50 Refreshing Summer Cocktails

Cocktail recipes to beat the heat all summer long

Come summertime, we trade in our dark, heavy drinks for light spirits, fresh fruit, and crushed ice. Warm-weather cocktails help us beat the heat, and add a welcome dose of color after many months of grey, thanks to fresh fruit—local and seasonal alike—and spirits that only feel appropriate when paired with special glassware and ample garnishes (we're looking at you, blue curaçao).

Just as some people prefer pool noodles and others would rather paddle around on an inflatable dolphin, there's a summer drink for everyone. If you're feeling whimsical: blend up a slushy margarita—made with frozen limeade and therefore perfect for a crowd—or a Pineapple Express, which pairs crushed pineapple with the kick of cinnamon syrup. If you're looking for something a little more classic (or looking to blend in on the croquet court), bring out the bottle of gin and turn it into a lavender fizz. Or lighten up a traditional julep with white rum.

Whichever way you stir it, summer is just the time to sip something cold and boozy, and forget about everything else. Just maybe don't jump back into the pool after your third Blue Hawaii.

The Soul Train

The Soul Train

Tequila and cardamom is an unexpected combination, but it works beautifully with the help of lime and grapefruit juice.Matt Taylor-Gross
Bala de Canon

Bala de Canon

Tequila, agave nectar, and cantaloupe purée get shaken up in this summery cocktail from Houston's The Pastry War.Matt Taylor-Gross
Evening Shade

Evening Shade

Heaven Hill Distillery's brand abassador, Lynn House, enjoyed nothing more as a child than picking peaches and other fresh produce on her grandparents' farm in Tennessee. She continues the tradition as an adult, incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into her cocktails whenever she can—hence her nickname, "The Garden Girl." This summery drink combines peach purée, cucumber, and whiskey.Matt Taylor-Gross

Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet

Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet
This boozy gin cocktail uses up an abundance of mint, cucumber, and blackberries—it's summer in a highball.Matt Taylor-Gross
Watermelon-Basil Cocktail

Watermelon-Basil Cocktail

Exceedingly well-balanced, this juicy cocktail from John Karangis of Union Square Events gets its sweetness from yellow watermelon, herbal freshness from Chartreuse and basil, and an astringent kick from tequila. While red watermelon will work in a pinch, you won't get the clarity of color unless you spring for the yellow.Matt Taylor-Gross
Suffering Fools

Suffering Fools

This bourbon and gin drink from wd~50 and Alder mastermind Kevin Denton is inspired by the Suffering Bastard, a classic cocktail developed during in Cairo during WWII.Matt Taylor-Gross
Spritz Cocktails Coming Up Rose Lady Stoneheart

Everything's Coming Up Rosé

Natasha David, head bartender of New York City's Nitecap, grew up in Germany, where everything from wine to apple juice got gespritzt. Her bright fuchsia aperitivo mixes tannic hibiscus tea, sweet Lillet Rosé, and dry rosé with a hit of prosecco.Matt Taylor-Gross
Spritz Pitchers Moto Guzzi Rose All Day Punch House Spritz

Punch House Spritz

Everyone should have a house spritz, whose proportions are known by heart and ingredients are stocked easily, like this one from Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau of PUNCH.Matt Taylor-Gross
Gallagher Smash Cocktail

Gallagher Smash

For this summer refresher, Eric Johnson of Sycamore Den in San Diego makes a syrup with ripe watermelon and sugar, then combines it with sherry, gin, and muddled lemon.Matt Taylor-Gross
Calavera Catrina

Calavera Catrina

This tequila and cantaloupe cocktail from Edinburgh's The Lucky Liquor Co. is refreshing and fruity, making it the perfect summer drink.Matt Taylor-Gross
The Malibu

The Malibu

This refreshing tequila cocktail comes from the team behind Los Angeles' The Walker Inn. Inspired by the Pacific Coast Highway, it's infused with grapefruit and pisco, then softened with floral Lillet Blanc.Farideh Sadeghin
If you Like Pina Colada Cocktail

If You Like Piña Colada

Leo Robitschek of Eleven Madison Park crafted this cocktail in honor of our 21st birthday, inspired by SAVEUR's global influence. "While your average 21-year-old is spending their birthday getting a little too familiar with Jagermeister and Miller High-Life—not that there's anything wrong with that—SAVEUR has already been around the world," he says. "She’s sampled the best, and is hungry for more. Here, a perfect blend of some lesser-seen players: spicy rye, robust and savory-spiced velvet falernum, ancient and unapologetically vegetal green Chartreuse, and Linie aquavit, a spirit that, amazingly enough, has actually sailed around the world, aging in oak sherry casks to the rhythm of the rolling waves. Coconut, lime, and pineapple tie the package together; a somewhat more civilized yet totally delicious way to celebrate one’s twenty-first year."Matt Taylor-Gross

Leaf and Spear

Leaf and Spear, Kale Rum Cocktail
This green cocktail combines kale-infused rum with a housemade green harissa syrup, which adds sugar for balance and a hint of jalapeño for pop.Joseph De Leo

Quick Like a Bunny

Green Juice Gin and Tonic
Playing on the classic gin and tonic, bartender Stuart Jensen of Denver's Mercantile restaurant adds caraway-flavored aquavit and marmalade to this green version.Joseph De Leo

Health Kick

Green Juice and Mezcal Cocktail
In this green cocktail, Los Angeles mixology consultant Matthew Biancaniello of Eat Your Drink (HarperCollins; 2015) doubles up on smoky flavors with both mezcal and grilled asparagus.Joseph de Leo

The Poddington Pea

The Poddington Pea
Peas might seem out of place in a drink, but their vegetal sweetness is perfect for this basil-gin cocktail.Joseph De Leo
Spicy Michelada

Spicy Michelada

For this take on a classic beer cocktail from Taqueria Mi Lindo Apatzingan in Rio Linda, Tajín (a Mexican seasoning blend of dried chiles, lime, and salt) adds both heat and tang.Dylan + Jeni
Napa Sour

Napa Sour

Made with bold, American Cabernet in lieu of the traditional South American brandy, this complex and tantalizing cocktail is Napa Valley's take on the Pisco Sour.Anna Stockwell
Blueberry Jam and Prosecco Cocktail

Blueberry Jam and Prosecco Cocktail

A combination of jam, vodka, and prosecco could be cloyingly sweet, but this refreshing cocktail has enough lemon juice to balance sweet and tart perfectly.Matt Taylor-Gross
Fennel Apple Spritzer

Fennel Apple Spritzer

This nonalcoholic sparkler is decidedly sophisticated: fennel's light, anise flavor is tempered by sweetly autumnal apple juice.Anna Stockwell
Brandy Snapper

Brandy Snapper

This lightly floral cognac drink is sweetened with honey.Michael Kraus
Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

This version of a Spanish sangria is ripe with summer fruit; its light, crisp flavors complement seafood and poultry.Todd Coleman
The Saint White Wine Cocktail

The Saint

This white wine-based cocktail from Brooklyn, New York's Café Moto starts off summery, with the aromas of fresh basil and mint and an effervescent topper of club soda.Farideh Sadeghin

Negroni

Negroni
This classic cocktail couldn't be simpler—it's simply even parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.Ingalls Photography

Negroni Sbagliato

Negroni Sbagliato
This bubbly Negroni variation, whose name means “bungled,” was invented at Bar Basso in Milan in 1968 when a bartender accidentally put sparkling wine into the drink instead of gin. It is an excellent choice for a brunch cocktail.Ingalls Photography
South Shore Sangria

South Shore Sangria

Like an adult version of Hawaiian Punch, this cocktail is a balance of sweet liqueurs, fruit juices, and red wine.Michael Kraus
Mangapeño

Mangapeño

Aperol and prosecco add an Italian touch to this sweet and spicy combination of mango and muddled jalapeño.Laura Sant
Nectar of the Ancient

Nectar of the Ancient

Mastiha is a traditional Greek liqueur flavored with mastic, the resin from a tree that grows on the island of Chios. It adds an herbal, pine-like flavor to this sparkling cocktail from Berlin's Lebensstern.
Lime Pie Cocktail

Lime Pie Cocktail

Rimmed with Pop Rocks-like carbonated crystals, this citrusy refresher is a specialty of the Berlin bar Lebensstern.Michael Kraus
Grapefruit Agua Fresca

Grapefruit Agua Fresca

In this refreshing cocktail, tequila is mixed with sweet honey, tart grapefruit juice, and bitter Cocchi Americano Rosa.Helen Rosner
Frozen Limeade Margarita

Frozen Limeade Margarita

Canned frozen limeade intensifies the citrus flavor of this slushy Mexican libation.Todd Coleman
Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

Cinnamon adds warm spice to this frosty treat made with puréed pineapple.Michael Kraus
Blackberry Blast

Blackberry Blast

Agricole rum, made from fresh sugarcane, adds rich flavor to a fruity frozen drink.Michael Kraus
Beach Towel

Beach Towel

This fruity frozen daiquiri becomes dessert-like with the addition of heavy cream.Michael Kraus
Frozen Piña Colada

Frozen Piña Colada

A poolside classic, this blended coconut cooler is heightened with a splash of aromatic bitters.Todd Coleman
Riki Tiki cocktail

Riki Tiki

This refresher combines pineapple and mango juices with coconut and spiced rums.Michael Kraus
Ho'opono Potion

Ho'opono Potion

Happy hour tastes like paradise with this bracing cocktail of cucumber, tequila, fresh lime juice, and a touch of bitter Aperol.Michael Kraus
Blue Hawaii cocktail

Blue Hawaii

This neon-hued curaçao punch features vodka, pineapple juice, and sour mix.Michael Kraus
Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling

Invented circa 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Singapore's Raffles Hotel, this sweet drink has become a beachside classic on beaches worldwide.Todd Coleman

Pineapple Mojito

Pineapple Mojito
This twist on a mojito combines pineapple- and coconut-infused rum with fresh pineapple and mint for a fruity, vacation-inspired drink.Helen Rosner
Spritz

Spritz

Found all over Italy, the spritz is a classically Venetian cocktail of prosecco mixed with a bitter aperitif and soda water.Todd Coleman
The Libertine

The Libertine

Rosemary brings an herbal note to this whiskey drink.Todd Coleman
Silver Fizz

Silver Fizz

The key to the cocktail's rich texture is the egg white: be sure to use a very fresh, high-quality egg, and to shake it with cracked ice rather than whole cubes to help with the aeration.Todd Coleman
Lemon Lavender Fizz

Lemon Lavender Fizz

The juniper-scented undertones of gin play off nicely against the sweetness of a lavender simple syrup. Stirred with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and topped with club soda, it's a perfect springtime drink.Maxime Iattoni
Strawberry Moonshine Julep

Strawberry Moonshine Julep

White whiskey takes the place of bourbon in this summery interpretation of a julep. Get the recipe for Strawberry Moonshine Julep »Maxime Iattoni
Ginger Julep

Ginger Julep

A hit of ginger liqueur takes the traditional mint julep and turns it squarely on its ear: spicy, sweet, and modern, with a citrus tang from the wedge of lemon, it's a fresh twist on the old classic.maxime iattoni

Chartreuse Smash

Chartreuse Smash
This sweet (but not too sweet) cocktail is a terrific vehicle for Chartreuse; when we tested it, it converted even the most adamant opponents to the herbal, bright-green liqueur.Maxime Iattoni
Antebellum Mint Julep

Antebellum Mint Julep

Before the Civil War made foreign products hard to come by in the South, French cognac was the preferred liquor in a mint julep.Michael Kraus
Zombie

The Zombie cocktail

Donn Beach, the founding father of tiki bars and restaurants, set a limit of two per customer for this potent drink made with three kinds of rum, citrus, and spice.Todd Coleman
Plum-Basil Gin Fizz

Plum-Basil Gin Fizz

Deep and sweet, this cocktail is an ideal vehicle for summer's juicy red plums.Helen Rosner