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36 Easy Summer Cocktails That Look Super Fancy

May 03, 2022 by Anna-Bet Stemmet

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If effortless entertaining is your thing, this handy list of easy summer cocktails will be right up your alley. After all, summer parties should be fun for the host as well! Choose one or two of these easy summer cocktails to make at home to level up the drinks line-up at your next get-together and get ready to be the toast of the town! 

1. Highball Cocktail

Bourbon and ginger ale in a highball glass with ice and lime

If you want to ease yourself into making summer cocktails, the much-loved Highball is a great place to start. Tall, bubbly, and all about the spirit, this easy-peasy drink features whisky, ginger ale, and lemon as a garnish. It goes down a treat on sweltering days, and pairs well with poolside foods like BBQ chicken. 

You might also like: The Fascinating History of the Highball

2. Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri

One of the most fun and easy summer cocktails out there, the Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri is a summer classic if ever there was one. This pretty drink is bright and cheerful, and looks as fabulous as it tastes, combining sweet and tart components to absolute perfection. 

TIP: The trick to making a fantastic Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri is to use both fresh and frozen strawberries. This combination gives it its perfect texture. If you would use only fresh strawberries, it would be too runny; and a full batch of frozen berries is too gritty. The combination of the two is just perfect. 

Discover more: 11 Perfectly Frosty Frozen Cocktails for Any Season

3. Gin Bramble Cocktail

Front view of refreshing Gin Bramble Cocktails

The Gin Bramble is as classy as it comes. It starts off tart and rather dry, showing off the herbaceous nature of the gin, and then leans into the bright and zesty tones of lemon on the mid-palate. Then, on the finish, it all comes together in a burst of raspberry and spice. So lovely! 

Read next: The Best Gin Cocktails Ever Invented

4. Watermelon Tequila Cocktail

Watermelon tequila cocktails in tumblers

Okay, be honest. What is more summery than the smell and taste of juicy watermelon? Growing up, that first wedge of perfectly pink watermelon of the season always meant that the holidays weren’t too far off. Now, as an adult, you can recreate that joyous feeling by serving up a Watermelon Tequila cocktail. It takes less than 15 minutes to whip up. 

5. Hurricane Cocktail

Hurricane Cocktail on a wooden board garnished with orange wedge and maraschino cherry

The Hurricane recipe combines light and dark rum, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and grenadine. This powerful drink is known as the unofficial cocktail of Mardi Gras and comes to the party with some serious New Orleans-inspired swagger. It’s flavorful and fun and full of zest (just like any good party should be). 

6. Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

Top Shot of A Refreshing Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

Easy summer mixed drinks can be simple to achieve, yet also look completely amazing, and the Tequila Sunrise never disappoints in this department. Combining orange juice, grenadine, and tequila, it layers beautifully in the glass, looking just like a sunrise (hence the name, of course). It has a bright, citrusy taste – the sweetness of grenadine combines with the tang of the orange juice for a serve that’s fresh and fruity. 

7. Lime Margarita Cocktail

Front View of Delicious Lime Margaritas in ice bowl

A well-made Lime Margarita is a thing of beauty. You can serve it shaken or frozen on those really hot summer days. It’s so cool and delicious! The ingredients list is deceptively simple (tequila, lime juice, simple syrup), but when combined it really hits the spot in the most refreshing way. Feeling vacation vibes yet anyone? 

Tequila time: Why We Love National Margarita Day

8. Piña Colada Cocktail

Frozen Piña Colada in a Hurricane glass

A Piña Colada is a delicious tropical treat that tastes like an island breeze, infused with the heady scent of pineapple and coconut. When blended, the texture is like a smoothie. Over ice, it’s rich, thick, and lovely from start to finish.  

9. Mint Julep Cocktail

Refreshing Mint Julep Cocktails served in copper cups

The classy Mint Julep serves all sorts of Great Gatsby energy, and we’re here for it! Combining mint, sugar, bourbon, and water, it is marvelously minty, cooling, perfectly sweet, and tailor-made for sipping languidly on hot days. 

More about whiskey: What’s the Difference Between Rye Whiskey and Bourbon

10. Bellini Cocktail

Top View of Bellini Cocktail with fresh fruit on a wooden table

A Bellini is sweet and fruity with a beautifully delicate flavor that makes it the perfect welcome drink or summer cocktail. In fact, it’s a very popular choice for warm-season wedding arrival drinks because it’s nice and light, and pairs well with appetizers. 

11. Mimosa Cocktail

Orange Juice Mimosas in flutes

One of the best cocktails for beginners, the Mimosa is well-known and loved on the brunch circuit. Combining Champagne (or sparkling wine) and orange juice, it’s fruity, zesty, and bubbly—a celebration in a glass that’s oh-so-easy! 

Planning a brunch? 12 Best Brunch Cocktails for Easy Entertaining

12. Moscow Mule Cocktail

Virgin Moscow Mule

Looking for easy summer cocktails with vodka? Here you go! The Moscow Mule walks the fine and delicious line between spicy, sweet, and strong. The fizziness of ginger beer, the clear qualities of vodka, and the coldness of the signature copper mug in which it is served always makes for a memorable drink. 

Perfect combinations: 13 Delicious Mule Cocktails to Make at Home

13. Classic Mojito Cocktail

Refreshing Mojito Cocktail with mint and lime

The classic Mojito is pretty as a picture and refreshing to boot. Fizzy and minty with a zesty dash of lime, it pairs well with summery dishes like prawns, shrimp, and fish tacos.  

14. Strawberry Basil Gin Cocktail

A vibrant Strawberry Basil Cocktail garnished with fresh basil leaves and strawberries.

This Strawberry Basil Gin cocktail is summery to the core, and a crowd-pleaser of note. Strawberry and basil are a classic combination that often gets overlooked, so explore the lovely herby and sweet notes at the base of this cocktail with a backdrop of sunshine. It’s the taste equivalent of walking through a beautiful garden in summer – floral, fresh and fragrant. 

15. Negroni

Close-up of a seriously sippable Irish Negroni cocktail in a cut-glass rocks glass, held in a beautifully manicured hand with pink nails against a dark blue backdrop

No list of easy summer cocktail recipes would be complete without the gorgeous Negroni. It is a perfect aperitif to serve before any meal, and it pairs beautifully with a wide range of foods, from savory appetizers to sweet desserts. Its rich and robust flavor profile makes it a perfect match for bold and flavorful dishes, such as roasted meats or spicy charcuterie boards.

16. Strawberry Margarita

Strawberry Margaritas on ice

Calling all Margarita fans! If you’re keen to try a fruity Marg, then get mixing and try our Strawberry Margarita. It delivers all the tangy sour and sweet flavors you’d expect from the classic, it’s super easy to make, and perfect for big cocktail batches when the BFFs come around. Serve it in pitchers for parties or sundowners all summer long.

Margarita love: 10 Ways to Make a Margarita

17. Sex on the Beach Cocktail

Sex on the Beach Cocktail

A prettily layered cocktail that always hits the spot, a Sex on the Beach cocktail has near-universal appeal. The first half of the drink contains intensely fruity peach schnapps which are combined with orange and pineapple juice to push the flavor profile into a tropical space. The final layer contains SKYY Vodka that is shaken with tart cranberry juice and a bit of raspberry liqueur – simply delicious.  

18. Dark ‘n Stormy

Dark ‘n Stormy Cocktail

The Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail recipe has stood strong for 100+ years but still hits all the right flavor notes today. Super simple to pour, yet gorgeously zesty and refreshing to the core, it’s a great rum-based seaside sipper that’s tailor-made for hot summer days.

19. Aperol Spritz

Festive Aperol Spritz cocktails

The Aperol Spritz is having a major moment, so if you’d like to go with an easy summer cocktail that is seriously on trend, this is the one. Since most of the ingredients are sparkly, we recommend you pour these one at a time. It comes together quickly and is very simple to serve for a crowd.

20. Vodka Tonic

Vodka and tonic water on the rocks

One of the best summer vodka cocktails for folks who like to keep things super easy, the Vodka Tonic is a simple, sophisticated drink that can be kept low-key for casual get-togethers or dressed up with a variety of fun garnishes for dinner parties. While gin is the more obvious pairing for tonic water, vodka is excellent for those looking for a crisp and smooth bittersweet drink. 

21. Ranch Water Cocktail

Ranch Water Cocktail

If you’ve ever spent time on a languid veranda in West Texas at the height of a simmering summer, you’ve likely experienced the joy of a Ranch Water cocktail recipe first-hand. This iconic summertime sipper is a Texan staple that will cool you down like nothing else.

22. Mai Tai

Refreshing boozy Mai Tai cocktail on the rocks with cherry and pineapple garnish

Of all the brilliant Tiki drinks out there, the classic Mai Tai cocktail is probably one of the most famous. The traditional Mai Tai recipe uses five ingredients: two types of rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and simple syrup. This rum-based Tiki drink is on the IBA’s official list of cocktails—and for good reason. The classic Mai Tai cocktail is ‘out of this world.’ Like literally. And who wouldn’t want a cocktail like that?

23. Watermelon Martini

Watermelon Martini

The best summer cocktails for those really hot days should ideally offer some welcome hydration (and a bit of a kick). This is when we turn to watermelon drinks. Full of fruity flavor and deliciously refreshing, the Watermelon Martini is the perfect thirst quencher to savor by the pool while sunbathing or to serve pitcher-style at a garden party. 

Read next11 Watermelon Cocktail Recipes to Impress a Crowd

24. Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey cocktail ingredients

The Gin Rickey is as fresh as fresh can be. Capturing some of the same notes as a gin and tonic, it features gin, club soda, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It’s the ideal gin cocktail recipe to have up your sleeve if you have guests who prefer to keep their sugar intake to a minimum, but still want to enjoy a delightful cocktail.

25. Americano

An Americano cocktail with orange garnish

The Americano is a gorgeous bitter-sweet blend of orange and spice flavors of Campari complemented by the fruity and spicy character of Cinzano Vermouth Rosso, charged with effervescent club soda to make a languid long drink that’s a favorite at cafes throughout Italy. Summer spritz cocktails do not come classier than this.  

26. Sea Breeze Cocktail

A Sea Breeze cocktail garnished with grapefruit

The best summertime cocktails tend to pair well with outdoorsy foods, and the Sea Breeze is a great pairing for finger-licking dishes like BBQ ribs and chicken wings. Made with an easy blend of vodka, cranberry, and grapefruit juice, it’s a tasty and nostalgic throwback filled with zingy fruit flavors.

27. Paloma

Close front view of a trio of refreshing pink paloma cocktails with grapefruit garnish

The pretty Paloma is a zesty classic that always goes down a treat. To make a batch, combine Espolón Tequila Blanco, fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice, and agave nectar in a small pitcher and stir. When you serve it to your guests, add 3 oz of the pre-made Paloma to a glass over ice, and top it off with club soda. A salted rim is a nice touch and fresh grapefruit rounds it off perfectly as a garnish. 

28. Limoncello Spritz

Limoncello Lemon Drop

Paired with Prosecco and club soda for a beautifully bubbly finish, the light, and lovely Limoncello Spritz is the flirty cousin of the time-honored Aperol Spritz. We love that adding a few sparkles to this sunny liqueur creates a tall, cool summer spritz cocktail that can be sipped at leisure. 

More lemony goodness11 Lively Limoncello Cocktail Recipes for all Lemon Lovers 

29. Lime Daiquiri

Classic Lime Daiquiri in coupe glass garnished with lime

The classic Lime Daiquiri uses only three simple ingredients, and the recipe is a delicate balance between the sweet and the sour. It’s a fresh and straightforward lime cocktail that is very similar to a Classic Margarita in that you’ll be using fresh lime juice and sugar syrup, but instead of tequila, you’ll be using light rum. 

30. Frozen Mango Margarita

Top view of Mango Daiquiri cocktails

If you’re in need of a fruity cocktail that will take you on a virtual vacation, meet our Mango Daiquiri. It dishes up all the tropical vibes, looks fancy served in cocktail glasses, and is an easy summer drink to make at a moment’s notice! If you’re impressing a crowd, bulk up this recipe and serve it in a pitcher. For a showstopper cocktail, wipe the rim of the cocktail glasses with a little lime and dip the edges in granulated sugar and maybe even a little toasted desiccated coconut if you’re feeling extra.

31. Greyhound Cocktail

Greyhound Cocktail Recipe

Named after the famous bus service, the Greyhound cocktail is a mix of grapefruit juice, gin or vodka, and ice. It may sound simple but after a 15-hour bus trip across the country over bumpy roads, it’s like sipping on nectar from the gods. For years, the bus terminal’s pitstop restaurants served them by the busload (ta-da-dish!), and they were always received with open arms by thirsty travelers.   

32. Dirty Shirley

A pretty pair of red Dirty Shirley cocktails garnished with fresh cherries, posed on a white surface

A classic Shirley Temple mocktail is a great option if you want to offer your guests a non-alcoholic option, and then it’s as simple as adding 2 oz of SKYY Vodka to the glass to turn it into a nostalgic Dirty Shirley. When you have quite a few people over it’s nice to have an easily adaptive drink like this on the menu that can be scaled to suit various tastes.  

More mocktails: 8 Easy Mocktails for Simple and Clean Sipping  

33. Caipirinha

Refreshing Caipirinhas with muddled lime

The zesty Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail and is made with real limes, sugar, and cachaça (a rum distilled from fermented sugar cane juice), it’s a refreshing drink that, when combined with ice, will shake off the heat and take you back to the beaches of Brazil. It’s a cocktail with as much zest for life as the people of this vibrant country.  

You might also like: 11 Sublime Lime Cocktails you Gotta Try

34. Blue Hawaiian Cocktail

Blue Hawaiian Cocktail

Cocktail umbrellas? Check! Colorful garlands and leis? Check! We’re dishing up all the islandstyle tiki vibes with the Blue Hawaiian that is packed with tropical flavor. So, line up the Hawaiian playlist, invite your friends, and get ready to hula honey!

35. Rum Runner

Rum Runner Cocktail Recipe

Summertime is made for al fresco get-togethers, and rum-based drinks like the Rum Runner make a great accompaniment for everything from grilled vegetable skewers to gourmet hotdogs. A terrific tropical drink that’s on the stronger side, this effortless cocktail is sweet and fruity, filled with fruit liqueurs, juices, and a sneaky bit of kick.

36. Michelada

Mexican Beer Michelada Cocktail with salt rim and lime

Summery brunch cocktails with a twist? Try a Michelada. This tasty beer cocktail is like a Bloody Mary, but the vodka is swapped out with a light Mexican beer, and the tomato juice is replaced with Worcestershire sauce. It’s the perfect light and zesty sip for a midday celebration.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The core cocktail categories include:   Stirred cocktails, such as the Manhattan, the Negroni, and the Rob Roy.   Sours, such as a Whisky Sour and Tequila Sour.   Highballs, such as the Vodka Soda, Gin & Tonic, and Scotch & Soda, as well as the Dark 'n Stormy and Paloma.  Flips, such as Eggnog and the Hot Pumpkin Pie cocktail.   Fizzes, such as a Gin Fizz and Tom Collins cocktail.   Swizzles, such as a Queens Park Swizzle and Cotter Swizzle.  Smashes, such as Whiskey Smash or a Gin Basil Smash cocktail.   

Gin cocktails are very popular in summer, mainly because gin has a lovely herbaceous flavor profile that pairs well with refreshing juices and tonics. However, the key to a good summer cocktail is to find one that leaves you feeling cool and refreshed, with lovely seasonal flavors. Try a few on this list to see which one hits the spot! 

When you are just starting out on your cocktail-making journey, recipes with loads of ingredients can be a little overwhelming. Start out with two-ingredient cocktails such as the Mimosa or try three-ingredient cocktails to build up your confidence step by step.  

Some say the Mimosa is the easiest alcoholic drink to make, as it simply combines just 2 ingredients – orange juice and sparkling wine. However, the list of easy summer cocktails on this page is a great place to find more easy drinks to make. Most cocktails are fairly easy to assemble once you've done it once or twice. It also helps to have a few basic tools, such as a cocktail shaker, strainer, muddler, and bar spoon. 

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