Whether I’m poolside, beachside, or imagining that I am, refreshing summer cocktail recipes are my favorite way to beat the heat. Oftentimes, for me, drinking a cocktail is less about the alcohol and more about experimenting with unique flavor combinations and summer produce provides all the inspiration. Out here in California, the produce from my family’s backyard has been the foundation for so many summer cocktail recipes. Our lemon trees are in full bloom, so naturally, we’ve had lots of homemade lemon juice to play with. The kumquat plant is the most prolific plant in our yard, which inspired us to find a recipe for kumquat mojitos recently. Minus one mishap with our mint plant being mistaken for weeds and ripped out, our surroundings have encouraged us to make five o’clock happy hours unique.
My Instagram DM chain with my mom is full of recipes that we’ve tried and loved, so it was easy to round up a list of the 20 best summer cocktail recipes on the internet. Read on to try some of our favorites or let them inspire your own creations, and comment below with what you’ve been drinking.
This is Camille’s official drink of summer, so it’s only fair that this is the first summer cocktail recipe on the list. “This light, bubbly cocktail with a pleasant hit of bitterness just feels like sunshine and adventure and takes me back to this perfect day we spent in Italy,” she says. “I’ve worked to finesse my own classic Aperol spritz recipe and IMHO, I’ve got it nailed.”
2. Watermelon Margarita from Minimalist Baker
This three-ingredient summer cocktail recipe is restaurant-level good and amateur-level easy. It’s made with exactly what you’d think: blended watermelon, lime juice, and tequila. That’s it. So you have no excuse not to make this for your next summer happy hour.
3. Raspberry Lemon Frosé from Inherited Salt
I usually prefer drinks on the rocks instead of frozen, but sometimes it’s so hot only a cool glass of Frosé will do the trick. This specific Raspberry Lemon Frosé recipe is so simple to make and is sure to impress your guests. I like to add a few drops of stevia instead of simple syrup to give the cocktail just the right amount of sweetness.
4. Limoncello Gin Cocktail With Fresh Thyme from The Forked Spoon
This cocktail makes me miss Italy, where every meal is concluded with a sip of chilled Limoncello. Only four ingredients and ready in 5 minutes, serve this fresh summer drink at your next Italian night to transport all of your guests.
This summer cocktail recipe is excerpted from Sheela Prakash’s cookbook, Mediterranean Every Day. “Multiply the honey, water, and lemon juice depending on how many you plan to serve,” says Prakash. “Combine the three ahead of time and, when needed, shake with ice, divide among glasses, and top off each glass with prosecco. It’s a drink that feels a little fancy yet is wildly fast to prepare.”
It’s the summer of the spicy marg. With exciting new tequilas (has anyone else tried 818?) and endless flavor combinations, this has been my go-to restaurant order, and now I can’t wait to make this recipe myself.
7. Blueberry Mint Bourbon Lemonade from What’s Gaby Cooking
While I’m admittedly not much of a bourbon drinker, this cocktail took me by surprise. It really accents the floral tones of the bourbon without being too overpowering. Plus, the final product of the blue/purple drink with the mint and blueberry garnish is simply picture perfect.
8. Cucumber Mint Vodka Cocktail from Whitney Bond
This cocktail is like an adult version of my childhood favorite Citrus 2 juice from Pressed Juicery. Using lemonade instead of simple syrup gives it the perfect kind of natural sweetness, making it ultra refreshing.
9. Strawberry and Peach Rosé Sangria from What’s Gaby Cooking
Nothing screams summer like Rosé Sangria. Especially when the recipe includes three of summer’s produce superstars: strawberries, peaches, and basil. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the season and make this light, refreshing, and gorgeous summer cocktail.
10. Watermelon Limeade Cocktail from The Defined Dish
I couldn’t put my finger on what this cocktail reminded me of until I looked back at the recipe. The Defined Dish herself agrees that it has all the vibes of a watermelon Jolly Rancher in only the best ways. This is the perfect cocktail for a hot day by the pool… or just a regular day inside.
The recipe features vodka and zesty pineapple juice (does anything taste more like a vacation?) topped off with crisp and fruity Prosecco. I could drink this refreshing spritz allll summer long.
12. Tito’s Colada from The Defined Dish
Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a huge Piña Colada girl until I tried it with vodka (extra props for this one using one of Austin’s best local businesses). This delicious and three-ingredient cocktail also has no added sweeteners, which your hangover will thank you for.
This simple recipe is a perfect base for adding any combination of garnishes that you’d like. We kept this one fresh with clementines, blueberries, cucumber, and basil. Yum!
14. Strawberry Lemon Mojitos from Short Girl Tall Order
Classic mojitos were my first venture into cocktails, so it’s only natural that a strawberry (my favorite food) twist on the drink makes this one of my favorite summer cocktail recipes. As I said, summer is the time to use up all that fresh fruit in creative ways, so don’t let a recipe box you in. Try this same recipe with any berries you have on hand, and I can guarantee it’ll be a crowd-pleaser.
15. Plum and Thyme Prosecco Smash from My Diary of Us
You’ll never settle for a basic mimosa after trying this Plum and Thyme Prosecco cocktail. My Diary of Us reinvents the overlooked plum by incorporating it into this delicious drink that I will now crave at every brunch.
16. Thai Basil and Kumquat Mojitos from Wanderings in My Kitchen
This Thai Basil and Kumquat twist make the classic mojito cocktail that much more refreshing, which I didn’t know was possible. Like I mentioned, we have a kumquat plant flourishing in our front yard, so when my mom came across this recipe on Pinterest, we both knew that it would become a summer staple.
17. Cucumber Cooler Cocktail from Minimalist Baker
If you’re looking for a refreshing cocktail with just a hint of sweetness, this is it. It feels fancy, yet is simple to prepare, and looks amazing in a glass. Next time I make this drink, I’d dying to try it with a light sugar rim. Plus, it shows off cucumbers in their prime season!
18. Blackberry Champagne Mule from Half Baked Harvest
This might be the summer brunch cocktail to end all summer brunch cocktails. With both ginger beer and champagne, it’s extra fizzy and extra delicious. If you don’t have blackberries or aren’t a fan, this recipe would be just as tasty with strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries, too.
19. Spicy Serrano Pineapple Margarita from Half Baked Harvest
Oh, the things I would do to be sitting on a beach with one of these spicy serrano pineapple margaritas in my hand. Luckily, the flavor alone is enough to get my imagination going. It’s somehow spicy, sweet, and smokey all in one, and the Tajin rim really just makes my heart sing.
20. Espresso Martini from Preppy Kitchen
The espresso martini is being called “summer’s most divisive drink” over here at Camille Styles, but I know where I stand on this matter– I’m without a doubt on Team Espresso Martini. Not only do I love the coffee flavor, but after a long day in the sun, sometimes it’s the only thing that will keep me going through the night. I have yet to make one for myself, but this recipe emphasizes well-made espresso (I always confirm a restaurant uses real espresso before ordering) and gives you that perfect frothy finish.
What should I try next? Drop your favorite summer cocktail recipes below.
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