30 Essential Summer Cocktail Recipes

The definitive guide to drinking your way through the heat

On a hot day, there are few better ways to cool off than with a perfect summer cocktail. There are the old standbys, like a classic frozen margarita and mint julep, but we’ve also got plenty of recipes if you want a cocktail that’s just a little different. For instance, nothing can beat a watermelon and basil combination when it comes to summery flavors, and if you’re a rosé fan, try this bright pink drink. And this piña colada definitely pairs best with the beach. Whatever (and wherever) you like to drink, we’ve got the perfect summer cocktail recipe for you.

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. Get the recipe for Watermelon-Basil Cocktail »

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. Get the recipe for Suffering Fools »

Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

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. Get the recipe for Gallagher Smash »

Calavera Catrina

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 »

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. Get the recipe for The Malibu »

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.” Get the recipe for If You Like Piña Colada »

Bala de Canon

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 »

Leaf and Spear

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.

Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet

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 »

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. Get the recipe for Evening Shade »

The Soul Train

This cocktail sees fragrant cardamom syrup stirred into tequila and citrus for complex east-meets-west-meets-east-meets-west sipper that seems as appropriate for summer as it does for winter. Get the recipe for The Soul Train »

Strawberry-Lillet Crush

Muddled strawberries and mint star in a refreshing, lightly sweet cocktail that packs a punch. Get the recipe for Strawberry-Lillet Crush »

Cuban-Style Daiquiri

Order a daiquiri in Havana today and you’re likely to have a cocktail somewhere between what we know as the Hemingway (with the addition of grapefruit and maraschino liqueur) and a classic. In this version, we use a sparing measure of Luxardo Maraschino—a huge upgrade from what you’ll find in Cuba proper—lending a hint of its complex, bittersweet cherry flavor. Get the recipe for Cuban-Style Daiquiri »

Frozen Margarita

In 1971 Mariano Martinez figured out how to make frozen margaritas from a soft serve ice cream machine—the rest is history. We recommend using Herradura Silver Tequila for this refreshing variation. Get the recipe for Frozen Margarita »
For the perfect mint julep cocktail, smash your ice—but not your mint—then dress it up with a float of good dark rum. The rum is a nod to colonial days, when juleps were often rum-based, and with its barrel-aged character and slight sweetness, a great match for bourbon. Get the recipe for Mint Julep with Rum Float »

Classic Margarita

This recipe proves that simple can be delicious. We recommend using Herradura Silver Tequila. Get the recipe for Classic Margarita »

Chile-Pomegranate Paloma

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

Carolina Blues Blueberry Cocktail

A long, cooling cocktail, the Carolina Blues follows the classic Tom Collins blueprint, swapping simple syrup for shrub, soda for prosecco, and lemon juice for lime. The blueberry shrub in this recipe is actually North Carolina chef Vivian Howard’s blueberry barbecue sauce, which she uses to glaze chicken, but its makeup is similar enough to a shrub that it can pull double duty. Get the recipe for Carolina Blues Blueberry Cocktail »

Smoked Lemon-Lime-Ade

This lemonade is rendered smoky-sweet with the juice of grilled lemons and limes and toasted simple syrup, which has a mild caramel flavor that does a lot to complement the grilled fruit. Get the recipe for Smoked Lemon-Lime-Ade »

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. Get the recipe for Blueberry Jam and Prosecco Cocktail »

Moto Guzzi

This spritz cocktail swaps in a red wine aperitif in place of Aperol, for a cocktail with more pronounced red berry notes, and still plenty of effervescence. Get the recipe for Moto Guzzi »

After the Snow Cocktail

With a base of pisco, a Chilean spirit distilled from the country’s native grapes, the After the Snow, a fresh sour cocktail, can be found at the Awasi Lodge in Patagonia. Laced with celery and grapes, which are muddled and hidden under a drift of crushed ice, the drink has a brisk, vegetal note as fresh and delicate as spring’s arrival. Get the recipe for After the Snow Cocktail »

The Verbena and Mint

Bar manager Jon di Pinto of Street ADL in Adelaide, South Australia, combines lemon verbena and gin for a crisp, refreshing summer cocktail. Get the recipe for The Verbena and Mint »
Shaker Vodka Cranberry

Smoky Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Meant for long afternoons overlooking lakes, porches, and thick novels, gin and tonics are the balm of summer. Add a slice of salt-sprinkled grilled grapefruit, and cut the tonic with soda, and the highball grows not only more aromatically complex, but even more refreshing. Get the recipe for Smoky Grapefruit Gin and Tonic »

Seared Apricot Ginger Cooler

Unlike other stone fruit, apricots stay quite resilient when ripe and stand up to a quick sear on the grill with aplomb. Once the flesh warms through and its juices bake a bit, the apricot takes on deeper flavors that pair nicely with a spicy bourbon or rye and an equally spicy ginger beer. Swap out apricots for peaches or nectarines as the summer gets on toward the dog days. Get the recipe for Seared Apricot Ginger Cooler »

Grilled Pineapple Margarita

Grilled Pineapple Margarita

Friends And Neighbors

This herbal, anise-capped riff on a negroni comes from Eric Foster of Florida’s Cask and Larder. In typical SAVEUR fashion, this cocktail is great for enjoying with a good meal, friends, and family. Get the recipe for Friends And Neighbors »
Gin Campari Sour