There’s nothing quite like sipping a refreshing cocktail while catching some summer rays. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, spending the day at the beach, or just having some friends over for a backyard party, we’ve pulled together our go-to drinks for summer entertaining. The mocktails makes sure everyone is included, but all of them can be aged up with a splash or two of your favorite libation.
1. Classic Margarita
There are few beverages that scream summer more than a margarita and luckily, they’re one of the easiest drinks to make at home. Adhering to the essentials of tequila, triple sec, and freshly squeezed lime juice, this signature version is served over whole ice cubes and doesn’t require a blender. To make these extra festive, rim the glasses with salt or a chili-lime seasoning.
If you’re looking for more ways to use up some of the half-empty jam jars in your fridge, this recipe has got you covered. Jam provides a concentrated burst of fruit flavor in these fizzy concoctions, as well as a touch of sweetness. Try experimenting with any jam you have on hand, and bonus points for shaking up your mocktail right in the jar!
Like a margarita that’s been on vacation, this mocktail is coming in hot with tropical pizzazz. The orange and coconut combo brings strong Carribean vibes and so much body you won’t even miss the booze. When the fresh orange and cherry garnish is paired with a bright and colorful straw, you’ve got a drink the whole family will love.
Frosé has become the grown-up slushie of summer and this version has in-season strawberries. You’ll need to plan ahead to make the rosé ice, but you just need to pour into a resealable bag in a baking dish and freeze overnight to make this at a moment’s notice. Increase the amount of strawberries for a milder drink.
5. Spicy Micheladas
If you’re looking for something to spice up your Cinco de Mayo or taco-themed brunch, this savory cocktail is just the ticket. Like a Bloody Mary with a twist, this starts with a crisp Mexican lager and layers in the flavor with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and chili powder. It’s perfect for sipping on a hot day and you can adjust the level of heat to your taste.
6. Watermelon-Cucumber Spritzer
Fresh summer produce is ideal for making homemade fruit sodas. They are better than anything that comes in a bottle, these have no processed sugars, dyes or preservatives. A touch of honey brings a little extra sweetness that will convince even the most skeptical kids. Try experimenting with other seasonal melons like honeydew or cantaloupe if you want to switch things up.
This is the perfect afternoon libation for when you want to have a good time without getting too tipsy. Ginger ale and ginger syrup team up to offer a one-two punch of zingy heat, with extra freshness from the mint and lime. The light flavor and carbonation make it the ultimate companion for grilled food.
8. Summer Fruit Agua Fresca
Originating in Latin America, this choose-your-own-adventure beverage is perfect for beating the heat and making the most of peak-season fruit. Just blend whatever fruit you have on hand with a little sugar and water, then strain and serve. A little splash of vodka, tequila, or rum transforms these into a full-blown cocktail. All you need to do is simply add less water.
9. Blackberry-Citrus Mocktails
Fruit purees are a great way to bring flavor to non-alcoholic drinks, and this little blackberry number is no exception. Straining the puree is key to making sure seeds don’t make it into your final drink. If you don’t have any fresh blackberries, you can substitute frozen to enjoy year-round.
10. Big-Batch Mint Julep
Whether you’re getting ready for the Kentucky Derby or just throwing a garden party in your own backyard, bringing this pitcher out lets everyone know you have something to celebrate. We like to prepare an extra big batch of the mint simple syrup in advance to whip up more juleps all season long. The crushed ice is a signature here and is really worth the extra effort.
11. Virgin Piña Coladas
While not everyone may enjoy getting caught in the rain, we’ve never met someone who dislikes a piña colada, and this non-alcoholic version is safe for all to enjoy. We like to pair these with whipped cream and a cherry, but little drink umbrellas would also be right at home here. Make sure to use cream of coconut and not coconut cream, which is an entirely different ingredient that lives in your store’s beverage aisle.
12. Strawberry Arnold Palmers
Fresh strawberries bring extra sweetness to this twist on this classic combo of iced tea and lemonade even more special. This concoction gets better the longer the flavors mix, so it’s ideal for packing in an ice chest and bringing to the park for a picnic. Making both the lemonade and tea components from scratch takes some extra effort but brings a taste that’s heads and shoulders above their store-bought counterparts.