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7 Awesome Cocktail Recipes to Mix Up This Summer

Friends toast with some summer cocktails
Cabeca de Marmore/Shutterstock

Summer season is cocktail season. Here are some of the best cocktail recipes to get you started.

There is nothing like lounging in the sun, drink in your hand, not a care in the world. But, you should be drinking the right drink. If you’re going to live your best life, you should be drinking the best drinks. A nice cold cocktail is a perfect companion for your summertime fun.

While the avant-garde end of cocktails can get complicated, all these classics are easy to make at home. Unless otherwise noted, each recipe is for a single drink so scale up as necessary.

General Cocktail Tips

Before diving in, let’s go over a few things.

The quality of your cocktails is (up to a point) directly in proportion to the quality of your ingredients. You can make a margarita with cheap tequila, but your head will not thank you the next day. On the other hand, you absolutely shouldn’t make a margarita with a good sipping mezcal—you’re wasting it! For most cocktails, you’ll get the best result with a decent premium liquor—the kind of thing you see decent bars making cocktails with.

While you can make cocktails with any gear, a proper shaker makes things easier. Similarly, a jigger for measuring pours goes a long way towards keeping your cocktails consistent. A set like this has pretty much everything you need for the cocktails on this list, though you will also need a blender if you want to make frozen cocktails.

And, of course, while alcohol is legal and fun almost everywhere, it is a drug that’s regularly abused. Drink responsibly. Cocktails tend to be pretty potent (and their sweetness often masks how strong they are) so be extra careful not to have one too many.

Classic Daiquiri

The classic daiquiri is one of my all-time favorite drinks. It’s one of the simplest cocktails possible—just rum, sugar syrup, and lime juice—but owe how it works with the sour limes offset by the sweet sugar and rum.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz white rum
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz simple sugar syrup
  • Lime

Directions

Pour the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with standard ice cubes. Shake well and strain through a bar sieve into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Channel your inner-Hemingway and sip away.

Frozen Daiquiri

While the frozen daiquiri might be a staple of lousy theme bars, a well made one is still a delicious way to cool down on a hot day. You can either leave them purely lime flavored or add strawberries for a fruitier option.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz white rum
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz simple sugar syrup
  • 0.5 oz triple sec
  • 0.75 cup of crushed ice
  • 1 cup of strawberries (optional)

Directions

If you’re making a strawberry daiquiri, first put the strawberries in a blender and blend into a puree. Strain the puree with a sieve to remove most of the seeds. Set aside for later and clean for later.

Add the rum, lime juice, simple syrup, triple sec, crushed ice and, if you’re using it, strawberry puree, to a blender. Blend until you’ve got a slushy-like consistency. Pour into a glass and drink with a straw.

Margarita

Mexico has given the world a lot of amazing things. The two most dear to me? Delicious cuisine and tequila. I’ll be having tacos for lunch, but for now, let’s look at the classicist tequila cocktail of them all: the margarita.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 1 oz triple sec or Cointreau
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 tsp of salt

Directions

Run the lime wedge around the edge of your cocktail glass then roll it in salt that you’ve spread on a saucer—this gives your glass that classic margarita salt rim. Add the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice to a shaker with ice cubes. Shake well and strain through a bar sieve into the glass. Garnish with the wedge of lime.

Frozen Margarita

If a regular margarita isn’t hitting the spot, you can turn the temperature another notch cooler with a frozen margarita. It’s much the same drink but served like a slushy.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 1 oz triple sec or Cointreau
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.75 cup of crushed ice
  • 1 lime wedge (optional)
  • 1 tsp of salt (optional)

Directions

Rimming a glass with salt is optional for a frozen margarita since you’re most likely to drink it through a straw but, if you want to stay traditional, run the lime wedge around the edge of your cocktail glass and roll it in salt to coat. Add the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and crushed ice to a blender. Blend until you’ve got that slushy-like consistency you’re looking for. Serve, and enjoy.

Sangria

Pitcher of sangria with fruit on a table
Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

Sangria is a Spanish classic for a good reason. This sweet, fruity punch is best served in the shade with cheese and charcuterie for the full experience, but it goes down a treat any time. Be warned: this recipe is for a bowl of punch. It calls for an entire bottle of wine, so don’t plan on drinking the whole thing yourself if you have anything to do today (or tomorrow).

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of fruity red Spanish wine. Think something like a Rioja or Tempranillo
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 large apple. Note, you can replace the apple with seasonal fruit like pears or melons
  • 1 small lemon or lime
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp of organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup brandy. Rum can also be used

Directions

Chop all the fruit into small chunks leaving the rinds on. Put in a large pitcher with sugar and muddle or crush with a wooden spoon for about a minute. Add red wine, brandy, and orange juice. Mix well for about 30 seconds. Taste, and add more orange juice, brandy, or sugar as necessary. Add ice to chill. Once cold, serve with a ladle. Alternatively, if you’re in a rush, serve over ice cubes in a glass.

Cuba Libre

Tasty cocktails can take time to make, so it’s worth having something quick and delicious in your bag of tricks. Cuba Libre fits the bill perfectly. Not just a rum and Coke, this is a celebration of Cuban revolutionary spirit—and long summer days.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz spiced rum
  • 3 oz Cola
  • 1 lime

Directions

Add ice cubes to a tall glass. Cut two wedges from the lime and squeeze into the glass coating the ice with lime juice. Add the rum then the cola. Stir softly to mix. Viva Cuba Libre!

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol spritz seemed to take over the world last summer. While the frenzy has faded a little, it’s still a classic summer drink, and there’s no reason not to make it a big part of your summer drinking plans.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Aperol
  • 2 oz prosecco
  • Dash of soda
  • Orange

Directions

Fill a wine glass with ice cubes and add the prosecco and Aperol. Top off with the dash of soda and garnish with a slice of orange. Now you’ve made your very own Aperol spritz!


Cocktails are some of the tastiest drinks around. These summer classics are easy to enjoy on a hot day—or hiding inside from the rain.

Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like the New York Times and on a variety of other websites, including Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »

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