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Hot days are for cold cocktails. Sometimes an old standby hits the spot—a salt-rimmed margarita, maybe, or a refreshing mint julep sweetened with slow-steeped syrup. Other times, when we want to impress friends and family, we like eliciting oohs and aahs with zanier numbers like the Flor de Jalisco, which swaps in tequila for the rum and adds flor de jamaica for a vivid pink hue. No matter the occasion, we’ve got you covered with these expert-tested (and—we love our jobs—tasted) summer cocktail recipes that’ll have you buzzing all season long.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep Recipe Featuring Bourbon
Photography by Belle Morizio

Who said you should only drink Kentucky’s signature beverage on Derby day? Not us. Get the recipe >

Flor de Jalisco (Hibiscus Tequila Mule)

Hibiscus Cocktail
Photography by Linda Pugliese; Food Styling by Christine Albano; Prop Styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Unabashedly nontraditional—in Mexico, hibiscus is not a conventional cocktail ingredient—this floral beverage tastes best when made with a ginger beer that skews spicy such as Ginger Lab. Get the recipe > 

Little Dragon Cocktail

Little Dragon Cocktail
Photography by Jeslyn Chanchaleune

This margarita riff gets its citrus notes from lime juice and mandarin liqueur yet keeps things subtly savory with a dash of fish sauce. Get the recipe >

El Quijote Sangría

El Quijote Red Sangria
Photography by Eric Medsker

Up your entertaining game with this pitch-perfect sangría from one of America’s most storied Spanish restaurants. Get the recipe >

Rudolph’s Regret

Rudolph's Regret Cocktail
Photography by Linda Xiao; Food Styling by Christine Albano; Prop Styling by Dayna Seman

If you like a Blood and Sand cocktail, you’ll love this Irish rendition from Dublin’s Sidecar bar that calls for Amarena cherries, Aperol, and lemon juice. Get the recipe >

Green Goddess Cocktail

Green Goddess Recipe Sugarcane Cocktail
Photography by Linda Xiao; Food Styling by Christine Albano; Prop Styling by Dayna Seman

Cucumber juice—fresh, briny, floral—is the cocktail ingredient you didn’t know you were missing, as this recipe proves. Get the recipe >

Love Liquor Highball

Rum and Beet Juice Cocktails
Photography by Linda Xiao; Food Styling by Christine Albano; Prop Styling by Dayna Seman

Beet juice, sugarcane, and citrus meld harmoniously in this gingery rum drink. Get the recipe >

Steel Drops

Steel Drops Recipe Sugarcane Cocktail
Photography by Linda Xiao; Food Styling by Christine Albano; Prop Styling by Dayna Seman

The zip of lime juice and tingle of fresh ginger make this Jamaican-inspired cocktail a fantastic preprandial treat. Get the recipe >

Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

Everything's Coming Up Rosé
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

This bright fuchsia aperitivo mixes tannic hibiscus tea, sweet Lillet Rosé, and dry rosé—and tops it all off with a foamy Prosecco float. Get the recipe >

The Malibu

The Malibu
Photography by Farideh Sadeghin

As its name implies, this pisco-based cocktail flavored with grapefruit and Lillet Blanc tastes like a California sunset. Get the recipe > 

Leaf and Spear

Leaf and Spear
Photography by Christopher Testani

The striking forest-green color of this sweet-and-savory cocktail is due to the kale-infused rum. Get the recipe >

Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet

Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

This boozy gin cocktail might be the best way to use up leftover mint and cucumbers. Get the recipe >

Cuban-Style Daiquiri

Daiquiri
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

The secret to our favorite daiquiri recipe is a sparing measure of Luxardo Maraschino, which lends a pleasingly complex, bittersweet cherry flavor. Get the recipe >

Chile-Pomegranate Paloma

Chile-Pomegranate Paloma
photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

While the margarita is better known, the grapefruit-based Paloma is an equally refreshing Mexican classic. Using chile-spiked grenadine as a sweetener—rather than agave nectar or simple syrup—adds smokiness and a touch of heat. Get the recipe >

Carolina Blues Blueberry Cocktail

Vivian Howard Blueberry Sauce Cocktail
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

The Carolina Blues follows the classic Tom Collins blueprint but substitutes simple syrup for shrub, soda for prosecco, and lemon juice for lime. Get the recipe >

Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi Spritz
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

Named after the motorcycle brand, this Aperol spritz riff out of Atlanta substitutes Cappelletti aperitivo, a red-wine-based aperitif, for the standard orange spirit. Get the recipe >

Smoky Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Smoky Grapefruit Gin and Tonic
Photography by Eric Medsker

Gin and tonics are the balm of summer. Add a slice of salt-sprinkled grilled grapefruit, and cut the tonic with soda, and the usual highball becomes doubly refreshing. Get the recipe >

Seared Apricot Ginger Cooler

Seared Apricot Ginger Cooler
Photography by Eric Medsker

Cooked fresh apricots are the fragrant, smoky centerpiece of this gingery whiskey cocktail. Swap out apricots for peaches or nectarines as apricot season wanes. Get the recipe >

Grilled Pineapple Margarita

Grilled Pineapple Margarita
Photography by Eric Medsker

Pairing grilled pineapple with mezcal results in bold, unbridled smokiness in this margarita variation. Get the recipe >

Gin Campari Sour

Gin Campari Sour
Photography by Matt Taylor-Gross

An egg white sands down Campari’s bitter edge here while also adding silkiness and opacity. Get the recipe >

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