There’s nothing quite as simultaneously relaxing and reviving as a well-made cocktail chilled to perfection over finely crushed ice. From mint juleps to a frosty gin-based watermelon drink, these 15 drinks are some of our favorites to enjoy on a hot summer day.
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This vodka-and–ginger beer libation is traditionally served in a copper mug.
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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.
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Punch Romaine, a rum-spiked shaved-ice palate cleanser served to first class passengers during the fateful last dinner aboard the Titanic on April 14th, 1912, was based on a recipe from famed French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier, who championed alcoholic shaved ices during the early twentieth century. The original recipe, essentially a granita, is updated here as a drinkable, citrusy cocktail poured over an iceberg of crushed ice.
This version of the classic three-ingredient cocktail—which combines three parts bourbon to one part of a simple syrup bracingly infused with fresh spearmint—is sanctioned by the Kentucky Derby itself as their official mint julep recipe.
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A bright mix of watermelon, gin, Aperol, lemon juice, and a splash of club soda, this drink from Stella Rosa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica is well-balanced, effervescent, and not too sweet.
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This Moscow Mule variation is made with gin and mint.
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Inspired by a recipe developed by mixologist Lynn House of the Chicago restaurant Blackbird, this is an ideal cocktail to show off the fruity side of Cognac. Peach preserves meld beautifully with the spirit’s soft sweetness, while mint adds a bright finish.
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Cynar’s vegetal bitterness, derived primarily from artichokes, pairs nicely with mint and grapefruit soda in this refreshing julep variation.
Pomegranate juice gives this rum-laced prosecco drink a sweetness that belies its potency.
In addition to using caraway and dill—the most traditional flavors for aquavit—in Sweden, home cooks make the spirit with an infinite variety of spices, herbs, and other flavorful botanicals.
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Shiso leaves muddled with spicy Thai red chile and slices of cooling cucumber make for a refreshing and festive cocktail.
The clean, summery aroma of basil completely transforms the classic julep, traditionally made with mint. The drink is also traditionally made with bourbon—here, we replaced that with Jameson Irish whiskey, whose subtle citrus notes intermingle beautifully with the sweet herbs.
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This true tin-cup mint julep, from Toronto gastropub The Black Hoof, has a serious spice-bazaar kick.
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This richly flavored pomegranate margarita is just as good sipped on a cold day in front of a roaring fire as it is on a balmy afternoon spent on a tropical beach. To deepen the pomegranate flavor, add a little pomegranate concentrate; for a lighter drink, leave it out.
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Most Kentuckians insist on serving this drink in sterling silver julep cups, and always with well-crushed ice.
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