5 Thirst-Quenching Cocktails You Need to Make This Summer

Beat the heat with with these boozy classics.

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With all the backyard cookouts, weekend getaways and “Summer Fridays” on tap, it’s definitely prime season for cool cocktails. The five recipes below are a mix of modern classics and outstanding originals that are sure to keep you happily hydrated, but be warned—they are dangerously tasty.

The Gold Rush

Tyler Zielinski

There aren’t many better-tasting, three-ingredient cocktails than this one (sorry, Negroni-lovers). It was perhaps best popularized by bartender T.J. Siegal at the legendary Manhattan cocktail mecca Milk & Honey–which, sadly, is no longer in business. 

Bourbon takes center stage with honey syrup and fresh lemon juice tying it in a bow for a delightfully fresh and vibrant bourbon-sour. The great thing is that not only can you order it at any bar, but it’s also extremely easy to make at home.

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz lemon
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Combine all ingredients into shaker over ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into double rocks glass, garnish, and serve.

Party Starter

Tyler Zielinski

The name says it all. It’s floral, effervescent, and appealing in both taste and scent with a grapefruit peel garnish and lavender bitters making for a can’t-miss combination. It’s easily one of the best tequila and tonics around.

  • 1 1/2 oz tequila
  • 3/4 oz lemon
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup (2:1 honey to water)
  • 4 dashes lavender bitters
  • Topped with Fevertree Tonic (approx. 2-3 oz)
  • Garnish: grapefruit peel

Combine all ingredients (excluding 2 dashes of bitters and the tonic water) into shaker. Shake until chilled; strain into glass, then top with tonic. Add 2 more dashes of lavender bitters for the aroma, garnish with an expressed grapefruit peel, and serve.

The 50-50 Martini

Tyler Zielinski

The martini is one of the world’s most popular cocktails, for good reason. Traditionally, it’s just two ingredients that are easy to remember: gin (or vodka), and dry vermouth. The 50-50 split between vermouth and gin (or vodka) make this bare-bones classic perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.

  • 1 1/2 oz gin (or vodka)
  • 1 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • Garnish: lemon twist, or olives

Combine all ingredients into mixing glass. Stir mix with ice until properly chilled/diluted. Strain into coupe or cocktail glass, garnish, and serve. 

Note: Add a dash of orange bitters for extra depth, if you’re into that sort of thing.

The Margarita 

Tyler Zielinski

The most beloved tequila drink ever is hard not to love…so long as it’s done right. One of the best things about margs is that you can whip up a unique version of your own, using the standard ingredients and proportions as a template. I’ve provided a version of my favorite here for inspiration. (You’re welcome.)

  • 1 1/2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz lime
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup (2:1 honey to water)
  • 1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • 1/4 oz mezcal
  • 1/4 oz blue curaçao
  • Garnish: lime twist or wheel

Combine all ingredients into shaker over ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into double rocks glass, garnish, and serve. 

Beachside Rum Punch

Tyler Zielinski

While punches have been around since the early 1600s, they’re still crushing it when it comes to easy-drinking party cocktails. This Bon Vivantito punch is great to batch for summer parties. Just don’t forget to keep a ladle handy. 

  • 2 oz rum
  • 1 oz coconut milk
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 3/4 oz lime
  • 3/4 oz cinnamon syrup
  • 1/2 oz curaçao
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled / diluted; strain into glass over large ice cube; garnish with “all of the things” (dealer’s choice here), then serve.

Note: To make this a large format drink – instead of measuring in ounces, use all the proportions listed above as cups instead. (For the bitters, this would mean 16 dashes if you use that recommended translation).   

Tyler Zielinski is a lifestyle writer with a passion for cocktails and spirits. Follow him on Instagram at @bon_vivantito and check out his website.