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
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 »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. Get the recipe for Suffering Fools »Matt Taylor-Gross
Everything's Coming Up Rosé
Everything's Coming Up Rosé
This bright fuchsia aperitivo mixes tannic hibiscus tea, sweet Lillet Rosé, and dry rosé with a hit of prosecco. Get the recipe for Everything's Coming Up Rosé »Matt Taylor-Gross
Gallagher Smash
Gallagher Smash Cocktail
For this summer refresher, make a syrup with ripe watermelon and sugar, then combines it with sherry, gin, and muddled lemon. Get the recipe for Gallagher Smash »Matt Taylor-Gross
Calavera Catrina
Calavera Catrina
This tequila and cantaloupe cocktail is refreshing and fruity, making it the perfect summer drink. Get the recipe for Calavera Catrina »Matt Taylor-Gross
The Malibu
The Malibu
Inspired by the Pacific Coast Highway, this cocktail is infused with grapefruit and pisco, then softened with floral Lillet Blanc. Get the recipe for The Malibu »Farideh Sadeghin
If You Like Piña Colada
If you Like Pina Colada Cocktail
Coconut, lime, and pineapple tie this refreshing cocktail together. Get the recipe for If You Like Piña Colada »Matt Taylor-Gross
Bala de Canon
Bala de Canon
Tequila, agave nectar, and cantaloupe purée get shaken up in this summery cocktail. Get the recipe for Bala de Canon »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. Get the recipe for Leaf and Spear »Joseph De Leo
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. Get the recipe for Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet »Matt Taylor-Gross
Evening Shade
Evening Shade
Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your cocktails whenever you can can. This summery drink combines peach purée, cucumber, and whiskey. Get the recipe for Evening Shade »Matt Taylor-Gross
The Soul Train
Cardamom Simple Syrup
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
Strawberry-Lillet Crush
Strawberry-Lillet Crush
Muddled strawberries and mint star in a refreshing, lightly sweet cocktail that packs a punch. Use Plymouth gin, which has a balanced, restrained flavor profile that won't overwhelm the other flavors in the drink, but you can substitute any gin you prefer. Get the recipe for Strawberry-Lillet Crush »Farideh Sadeghin
Cuban-Style Daiquiri
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
Frozen Margarita
Frozen Margarita
In 1971 Mariano Martinez figured out how to make frozen margaritas from a soft serve ice cream machine—the rest is history. Get the recipe for Frozen Margarita »Matt Taylor-Gross
Mint Julep
Mint Julep
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
Classic Margarita
Classic Margarita
This recipe proves that simple can be delicious. We recommend using Herradura Silver Tequila. Get the recipe for Classic Margarita »Matt Taylor-Gross
Chile-Pomegranate Paloma
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
Vivian Howard Blueberry Sauce Cocktail
Vivian Howard Blueberry Sauce 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. Get the recipe for Vivian Howard Blueberry Sauce Cocktail »Matt Taylor-Gross
Smoked Lemon-Lime-Ade
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 »Eric Medsker
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. Get the recipe for Blueberry Jam and Prosecco Cocktail »Matt Taylor-Gross
Moto Guzzi
Moto Guzzi Spritz
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
After the Snow Cocktail
patagonia 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 »William Hereford
The Verbena and Mint
The Verbena and Mint Cocktail
Combine lemon verbena and gin for a crisp, refreshing summer cocktail. Get the recipe for The Verbena and Mint »Matt Taylor-Gross
Shaker Vodka Cranberry
Broken Shaker Cocktail
An elevated twist on a classic vodka-cranberry using housemade cranberry vinegar. Get the recipe for Shaker Vodka Cranberry »Matt Taylor-Gross
Smoky Grapefruit Gin and Tonic
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 »Eric Medsker
Seared Apricot Ginger Cooler
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. Seared Apricot Ginger CoolerEric Medsker
Grilled Pineapple Margarita
Grilled Pineapple Margarita
The Margarita is essential to America's canon of summertime drinks, and adding a grilled element makes it that much more American. Burnished pineapple adds a rich layer of fruitiness while mezcal lends a veil of smoke and spice. For even more smoke and spice, add a salt rim laced with chile powder and coriander. Get the recipe for Grilled Pineapple Margarita »Eric Medsker
Friends And Neighbors
Friends And Neighbors Cocktail
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
Gin Campari Sour
Gin Campari Sour
Sometimes we like cocktails to have a bit of an aggressive bite; other times, we're looking to round them out a bit. Gin, Campari, and lemon are three ingredients that pair beautifully, but all have their sharp edges. Adding an egg white helps mellow and integrate these flavors without muting them, while also contributing a silky texture and an opacity that's quite elegant in a vividly colored drink. Get the recipe for Gin Campari Sour »Matt Taylor-Gross