For everything there is a season, and let’s face it: This time of year, you’re not exactly craving a hot toddy to curl up with by the fire. Instead, you want something fruity, crisp or bubbly — a drink that will mentally transport you to a beach chair faster than you can say aah. Here are five simple cocktails that will keep you feeling cool all summer long.
2 ounces white rum or tequila
¼ ounce simple syrup
Bar spoonful rose water
Muddle strawberries in a shaker. Combine the first four ingredients and shake with ice until cold. Strain twice to remove strawberries, and pour into a tall glass. Top with soda and garnish with a fresh strawberry.
“The farmers market is always great inspiration for a great summer cocktail,” says Atlanta-based mixologist Tiffanie Barriere, aka the Drinking Coach. “Incorporating fruits like lemon, grapefruit, berries or melon gives a fresh, invigorating flavor and a beautiful color.”
1 ounce tequila
Juice of 3 limes
1 ounce crème de violette
1 ounce simple syrup
In a mixing glass, combine tequila, fresh lime juice, violette and simple syrup. Tear six mint leaves, add to glass and shake vigorously over ice. Strain into a martini glass.
“A mash-up of a mojito, a southside and margarita, this drink is refreshing but sophisticated,” says Terence Lewis, beverage manager of Barbuzzo and other restaurants in Philadelphia. “Plus you can’t beat the hazy, light purple color.”
2 ounces watermelon vodka
1 ounce watermelon puree
¾ ounce lime juice
Shake the first three ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and pour into a tall glass. Add more ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a watermelon wedge.
“The watermelon cooler is a riff on a Moscow mule, combing crispy watermelon with spicy ginger beer,” says Gabriele Guidoni, sommelier and mixologist at Bond 45 in New York City. “It’s a perfect summer drink for any time of day.”
2 ounces gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce Aperol
¼ ounce simple syrup
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients and shake over ice until cold. Strain into a cocktail glass.
“For the gin drinker, this dry sipper is perfect for a summer evening,” says Chris Resnick, lead bartender at Minnow Bar in Miami Beach.
1 ¾ ounces gin
½ ounce lemon verbena syrup
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
2 dashes celery bitters
3 ounces brut-style Prosecco
Sprig of lemon verbena
Make the syrup: Drop a loosely packed half cup of lemon verbena leaves (discard the stems) into a small saucepan; gently muddle with a wooden spoon. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for a minute or two, or until the sugar dissolves and the lemon verbena is fragrant. Allow to cool. (You can store in a jar in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.)
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine gin, lemon verbena syrup, lemon juice and celery bitters. Shake well and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with Prosecco and garnish with a sprig of lemon verbena.
“Second to a beach, nothing says summer to me more than a garden. I love fresh herbs, and all those fast-moving Prosecco bubbles help to accentuate the beautiful aromatics,” says Amy Zavatto, author of Prosecco Made Me Do It: 60 Seriously Sparkling Cocktails. “Quadruple the recipe and pour into a pitcher for an easy backyard party drink.”