The Best Summer Cocktails
SoCal Fruit Cart Margarita
Recipe: SoCal Fruit Cart Margarita
It wouldn’t be a summer drink roundup without a killer margarita recipe. This new twist on the classic, inspired by ensalada de fruta con chile, Mexico's spicy fruit salad, is sure to heat up the party. Rich reposado tequila blunts bright, intense fruity flavors, from papaya-pineapple nectar and mango liqueur.
Recipe: Caribbean Bushwacker
Craving a non-fruity cocktail for your summer drink repertoire? The bushwacker, which made its way from the Caribbean to the coasts of Florida and Alabama, is basically a boozy milkshake. After one sip, it will be your new go-to summer drink. But take it slow with this potent brew, lest you may become "bushwhacked."
Recipe: Yuzu Mule
Tired of the same old Moscow Mule? Change your libations up this summer. This Yuzu Mule recipe calls for pineapple gum syrup, rum, and yuzu (an intensely citrusy juice), in addition to the requisite spicy ginger ale. It will have you believing in ginger beer cocktails again.
The Elephant’s Fury
Minty Lime Frozen Mojito
Recipe: Minty Lime Frozen Mojito
This frosty lime mojito, made with Key lime-flavored rum and bright limeade concentrate, is the refreshing answer to sweltering summer days–and nights.
Recipe: Orange Crush
This citrusy cocktail requires just three ingredients (orange juice, orange-flavored vodka, and Triple Sec) and is a quick and easy choice when you're in the mood for a fruity summer sipper.
Bubbly Black Cherry Lemonade
Recipe: Banana Daiquiri
Homemade banana simple syrup sets this cocktail apart from store-bought mixes. Make the syrup up to one week ahead of your party so you can mix up drinks during your fete with ease.
Recipe: Snowcone Cocktail
Embrace summer snowcone nostalgia with this grown-up slushy treat. Vanilla vodka and Grand Marnier perk up frozen strawberries, pineapple juice, and lemon juice. No fancy equipment here; this spoonable sweet is made in your blender.
Thai Cucumber Collins
Recipe: Mango F’rosé
Wine slushies are always welcome at summer soirees. This tropical twist features mango sorbet, elderflower liqueur, and your favorite blush pine rosé. Garnish with mango slices for edible art.
Hawaii can lay claim to this brandy-and-rum Tiki cocktail, but the Bay Area's Trader Vic brought this oversized libation to the lower 48. Smaller, single-serve versions of the concotion, which also includes orange and lemon juices and orangeflower water, are available, but we prefer picking up two straws and sharing with a friend or sweetheart.
Blended Blue Hawaiian
Recipe: Blended Blue Hawaiian
This fruity, electric blue drink may only be acceptable to drink in the summer by a body of water, so pour up while you can.
Light Dragoon's Punch
Recipe: Light Dragoon’s Punch
Refreshing, fruity, and delicately sweet, this spiked iced tea hails from historic Charleston where Chef Sean Brock unearthed the brandy-based brew from an 18th century book.
Recipe: 151 Swizzle
As Tiki cocktails go, this one is on the simpler side—it has just six ingredients, including lime juice, anise-flavored liqueur, and botanical bitters—so do the recipe justice by using higher quality rum than you might for a big-batch punch.
Cachaça, Campari, Lime, and Grapefruit Cocktail
Brazilian craft spirit cachaça is quickly gaining a dedicated following for its grassy, herbaceous flavor. In this sparkling cocktail, it's the perfect companion to bright fresh lime juice, fruity Camapri, and fizzy grapefruit soda.
Recipe: Mai Tai
It wouldn’t be fair to leave this Tiki staple off any list of the best summer cocktails. Just like the original Tiki movement of the 1960s, a Mai Tai delivers a much-needed moment of escape, whether you're beachside or sipping from your couch.