By Cora L. Diekman and Mackenzie Dunn

Published on May 12, 2018

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Photography by MEGHAN MCNEER

There is arguably nothing better than laying out in the summer, basking in the sun and soaking in the warmer weather. All with a refreshing cocktail in hand, of course. And while everyone has their go-to drink of choice (rosé anyone?), summer is the best time to introduce yourself to a few more adventurous alcoholic bevs. From sophisticated spritzers to whimsical wine coolers and unique takes on your traditional favorites, we’ve rounded up a variety of lip-smacking drinks for your summertime enjoyment. No drink umbrella (necessarily) required.

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Photography by Grey Goose Vodka

Fair Winds Fizz

Combine 5oz Orgeat, .25oz Fasshionola, 1oz Lime and 1.5oz Grey Goose vodka in shaker tin. Add pellet ice and give a quick swizzle. Strain into a Collins glass and top with Perrier. Garnish with a brandied cherry wrapped in an orange peel and speared on a pick. (That’s right, go fancy!)

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Photography by MEGHAN MCNEER

Kentucky Woman

This bourbon drink, courtesy the Bar Truck, comes to life with the addition of a shrub. Shrubs—also known as “drinking vinegars”—may not have the most appetizing name, but they are, in fact, a fantastically refreshing summer drink, especially when put over ice with rye. The purple from the blackberries in this drink take it above and beyond in both taste and Instagram-ability.

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Photography by MEGHAN MCNEER

 

Pink Beer Amaro

 

Take your bottled beer into that summer sweet spot of high-low drinking. All you need to do is take a long drink of beer and add in a shot of amaro: Then, voila: Pink beer with a dynamic flavor profile.

We recommends Miller High Life (most likely because it’s the champagne of beers), but anything in a clear bottle will do—so you can put that pink beer on display.

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Courtesy of Cookie and Kate

 

Cucumber Elderflower Gimlet

 

Sip on this bright, refreshing gimlet that’s made from cucumber-y Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice and cucumber. Unsure what exact a gimlet is? They’re similar to martini’s but use lime juice instead of vermouth. This one has a particularly cool kick.

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Photography by THECOOKIEROOKIE.COM

Grapefruit Salty Dog

This pink beauty is actually a simple 2-ingredient mixer. Combine vodka and grapefruit juice, and serve over lots of ice in glasses heavily rimmed in sea salt. Garnish with grapefruit slices for added sweetness and instant cocktail glam.

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photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Honey Deuce

This cocktail is equal parts refreshing and easy to make. Simply add 1.25 ounces of Grey Goose Vodka to a chilled glass, add lemonade, .5 ounces of raspberry liqueur, and garnish with a honeydew melon ball skewer. Best enjoyed during a summer sunset.

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Photography by HEATHER CHRISTO

Raspberry Mojitos

LOTS of fresh flavors make this drink ideal for summer, including raspberry puree. Slightly more highbrow than the average mojito, a fun splash of rum keeps this cocktail grounded and perfect for poolside sipping.

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Photography courtesy of Deep Eddy Vodka

Blueberry Ginger Mule

Looking for a new mule recipe? This fruity cocktail uses Blueberry cordial (recipe below!) to spice up your copper mug favorite. Laurie Harvey, the Beverage Director of Cherry Pie Hospitality, suggests adding 1 ounce of Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, another ounce of Deep Eddy Original Vodka, Goya Ginger Beer, and 2 ounces of Blueberry cordial. Don’t forget the crushed ice!

Blueberry Cordial:
1 lb. frozen blueberries
Zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup white vinegar
Directions: Combine all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and blueberries burst. Cool and strain.

 

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Photography by CRAZYFORCRUST.COM

Maui Island Breeze

This 3-ingredient sipper is a must for poolside lounging. Mix together a large batch of vodka, pineapple, and cranberry juice and sip all afternoon in the summer sun.

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Photography by THESHABBYCREEKCOTTAGE.COM

Shark Bite

Another three-ingredient mixer that tastes like Miami Beach in a glass. Combine coconut rum, pineapple juice, and blue curacao for that lovely ocean blue hue (swap rum for lemon-lime soda and coconut extract if you prefer yours alcohol-free).

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Photography by MYDIARYOFUS.COM

Plum and Thyme Prosecco Smash

When a summer soiree calls for something more sophisticated than your standby daiquiri recipe, consider this posh mix of Prosecco, simple syrup, plum, and thyme. It’s slightly fruity, herbalicious, and simple to prep in large batches – think summertime birthday or anniversary parties for this special brew.

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Photography by HOMEMADEFOODJUNKIE.COM

Malibu Sunset Cocktail

For some of us, it’s simply not summer until the coconut rum is flowing. And no worries if you prefer your cocktails alcohol-free, simply swap the rum for coconut water instead. The careful pouring of three simple ingredients create that psychedelic sunset effect, guaranteeing an instant summertime vibe no matter where you sip.

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Photography by RECIPERUNNER.COM

Bourbon Peach Slush

Take a shortcut from frozen peaches to create an instant frozen treat in the blender that bursts with fruit flavor. Ginger ale and lime juice add plenty of refreshing zest, so consider this cocktail for your next red hot summer bash.

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Photography by GARNISHWITHLEMON.COM

Blood Orange Margaritas

(for a Crowd)

No need to double up here—this recipe makes a large batch of delicious margaritas that serve 10-12 for your next poolside gathering. Get your juicer ready: Four cups of fresh blood orange juice give this ruby red cocktail its delicious, zesty flavor.

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Photography by ACOZYKITCHEN.COM

Chamomile Honey and Whiskey Cocktail

This soothing cocktail is best sipped on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon, or during a warm al fresco brunch alongside scones. Because not every warm weather libation calls for rum or requires poolside sipping, this mixer is perfect for slowing down and enjoying the season.

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Photography by REALHOUSEMOMS.COM

Peaches and Cream Martini

A quick four ingredients come together in the blender to create this creamy summertime treat. Peach puree and cream liquor ensure a thick, velvety texture—perfect for the beach or as a boozy after-dinner dessert-like drink.

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Photography by RECIPEGIRL.COM

Beach House Cosmos

True to its name, this large batch of cosmo goodness deserves a beachside venue. Mix everything in a pitcher, no blender or juicing required, so cocktail time is ready in an instant

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Photography by FEASTINGATHOME.COM

Blackberry Bramble

Think Mother’s Day, brunch, or afternoon with the girls for this sophisticated cocktail. Muddled blackberries, gin, and ginger brew give this unique concoction a deliciously highbrow feel.

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Photography by WICKEDSPATULA.COM

Spicy Matcha Margaritas

Get on board with the latest foodie craze matcha with these zesty margaritas, flavored with matcha powder, green tea, lime juice, and jalapeño—easy to make in large batches, and perfect for cooling down a hot backyard barbecue party.

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Photography by WAITINGONMARTHA.COM

Spiced Orange and Rosemary Bourbon

Bourbon lovers will adore this simple mixer with the refreshing summer flavors of orange and rosemary. With a sophisticated feel that’s also fun, consider this cocktail for graduation, birthday, and anniversary celebrations.

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Photography by HEATHER CHRISTO

Sweet and Sour Cherry Salty Dog

Whipping this delicious mixer up in the blender creates a festive foam topper that’s irresistible. Summertime flavors like cherries and grapefruit juice make this cocktail a perfect stand in for sangria when wine is scarce.

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Photography by FITFOODIEFINDS.COM

Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas

Jalapeno-infused tequila takes standard grapefruit margaritas to the next (spicy) level. Sip poolside on the hottest of summer days—and keep them coming.

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Photography by SPICYSOUTHERNKITCHEN.COM

Pineapple Upside Down Cocktail

Amaretto may not be your radar as a summer cocktail ingredient, but when combined with pineapple, lime juice, and grenadine, it helps to create this delicious tropical sipper.

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Photography by THEKITCHN.COM

Strawberry Gin Smash

It’s name it somewhat deceptive, as no strawberries are smashed in the making of this fruity cocktail. Rather, sugar is muddled or smashed together with limes to add sweetness and zest to this strawberry sipper that’s pure summer in a glass.

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Photography by SIMPLY-DELICIOUS-FOOD.COM

Passionfruit and Ginger Cocktail

Chances are you’ve never mixed cocktails with fresh passionfruit before, and this delicious drink is your excuse to start. Combined with fresh ginger, lemon, and mint, it’s brimming with unique flavors (and it’s a treat for the eyes, too).

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Photography by THEVINTAGEMIXER.COM

Watermelon Mojitos (For a Crowd)

This recipe serves six—perfect for lounging poolside with your besties. Fresh watermelon, mint, and lime combine with rum for the perfect summertime treat that leaves just enough leftover watermelon for snacking, too.

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Photography by MINIMALISTBAKER.COM

Cucumber Cooler Cocktail (Alcohol Optional)

Keep calories in check this summer with a light and refreshing mixer that feels like a spa day in a glass. For an alcohol-free version, skip the gin and enjoy this refreshing treat while you’re on the go – finally, a cocktail that travels!

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Photography by THEGLITTERGUIDE.COM

Chai Tea Cocktail

Summer cocktails don’t require fruit to be cool and refreshing. This simple three-ingredient cocktail is like your favorite iced coffee treat plus whiskey—sippable any time of day this summer season.

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Photography by AVERIECOOKS.COM

Tequila Sunrise

It’s a summer classic for good reason, and if you don’t already have this recipe in your repertoire, now’s the time. Orange juice and grenadine create that beachy sunset effect, and tequila (obvs) gives it kick.

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Photography by HOSTTHETOAST.COM

Melon Whiskey Ginger

Surprise summer party guests with a truly unique libation thanks in part to the flavor of melon liqueur. Serve these at any soiree needing a cocktail with a touch of sophistication.

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Photography by NUTMEGNANNY.COM

Mango Mojitos

Mango lovers will love this sweet take on a classic mojito, perfect for brunch or sipping by the pool.

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Photography by WITHSALTANDWIT.COM

Skinny Coconut Margaritas

Creamy drinks are summertime favs, but tend to be laden with sugar and calories. This skinny version of a coconut margarita packs all the flavor with a lighter caloric punch.

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Photography by BAKINGBEAUTY.NET

Blue Hawaiian

Another summertime classic, this shockingly blue cocktail (thanks to a glug of blue curacao) is full of coconut and pineapple flavor. This drink begs to be sipped on the beach (sand between your toes required).

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Photography by BAKINGBEAUTY.NET

Blueberry Mojito

So yes, you can pretty much flavor a mojito with anything you like. Blueberries are antioxidant-packed, full of color, and temptingly sweet, so this version is definitely a winner.

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Photography by WHITNEY BOND

Peach Basil Moscow Mule

This is a summertime twist on a traditional Moscow Mule, thanks to the seasonal deliciousness of basil and peach. Top with ginger beer, and you have an instant warm weather treat that will make those cute Moscow Mule mugs appropriate year round.

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Photography by MOTIVABEAUCOUP.COM

Dark and Stormy

Hailing from Bermuda, this potent combination of dark rum and ginger beer is as striking as its unique ombre coloring. Reserve these for late evening gatherings when driving home is definitely out of the question.

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Photography by REALHOUSEMOMS.COM

Skinny Sparkling Mint Pineapple Lemonade (Alcohol Free)

The name pretty much says it all: lots of delicious summertime flavor that’s low in calories, thanks to Crystal Light and sparkling water. Feel free to add in a little vodka, rum, or your favorite spirit for added kick.

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Photography by JENNIFER FARLEY

Pomegranate Gin and Tonic

Think of this as a fruitier, more summery version of the classic, with lots of pomegranate flavor. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and additional fruit (like oranges) for added sweetness.

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Photography by ANIGHTOWLBLOG.COM

Banana Rum Punch

Hands down, the perfect party punch, period—simple to make, delicious banana rum flavor, and a fun ombre effect thanks to Torani Cherry Syrup. Beautiful enough for weddings, and simple enough for backyard barbecue sipping.

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Photography by DAMNDELICIOUS.NET

Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco

Another simple mixer where the name says it all, its light and bubbly flavor will have you topping up again and again. Thanks to the Prosecco, this cocktail is ideal for toasting celebrations—think showers, birthdays, or even weddings.

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Photography by BEARDANDBONNET.COM

Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule

Another summertime take on a traditional Mule, this version has a delicious south-of-the-border feel. If you’ve never added cilantro to cocktails before, you’re in for a satisfying treat. Drink these poolside with lots of pineapple garnish for snacking.

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Photography by THEKITCHENWHISPERER.NET

Jamaican Me Crazy Rum Punch

The ingredient list is longer than some, but makes enough to fill a punch bowl. Serve this festive punch at your next summertime party where sweet and fruity is the order of the day.

This story was originally published April 8, 2016. It has been updated with new information.

Get more summer entertaining ideas:

How to Throw the Perfect Beach Cookout
Make Fancy Jell-O Shots Your New Summer Party Go-To
4 No-Cook Meals Perfect for Summer