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.
Tequila and cardamom is an unexpected combination, but it works beautifully with the help of lime and grapefruit juice.
Get the recipe for The Soul Train »
Tequila, agave nectar, and cantaloupe purée get shaken up in this summery cocktail from Houston’s
The Pastry War. Get the recipe for Bala de Canon »
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. Get the recipe for Evening Shade »
This boozy gin cocktail uses up an abundance of mint, cucumber, and blackberries—it’s summer in a highball.
Get the recipe for Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet »
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. Get the recipe for Watermelon-Basil Cocktail »
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.
Get the recipe for Suffering Fools »
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.
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
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.
Get the recipe for Gallagher Smash »
This tequila and cantaloupe cocktail from Edinburgh’s
The Lucky Liquor Co. is refreshing and fruity, making it the perfect summer drink. Get the recipe for Calavera Catrina »
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. Get the recipe for The Malibu »
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.”
Get the recipe for If You Like Piña Colada »
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.
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.
Get the recipe for Quick Like a Bunny »
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. Get the recipe for Health Kick »
Peas might seem out of place in a drink, but their vegetal sweetness is perfect for this basil-gin cocktail.
Get the recipe for The Poddington Pea
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.
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.
Get the recipe for Blueberry Jam and Prosecco Cocktail »
This nonalcoholic sparkler is decidedly sophisticated: fennel’s light, anise flavor is tempered by sweetly autumnal apple juice.
This lightly floral cognac drink is sweetened with honey.
This version of a Spanish sangria is ripe with summer fruit; its light, crisp flavors complement seafood and poultry.
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.
Get the recipe for The Saint »
This classic cocktail couldn’t be simpler—it’s simply even parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
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.
Like an adult version of Hawaiian Punch, this cocktail is a balance of sweet liqueurs, fruit juices, and red wine.
Get the recipe for South Shore Sangria »
Aperol and prosecco add an Italian touch to this sweet and spicy combination of mango and muddled jalapeño.
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.
Rimmed with Pop Rocks-like carbonated crystals, this citrusy refresher is a specialty of the Berlin bar Lebensstern.
In this refreshing cocktail, tequila is mixed with sweet honey, tart grapefruit juice, and bitter Cocchi Americano Rosa.
Canned frozen limeade intensifies the citrus flavor of this slushy Mexican libation.
Cinnamon adds warm spice to this frosty treat made with puréed pineapple.
Get the recipe for Pineapple Express »
Agricole rum, made from fresh sugarcane, adds rich flavor to a fruity frozen drink.
This fruity frozen daiquiri becomes dessert-like with the addition of heavy cream.
A poolside classic, this blended coconut cooler is heightened with a splash of aromatic bitters.
This refresher combines pineapple and mango juices with coconut and spiced rums.
Get the recipe for Riki Tiki »
Happy hour tastes like paradise with this bracing cocktail of cucumber, tequila, fresh lime juice, and a touch of bitter Aperol.
This neon-hued curaçao punch features vodka, pineapple juice, and sour mix.
Get the recipe for Blue Hawaii »
Invented circa 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, this sweet drink has become a beachside classic on beaches worldwide.
This twist on a mojito combines pineapple- and coconut-infused rum with fresh pineapple and mint for a fruity, vacation-inspired drink.
Get the recipe for Pineapple Mojito »
Found all over Italy, the spritz is a classically Venetian cocktail of prosecco mixed with a bitter aperitif and soda water.
Rosemary brings an herbal note to this whiskey drink.
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.
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.
Lemon Lavender Fizz »
White whiskey takes the place of bourbon in this summery interpretation of a julep.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Moonshine 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.
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.
Get the recipe for Chartreuse Smash »
Before the Civil War made foreign products hard to come by in the South, French cognac was the preferred liquor in a mint julep.
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.
Get the recipe for The Zombie cocktail »
Deep and sweet, this cocktail is an ideal vehicle for summer’s juicy red plums.
Get the recipe for Plum-Basil Gin Fizz »