The Must-Sip List of Summer Cocktails

Food & Drink

It’s good to be summer. Pool parties, road trips, budget-busting movies, awkward tan lines. Plus, the coolest drink menu of all the seasons. Spring charges hard with the Mint Julep. Fall gets pretty fancy with Oktoberfest. Winter makes it festive with Christmas Ale. All fine efforts, but no one’s dethroning the king. Especially with this year’s fresh batch of refreshing summer cocktails. Get prepped with our list of inventive recipes and creative cocktail gifts, then set up shop under the nearest sun umbrella and sip the sweet taste of relaxation.

Whiskey Not So Sour
Whiskey has been known to warm up many a bar denizen on wintry nights. But it’s not exactly a beach drink. Or is it? Consider the Beerberry Whiskey Smash. Pour a little wheat beer with that whiskey and mix it with sugar, mint, lemon and muddled blackberries. It stirs together into a summery whiskey cocktail that’s slightly fruity, a little fizzy and completely delicious.

Beerberry Whiskey Smash
What to use

  • 2 ounces Four Roses bourbon whiskey
  • 2 ounces Ballast Point Brewing Co. Wahoo White
  • 1/4 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • Additional blackberries for garnish, as needed
  • Ice

How to use it all

  1. In a glass, muddle the blackberries, lemon juice, mint leaves and sugar. Add ice and Four Roses, then stir. Top it off with Wahoo White.
  2. To garnish, cut down a wooden skewer and thread it with 4-5 blackberries.

PRO TIP: Our staff science nerd says that ice melts slower when it’s molded into a large round sphere. It also looks infinitely more impressive than those little polygonal cubes from a plastic tray. That’s why we pack two Tovolo ice sphere molds into our whiskey gifts, such as the Personalized Whiskey Crate, which also impresses with laser-etched, heavy-bottom rocks glasses.

Melon Made Macho
The watermelon cocktail is all the rage this summer. A little sweet, perhaps. But when balanced out with a shot of, say, pepper-infused tequila, any man would be proud to clutch it. Case in point: the Watermelon & Tequila Aguas Frias. Just saying “Aguas Frias” makes you feel more relaxed. We’ll pause a second while you try it.

Watermelon & Tequila Aguas Frias
What to use

  • 3/4 cup Sauza tequila
  • 1 bottle Prosecco, chilled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 seedless 15-pound watermelon, cubed
  • 6 limes, sliced
  • 3 mint sprigs
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • Ice
How to use it all

  1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the simple syrup cool in 
a bowl.
  2. Puree the watermelon in a blender in batches until it’s smooth. Strain the puree into a pitcher. If you’re planning ahead, you can refrigerate the watermelon juice overnight. Stir in the simple syrup, tequila and 1/2 cup of water. Then add the lime slices and mint sprigs.
  3. Pour the watermelon agua frias into glasses with ice, leaving 1 inch at the top. Top off the drinks with Prosecco and garnish with mint leaves.

PRO TIP: For a little extra kick, infuse the tequila with jalapeños. Slice up three medium-size peppers, put them in a quart-size jar with a 750 ml bottle of tequila. Put on the lid and shake it up. Then store it in a cabinet between 1 day and a week. The longer you let it sit, the hotter it will be. We prefer a week. Once infused, you can pour it through a strainer to remove the slices and seeds.

Bloody Brewski

What do resourceful Bloody Mary lovers do with a refrigerator full of Clamato and beer, but not an ounce of vodka in sight? They make a Mexican Michelada. It may sound like a curious flavor combination, but when mixed right with ingredients, it’s surprisingly addictive.

Mexican Michelada
What to use

  • 1 32-ounce bottle chilled Clamato
  • 3 12-ounce bottles chilled Dos Equis
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Lime wedges

How to use it all
Combine the Clamato, Dos Equis, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco in a pitcher. Mix salt and chili powder on a small plate. Run the lime wedges around the rims of pint glasses and dip them into the salt and chili mix. Fill the glasses with ice, add Michelada mixture and use lime wedges as garnish.

The Copper Thirst-Stopper

Another trending summer libation is the Moscow Mule. A mule is a mix of a donkey and a horse. A Moscow Mule is a mix of vodka, ginger beer and lime. They both pack a big kick, but only one comes chilled in a stylish copper mug. Any mule-making man will certainly get a kick out of the Moscow Mule Crate.

Moscow Mule
What to use

  • 2 parts Absolut vodka
  • 1 part lime juice
  • Cock N’ Bull Ginger Beer
  • 1 Lime wedges

How to use it all
Fill a chilled highball glass with ice cubes. Add Absolut Vodka and lime juice, top with ginger beer and garnish with lime wedge. It’s that easy.

Rio de California

The taste of Brazil comes north with the California Caipirinha. It’s got the Cachaca, sugar and lime of a classic caipirinha with additional hints of orange, apricot and pear: Essensia Orange Muscat from Quady Winery in Madera, California. A pitcher of this. Some chill beats and a few friends. There are far worse ways to spend a lazy day.

California Caipirinha
What to use

  • 6 limes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 16 ounces Cachaça
  • 4 ounces orange muscat
  • 4 ounces simple syrup
  • Ice

How to use it all
Muddle lime wedges with sugar in a pitcher and stir in the Cachaça, orange muscat and simple syrup. Add ice, stir again and strain into ice-filled rocks glasses.

Whether you need the perfect gift for a cocktail party host or a birthday present you’ll enjoy as much as the guy you give it to, peruse our “Drinking” gifts for men and pick out a winner. Then shake it up with a cool, crisp cocktail, transform the pool into a swim-up bar and toast to the tastiest summer ever.