7 Cocktails Perfect for Summer

Grapefruit Jasmine Aperiti

By Leigh Kunkel | Updated May 13, 2023

Over the past few months (or weeks, depending on where you live), we’ve finally been able to start putting away our coats and sweaters, trading them in for t-shirts and shorts.

The same goes for drinks: the heavy, brown, boozy drinks we crave in the winter begin to give way to lighter, brighter cocktails that can be sipped on a porch or at the beach.

Still in the mood for whiskey?

Old Fashioned Cuba Libre

If you’re not quite ready to give up your Old Fashioneds yet, regardless of the temperature outside, try substituting aged rum for your favorite whiskey in an Old Fashioned Cuba Libré, which is a refreshing spin on two classics at once. The addition of Coca-Cola gives the drink some zip and an extra kick of caffeine.

Old Fashioned Cuba Libre

Old Fashioned Cuba Libre
The Old Fashioned Cuba Libre is the result of a tawdry little affair between a classic Cuba Libre and a much younger mid-century Old Fashioned. Like all good affairs, this one has some nice muddling, a little rum, and a touch of Mexican Coke thrown in for good times. If you don’t have any Mexican Coke handy, regular Coke will work just fine. Curious about the history of the Cuba Libre? Read Why the Cuba Libre Hates Being Called a Rum and Coke.
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Not all whiskey drinks are heavy; start with a Whiskey Smash, where the whiskey is blended with lemon and mint for an unexpectedly light and crisp cocktail that deserves to be in your warm-weather repertoire.

Whiskey Smash

Whiskey Smash Cocktail
The whiskey smash is a simple drink that is tailor-made for warm summer nights. What makes the smash such a great summer drink is how the combination of ice-cold lemon and mint chill out the whiskey. Smashes get their names from the way the ice smashes up the mint in the cocktail shaker. This is one of those great classic cocktails that deserves a comeback, and In case you’re curious smashes used to be a big deal, according to cocktail historian David Wondrich, “From its first appearance in the mid 1840s, until after the Civil War, the Smash was just about the most popular thing going.” And if it’s up to us it will be again.
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Moving on to summery spirits

Blood Orange Aperol Collins
A Blood Orange Aperol Collins is a light, refreshing take on a classic Tom Collins.

With its vivid reddish-orange hue and citrusy flavor, Aperol is the perfect complement to long summer days. Try it out in a tart Blood Orange Aperol Collins, or if you’re in the mood for something strong and stirred, an Aperol Negroni might be just what you need.

Aperol Negroni

Aperol Negroni Recipe
An Aperol Negroni is a light, refreshing take on a classic negroni that uses Aperol, instead of Campari, to add bright summer flavors and a luscious orange color. What makes the Aperol Negroni such a nice variation on a traditional negroni is how the bright flavors from the Aperol work with the dry vermouth to create a light, refreshing negroni, compared to the traditional combination of Campari and sweet vermouth that use a heavy hand to wake up your taste buds.
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When it’s too hot to think about doing anything as strenuous as muddling or shaking, a Gin Rickey is the perfect solution: tart and bubbly, with a little kick from the gin, you’ll be drinking them way faster than the ice can melt.

Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey
There aren't many drinks as easy to make or as refreshing to drink on a hot summer day than the Gin Rickey. This classic Washington DC drink is named after Col. Joe Rickey. The Colonel is one of those great drinkers from the 19th century who seemed to have done everything and been everywhere, including spending time lobbying Congress and drinking a lot in a famous Washington DC bar called Shoemakers.
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Think the best way to battle heat is with heat? These sweet-fiery Strawberry Habanero Margarita will be right up your alley. The fruity spice from the peppers combines beautifully with the crisp tequila and juicy, in-season strawberries for a fun-yet-familiar cocktail that you’ll want to sip all afternoon.

Strawberry Habanero Margarita

Strawberry Habanero Margarita
The strawberry habanero margarita is a sweet-spicy take on a traditional margarita made with strawberries, habaneros, and agave nectar. This margarita recipe utilizes agave rather than simple syrup in order to highlight the fresh, clean flavors of the tequila. The muddled strawberries add some additional sweetness, and habañeros, which have a naturally fruity flavor in addition to their heat, complement the berries perfectly. Be cautious when adding the peppers to your drink—a little goes a long way!Want to learn more read The Mysterious History of the Margarita.
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If you’re looking to try something a little off the beaten path, you can’t go wrong with our Grapefruit Jamine Aperitif with a base of light, refreshing Lillet Rouge and gin. This cocktail gets its unexpected complexity from the addition of jasmine liqueur and grapefruit bitters. We love it as an aperitif, but this drink is really perfect for any time of the day.

Grapefruit Jasmine Aperitif

Grapefruit Jasmine Aperitif
A Grapefruit Jasmine Aperitif is a light, refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for a summertime aperitif. Lillet Rouge is a natural partner for grapefruit, and the bitters help to bring out similar citrus notes in the Lillet, while the gin and jasmine lend a light floral layer. While this drink is lovely as a stirred cocktail, you can also omit the gin and top it with sparkling wine for a bright, less boozy version.
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With more daylight hours and better weather, it’s only natural to want to enjoy yourself more. Mixing up a cocktail, whatever the occasion, is a great way to start.

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