Save leftover red wine by freezing it and turning it into a frozen treat. More of a white wine or moscato sangria person? Either works super well with this easy ice cube tray hack!
Get the Sangria Slushies recipe.
A Bloody Mary is only as good as it's garnish, so we topped these off with our favorite tacos. We used a toaster to make our own mini tacos shells, and it's our one of our favorite hacks EVER.
Get the Taco Bloody Marys recipe.
Think of this as the boozy version of an Arnold Palmer— 1/2 beer, 1/2 lemonade. We jazzed it up for summer with some fresh fruit and ginger beer too.
Get the Summer Shandy Punch recipe.
This famous tiki cocktail is as tropical as it gets. Freshly squeezed orange and lime juice deliver big citrus flavor, but its best ingredient is orgeat syrup (or, if you can't find it, almond extract). We like it hot with a spicy rim, but skip it if you like.
Get the Classic Mai Tai recipe.
If Shark Week is basically your Christmas then consider this our gift to you. Be sure to prepare the "lifesaver" well in advance so that it's fully frozen. As it melts it will create the foamy white waves and make the punch extra creamy.
Get the Shark Punch recipe.
Peachy, tart, and citrusy, this cocktail is the perfect drink to wind down with after a long day.
Get the Sex On The Beach recipe.
You don't need to go to a bar to enjoy frosé. With a good blender, it's super easy to make it yourself. Our favorite addition? Strawberries. They add the perfect amount of sweetness and body to the summer cocktail.
Get the Strawberry Frosé recipe.
This drink alternates frozen layers of two of our favorite drinks—red wine sangria and tequila margaritas— for the the perfect boozy summer sipper.
Get the Frozen Sangria Margarita recipe.
PSA: You don't have to be on vacation to enjoy a tequila sunrise. These orange juice, grenadine, and vodka sippers are great anytime!
Get the Tequila Sunrise recipe.
We aren't so sure about the name but this drink is far better than it sounds. Orange juice and peach schnapps create the perfect cocktail for an escape into pure bliss. You'll feel like you are sitting on the beach and everything is going to be all right.
Get the Fuzzy Navel recipe.
Like a margarita with a softer, cuter side, the Señorita ditches limes for pink lemonade and lemon juice.
Get the Pink Señoritas recipe.
You don’t have to be in the seats at Wimbledon or a polo match to sip on a Pimm’s Cup–especially when you turn into a slushie. The less-proper icy version blends up citrus, cucumber, and a bunch of fresh ginger for some legit zing.
Get the Frozen Pimm's Cup recipe.
For best results, we call for two types of strawberries: fresh and frozen. Using frozen strawberries gives body to the drink without watering down the flavor like ice would, and fresh strawberries add juiciness and a syrupy quality, keeping the drink from being too thick. That squeeze of lime? Essential. The fresh citrus kick will make the strawberries shine even brighter in flavor.
Get the Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri recipe.
If you can get your hands on some super ripe peaches, taste your puree before adding honey—it might be sweet enough already! If not, adding some orange zest will help coax out the sweetness even more.
Get the Vanilla-Peach Bellinis recipe.
Layering fruit in the glasses makes this moscato sangria extra pretty. If you don't to bother with layering, feel free to skip it, but don't skimp on the fruit!
Get the Rainbow Sangria recipe.
If you have the time, freeze the pineapple chunks (or buy frozen) first. This will allow you to skip the ice and make your piña colada extra creamy.
Get the Piña Colada recipe.