Since the summer heat is right around the corner, we all are either retreat indoors to the air conditioning, or sticking it out with an ice cold drink and prayers for a breeze. While toughing it out wherever you may be, here’s our pick for the top 10 best cocktails for the summertime. Give them all a try and watch the summer breeze by.
Berry Lemon Basil Cocktail
When we think of summer entertaining, the first thing that comes to mind is the backyard barbeque. Nothing like a meat on the grill, summery sides, and good thirst quenching drinks on a hot summer day. While many will drink beer, consider this vodka infused twist on strawberry lemonade.
For each glass size beverage, you’ll need fresh squeezed lemonade (not the powder!), a few sprigs of basil, strawberries or raspberries, and your favorite mixing vodka. First throw in your ice, then some chopped up berries, then a few slightly crushed sprigs of basil. Next pour in one part vodka followed by five parts lemonade. Stir and enjoy!
For something a little more exotic, try Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha. This drink is made with a rum relative, a sugarcane hard liquor called cachaca. Cachaca is made from distilled, fermented sugarcane juice, whereas rum is made from molasses.
To make the Caipirinha, place a couple chunks of lime in an old-fashioned glass and muddle with a couple teaspoons of sugar. Next add plenty of ice, and top off with Cachaca. This drink is definitely a sipper, so drink wisely!
If you’ve been to the Virgin Islands recently you will have had, or at least, have heard of this iconic caribbean drink. It’s hard not to think about chilling on a beach next to the turquoise waters without having a painkiller in your hand. A painkiller is five parts sweet, and one part alcohol. So be careful, you may not realize its boozy effect until it’s too late.
So what’s in it? Lots of juice and a bit of rum too. Start with two to four ounces of rum according to your taste, add four ounces pineapple juice, one ounce cream of coconut (not coconut milk), and one ounce orange juice (you can also use mango juice for a change up). Vigorously shake or blend, pour into the cup and top with nutmeg.
Summer usually comes with a ton of different types of melon. One trip into the grocery store to witness the price drop in summer fruits is pretty much an official announcement that summer has arrived! Yes, any type of summer melon is delicious on its own, but if you’re looking for a little summer inspiration in your next cocktail, check this drink out.
Try your favorite melon whether it be watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe blended with a white rum and Fresca for a summer refresher. Scoop out some melon into a cocktail shaker with 2 ounces white rum. Shake vigorously to muddle the melon, and pour into a glass and topped off with Fresca. Stir and enjoy!
Lemon Mint Margy
Summer mint, a fast growing herb, is popular as a palate cleanser because of its refreshing taste. So why not use it in a refreshing summer cocktail as well? The Lemon Mint Margy attempts a blend on a margarita and mint julep.
The lemon mint margy balances the sweet with the mint, so that you sip all day on this drink without that over sugary feeling in your mouth at the end of the day.
The most important part of this drink is in the muddling. Muddle a few fresh mint leaves in the bottom of your glass with some ice and a bit of fresh squeezed lemon or lime (depending on your tartness tolerance). Add some more ice now along with about three to four ounces of lemonade and one to two ounces of tequila.
If you’ve got a cocktail shaker and strainer, you’ll want to use it. Shake, strain, and pour into a sugar rimmed glass. If you don’t have one, just use a travel mug and any all purpose strainer hanging around in the kitchen.
The Classic Gin & Tonic
On a hot summer evening you may find you don’t want anything sweet at all, just a clean, crisp no fluff, no fuss cocktail. Born in the early 19th century, the Gin & Tonic has spread in popularity in the world because of its simplicity and clean taste.
All you need is some quality gin, tonic water, and a lime wedge. Since this is a highball cocktail, where only one other liquid ingredient is featured, using at least a decent quality gin is important. Take 1 part gin, 1 to 3 parts tonic water, and pour over ice in a highball glass. Serve with a lime wedge and enjoy!
Bourbon Blackberry Collins
The Tom Collins, similar to the Gin & Tonic, is a classic cocktail made of gin, soda water, and lemon or lime juice served in a larger “collins glass”. A fun twist on the Tom Collins is the Bourbon Blackberry Collins. This is a delicious cocktail for those who like the taste of bourbon but just can’t drink it straight!
The Bourbon Blackberry Collins is made with club soda, simple syrup, lemon juice, blackberries and Bourbon. The mix can be made up in advance in a large batch if you are hosting a party, then individually served in a tom collins glass with 1 to 2 ounces of Bourbon.
White Peach Sangria
At the tail end of summer when the peaches growing in the humid east coast are at their peak, make sure you take the opportunity to make a White Peach Sangria. This is the cocktail for the wine drinker, and it’s a relaxing drink you can sip on slowly all day. All I can say is yum!
This punch-like cocktail is really versatile. You can change the recipe up as much as you like as long as there are peaches and wine on the ingredients list. Traditionally, Sangria has been a red wine punch with chopped fruit, orange juice, and sometimes a little brandy.
With this summery southern variation we take a chilled bottle of dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc, ¼ to ⅓ cup of sugar depending on the sweetness of the peaches, ½ cup of any peach liquor you like such as peach schnapps or peach vodka, and a liter of ginger ale or sprite. Mix it all together in a pitcher and keep chilled. Pour into wine glasses at will!
For all you non-fruity cocktail drinkers out there who want just a little sweetness, try a greyhound on a hot summer day. This is an extremely simple drink of vodka and grapefruit juice served in a tom collins sized glass. Pick a good quality vodka since you’ll be able to taste it in this two ingredient cocktail. The tartness of the grapefruit juice is a nice wake-me-up in the middle of a hot, sluggish summer day. Start with an ounce or two of high quality vodka over ice, and top off with grapefruit juice. Enjoy!
Another classic cocktail, the Whiskey Sour has been around since the late 19th century. Although there are many regional variations, the classic whiskey sour is made from three parts whiskey or bourbon whiskey, 2 parts lemon juice, and one part gomme syrup.
Gomme syrup is like simple syrup but it has a little gum arabic in it to keep the sugar solution smooth. Some people add a dash of egg white to this drink before mixing to contribute to the smoothness of this cocktail. Either way, the result is a rich, sweet after dinner treat on a hot summer evening.