18 Refreshing Cocktails Perfect for Peak Summertime
Aside from great guests (10 or fewer this summer, folks) and lots of festive food, top-notch drinks are easily the most important part of any entertaining endeavor. But bartending—even in your own backyard—can be intimidating business. Which brings us to these super simple drink recipes.
If you're just starting out, remember that the backbone of a good bar starts with six basic spirits: the clear and brown foundational bottles. For clear spirits, always have a tequila, gin, and vodka on hand. For darker spirits, consider stocking your bar cart with scotch, bourbon, and rum. No need to use super premium bottles for cocktails, but always keep quality top of mind. And whatever you do, stay away from any sugary pre-packaged mixers at the grocery store.
Whether you’re grilling with your family, lounging lakeside, or just trying to cool off with a cocktail, you’ll want to keep a tray or two of these delicious drinks within reach. If entertaining, we recommend pouring them all into individual glasses ahead of time (versus big batch or buffet-style) to minimize the need to excessively touch shared serving utensils.
From the classic crowd-pleasing white negroni punch to a bourbon and blood orange blast and sparkling sangria, these summery sips are almost as wow-worthy as the hostess (that's you!).
Blood Orange and Kombucha Mule
Ginger kombucha and ginger beer go hand in hand—and your gut will be happy. Blood orange juice adds gorgeous color to the mix, and fresh slices will make this drink a quick favorite.
Get the recipe: Kombucha-Blood Orange Mule
Pear and Rosemary Sangria
If you want to serve something festive but also refreshing, this recipe for pear and rosemary sangria is a must. The best part? You can make it up to two days in advance, which is perfect for party planning.
Get the recipe: Pear and Rosemary Sangria
Grapefruit Kombucha Margarita
A standard kombucha quickly gets transformed into a delectable margarita in this easy recipe. We especially love it with grapefruit juice for its tartness, but feel free to mix and match citruses, too.
Get the recipe: Grapefruit Kombucha Margarita
White Negroni Punch
I’m dreaming of a white… negroni. No seriously, this cocktail is so good you’ll want to make it all year round—and you definitely can. It’s refreshing and elegant, but don’t be fooled. It will knock your socks off!
Get the recipe: White Negroni Punch
4th of July Sangria
What’s more refreshing than white wine sangria? A fruity, frozen version that’s patriotic to boot. Each layer features a different fruity flavor, as well as a splash of fresh lime juice and a drizzle of agave nectar. Pour the slushie carefully to ensure the layers don’t blend, and then serve to eager guests.
Get the recipe: Fourth of July Sangria
Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast
Fancy yourself some bourbon? Create a classic bourbon cocktail, with the tartness of fresh blood orange juice. Added bonus: this may be the easiest cocktail to make ever.
Get the recipe: Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast
Frosé (Frozen Rosé)
How do you cool down on a sultry summer night? Prefer a chilly glass of rosé? Or a fruity frozen drink? Here’s some good news, cocktail fans: if you have a blender and an ice cube tray, you no longer have to choose.
Get the recipe: Frosé
Rosé Kombucha Sangria
Sangria gets bubbly with the addition of kombucha. Better yet, this batch of sangria cocktails is perfect for when you can’t decide if you want white or red sangria. It’s bright, refreshing, and not to mention, pretty in pink.
Get the recipe: Kombucha-Rosé Raspberry Sangria
Grapefruit and Blood Orange Spritz With Campari Ice Cubes
After freezing, pop the Campari cubes out of their tray and store in a resealable bag in the freezer. They make a cool treat in hot weather, or simply dropped into a glass of sparkling water. As they begin to melt, they flavor the water—and you get a nice little zing at the end.
Get the recipe: Grapefruit and Blood Orange Spritz With Campari Ice Cubes
Sparkling Pomegranate Kombucha Punch
Far from your average party punch, this kombucha cocktail is filled with tropical flavors thanks to pineapple juice, orange juice, and rum. Pomegranate juice enhances the flavor, and the arils provide texture and a striking presentation.
Get the recipe: Pomegranate Kombucha Punch
Meet the original daytime drink. Sherry cobblers have been a staple of genteel sippers since the mid 1880s—and for good reason: they’re refreshing, grown-up, and low in alcohol. (Yes, that is permission to have another.) For a festive finish, pour over crushed ice and garnish with blueberries and fresh mint.
Get the recipe: Sherry Cobbler
Gingery Peach Cooler
This thirst-quenching drink couldn’t be any easier—just combine ginger ale, peach nectar, and sliced peaches (finally, they’re in season!) in a pitcher and serve over ice. While it’s delicious as-is, you can transform it into a cocktail by adding 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of gin to each drink before serving.
Get the recipe: Gingery Peach Cooler
Spiced Apple Kombucha Cocktail
A cozy cocktail, with benefits. Cinnamon sticks and apple slices make this drink look mighty pretty, but the real treat is in the spiced rum. Mixed with apple cider and apple kombucha, this is the ultimate apple-lover's dream.
Get the recipe: Spiced Apple Kombucha Cocktail
Cantaloupes can be used for far more than fruit salad, as illustrated by this fun summertime sipper. Because the melon is the star of this drink, be sure to pick the best one in the store. Avoid bruises and cracks, and don’t be afraid to start sniffing in the produce aisle—tender, juicy cantaloupes should smell sweet and almost floral.
Get the recipe: Cantaloupe Cooler
Combining bitter, dark red Campari with dry white wine and a splash of club soda, this pretty pink spritz is an Italian classic—and a delightfully bright and bubbly way to sip an afternoon away. Serve in wine glasses filled with oversized ice cubes for an eye-catching cocktail your guests will love.
Get the recipe: Bicicletta
Gin, Grapefruit, and Thyme Cocktail
Anyone can achieve the gorgeous garnish on these glasses: simply rub the rims of each glass with a grapefruit wedge and sprinkle with a sugar-thyme mixture. For a tangier drink, use white grapefruits, which are slightly less sweet than pink or red (the darkest of the three most common types).
Get the recipe: Gin, Grapefruit, and Thyme Cocktail
Chill out with this welcome departure from syrupy-sweet daiquiris, sangrias, frozen drinks, and punches. Tropical, light, and fizzy, this citrus-y spritzer will keep guests cool and the conversation bubbly. Don’t be shy with the free-floating lime slices, and for an added splash of color, serve with bright bendy straws and eye-catching stirrers.
Get the recipe: Lime Spritzers
Berry Vodka Spritzers
Short on time? This crowd-pleasing drink only takes five minutes to mix up, and the result is a beautiful thirst-quencher you’ll make again and again. The addition of club soda lends a little sparkle, while freshly-squeezed lime juice keeps the sweetness at bay. Serve alongside extra blueberries and raspberries.
Get the recipe: Berry Vodka Spritzers