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22 Ultra-Refreshing Summer Cocktails (Shaken, Stirred, Frozen)

Bright, fruit-forward, crowd-pleasing, frozen, something you’d drink on a beach vacation—there’s no cut-and-dry definition of a summer cocktail. It’s a vibe, really. Here, I've gathered 22 concoctions you can enjoy pre- or post-sunset, separated into "by the glass," individual or two-person servings that could easily be scaled up; "by the pitcher," for a bigger crowd; and "frozen," because it’s the time for all things frozen.

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22 Ultra-Refreshing Summer Cocktails (Shaken, Stirred, Frozen)
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    Hello Summer Cocktail

    Hello Summer Cocktail

    • Makes 1 Author Notes The weeks surrounding the 4th of July feel to me like the pinnacle of summer, days well spent with friends and restful moments lounging poolside or in a hammock with a book, always with something delicious within reach. Specifically, a cocktail like this one that is as bright and …

    Aperol Spritz

    Aperol Spritz

    • Prep time 1 minute • Serves 1 Author Notes Once enjoyed exclusively in its native Italy, the Aperol spritz has become world-famous over the last couple of decades for its powerfully refreshing qualities, bright color, lower alcohol content, and overall simplicity. If you’re hunting for a poolside pour …

    The Desert Bird Cocktail

    The Desert Bird Cocktail

    • Prep time 5 minutes • Serves 1 Author Notes This recipe is from the Esquire Tavern in San Antonio, home of Texas's longest bar counter (it's over 100-feet long!), with some tweaks. Bacanora, an agave-based liquor, tastes like a milder version of mezcal. If you can find it, I assure you that bottle will …

    Basil Vodka Gimlet Cocktail

    Basil Vodka Gimlet Cocktail

    • Prep time 5 minutes • Serves 2 Author Notes I am for the most part a wine and beer guy, but every now and again I reach for something a bit stiffer. In the cold months, that would be a bourbon, and in the summer, it’s a basil vodka gimlet. When the gimlet was developed, it called for Rose’s lime juice, a …

    Strawberry Rosé Spritzer

    Strawberry Rosé Spritzer

    • Makes one drink, with enough strawberry puree for many Author Notes I've traditionally been a purist when it comes to pink wine, but it occurred to me recently that if someone wanted to enjoy the illusion of drinking more rosé without actually getting tipsy, she could combine it with soda water and …

    Mint Julep

    Mint Julep

    • Prep time 5 minutes • Cook time 10 minutes • Serves 1 Author Notes The classic mint julep recipe is probably most closely associated with the Kentucky Derby—the iconic annual horse race held the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs—but it makes a great spring and summer cocktail no matter the occasion. …

    Pimm's Cup

    Pimm's Cup

    • Serves 1 Author Notes If you’re looking for something a little more wide awake, add two squeezes of lemon. If you lean sweeter, toss your berries in a slick of honey before you muddle them. If it’s booze you’re after, you can replace a measure of your Pimm’s with gin. I don’t, because the point of a …

    Cold Brew Negroni

    Cold Brew Negroni

    • Cook time 5 minutes • Serves 1 Author Notes "Coffee really lends something to this cocktail. Many versions replace an ingredient with coffee, but I think that knocks the drink out of kilter. An equal measure of cold brew adds another dimension without destroying the equilibrium." -- Chloë Callow in …

    El Presidente

    El Presidente

    • Serves 1 Author Notes This Cuban cocktail has roots in Prohibition (when Cuba was the nearest place Americans could get a drink). Lots of interesting flavor layers, sweet but interesting. Use the best-quality ingredients you can. —Erika Kotite 1 1/2 ounces white rum • 3/4 ounce bianco vermouth • 1/2 ounce …

    Blackberry Caipirinha

    Blackberry Caipirinha

    • Prep time 5 minutes • Serves 1 Author Notes This blackberry caipirinha has a bold hue and complex fruity flavor for a cocktail that’s sure to brighten your happy hour. In the drink’s native land of Brazil, infused caipirinhas traditionally involve a generous dose of passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry, …

    Garden Mule Cocktail

    Garden Mule Cocktail

    • Serves 1 Author Notes The Garden Mule is a fresh take on the Moscow Mule. I muddle blueberries, cucumber, and mint and then add classic Moscow Mule ingredients: vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. I love the beautiful purple-blue color of this refreshing summer cocktail. —Kim at Something New For …

    Rosebud (Cointreau, Vodka, Rosewater, Cucumber & Mint Cocktail)

    Rosebud (Cointreau, Vodka, Rosewater, Cucumber & Mint Cocktail)

    • Prep time 5 minutes • Serves 1 Author Notes As far as films go, you won’t find one more acclaimed or revered than Citizen Kane. This vodka-based cocktail, which has light, floral notes of rosewater and fresh mint and cucumber flavors, is based on the film’s iconic mystery: the meaning behind “rosebud.” …

    Bowery Punch

    Bowery Punch

    • Serves 6 Author Notes Anyone who’s ever thrown a holiday party can attest that they create a very delicate ecosystem of drinkers. Guests inevitably divide into two very distinct cocktail camps. The first is the group who wants to drink something lighter, something that smacks pleasantly with citrus …

    “Adult” Shirley Temple Pitcher Cocktail

    “Adult” Shirley Temple Pitcher Cocktail

    • Serves 6 Author Notes There’s a reason Shirley Temples are such a hit—the vibrant color, the vivid cherry flavor—but they can be awfully sweet. This grown up version is far more balanced and less cloying, keeping the grenadine but swapping the ginger ale or lemon-lime soda for club soda (as well as …

    Southern Belle Punch

    Southern Belle Punch

    • Serves about 8 to 10 Author Notes Based off of a raspberry-ginger-bourbon drink I had once, this punch balances summer fruitiness with the heft and moodiness of bourbon and Campari. Because I like my punch to be carefree yet thoughtful. And because it's punch, well, it should pack a punch. But still …

    Zingy Michelada With Celery Salt

    Zingy Michelada With Celery Salt

    • Prep time 15 minutes • Serves 4 Author Notes In June, we visited our good friends the Begerts down in Austin, TX...the heat was unreal, with every day of our long weekend a sweltering 105 degrees...the hottest summer on record! We spent as much time as we could indoors or in the local swimming …

    Golden Plum Kir Royale "Bowle," A Fruity Summer Wine Drink

    Golden Plum Kir Royale "Bowle," A Fruity Summer Wine Drink

    • Prep time 24 hours • Serves 4 Author Notes This is my variation of a fruit and wine drink which is called a "Bowle" in Germany. You'll need ripe, soft fruit to make this drink, and mirabelle plums would be ideal. I used a local golden cherry plum, but Japanese shiro plums would also work. Any sweet plum …

    Frosé

    Frosé

    • Prep time 10 minutes • Cook time 5 minutes • Serves 6 Author Notes Ah, frosé! It's pink, it's slushy, it's wine, and it's fruit. It's frozen rosé, aka fro-zay, baby! This is the drink of the summer, and it's so easy to make in your Thermomix. (And if you're checking this recipe out in a chilly hemisphere, …

    Frozen Banana Daiquiri

    Frozen Banana Daiquiri

    • Makes 1 large pour Author Notes Here's how to make a frozen banana daiquiri you'll actually be proud to serve. Make sure to blend up extra. —Erik Lombardo 2 ounces rum (white is classic but any good rum works magic) • 3/4 ounce lime juice • 3/4 ounce sugar syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar to water) • 1/2 frozen banana …

    Frozen Watermelon Five-Spice Daiquiri

    Frozen Watermelon Five-Spice Daiquiri

    • Serves 2 Author Notes My husband and I recently spent a week diving in Roatan, Honduras with a couple of friends. I was in charge of evening cocktails, and picked a different local fruit to highlight each evening. Erik Lombardo's Frozen Banana Daiquiri (sans bitters and dark rum float) was first. I …

    Honeyed Peach Melba Bellinis

    Honeyed Peach Melba Bellinis

    • Serves 6 to 8 Author Notes I created this version of the classic Bellini cocktail to serve at a dinner party celebrating my parents' 40th anniversary. My dad's a chef, so I really wanted every element of the meal to be unique. Made with seasonal fruits, this is a perfect cocktail to serve at a …

    Red, White, and Blue Paloma Slushies

    Red, White, and Blue Paloma Slushies

    • Serves 4 Author Notes Adapted from the recipe for Paloma Slushies in Julia Turshen's Small Victories. The original recipes calls for grapefruit juice, and it's delicious, but if you feel like making a summery variation I highly recommend strawberries. As with cooking, drink making requires adjusting to …

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