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5 Classic Summer Cocktails

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Summer is a great time to spend time with your family and friends, enjoy the great outdoors, and relax together. By serving cocktails at summer get-togethers, you make guests feel at ease in your home and bring a little extra fun and elegance to any occasion. These 5 classic cocktails are easy to whip up, taste great, and even use ingredients like mint or cucumber that you can grow in your own backyard garden.

Mimosa

Makes one cocktail


The simplest of all summer cocktails, a mimosa is a light, bubbly treat. Even though mimosas are normally associated with special occasions, they add a touch of class to any warm weather event—especially brunch!

  • Champagne or other sparkling wine
  • Orange juice
  1. Fill a tall champagne flute half full with orange juice.
  2. Finish filling the glass with champagne.

A Buck’s fizz follows the same idea for a more refreshing, weaker cocktail: use twice as much orange juice as champagne.

Mint Julep

Makes one cocktail


The mint julep is the cocktail of the Kentucky Derby. Traditionally made in a silver or pewter cup, it is a frosty addition to any outdoor summer event.

  • 2 tablespoons of club soda
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar, the finer granulated the better
  • 15 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 6 tablespoons (three shots) of high-quality whiskey
  • 2 cups of crushed ice
  1. Briskly mix together the club soda and sugar until the sugar begins to dissolve. You should be left with a sugary syrup.
  2. Muddle the mint leaves with the syrup until they begin to turn a darker color. Press the mint and syrup together with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. Stop before the leaves begin to tear.
  3. Add the whisky first and then the crushed ice.
  4. Stir with a long spoon and garnish with extra mint leaves.

Mojito

Makes one cocktail


The mojito is a classic Cuban drink. The sweet, fizzy concoction invites you to slow down and enjoy a fun, summer evening.

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of sugar, the finer granulated the better
  • 1 cup of crushed ice
  • 12 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 shots) of white rum
  • 2 tablespoons of club soda
  1. In a highball glass, stir together the lime juice and sugar until the sugar begins to dissolve. You should be left with a sugary syrup.
  2. Rub the mint leaves around the edge of the glass. Tear them in half before adding them to the sugar syrup.
  3. Gently muddle together the mint leaves with the sugar syrup. Press the mint and syrup together with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. The leaves should turn a dark green, but try to avoid breaking them into small pieces.
  4. Add the crushed ice, rum, and club soda.
  5. Stir with a long spoon and garnish with extra mint leaves.

Pimm’s Cup

Makes 2 pitchers


Pimm’s cup is the British summer drink of choice. It is made with Pimm’s—a liqueur made from gin and infused with spices and citrus fruit. Pimm’s cup is a refined treat for an afternoon picnic or garden party.

  • 2 oranges, cut into half moons
  • 2 lemons, cut into half moons
  • 1 small cucumber, cut into slices
  • 2 cups of Pimm’s No. 1
  • 4 cups of carbonated lemonade, ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda
  • 6-8 sprigs of mint, plus more to garnish
  • Ice (optional)
  1. Layer orange, lemon, and cucumber slices in the bottom of two large pitchers.
  2. Add the Pimm’s and lemonade.
  3. Stir with a tall spoon.
  4. Garnish with mint sprigs.
  5. Serve over ice, if desired. Be sure every serving includes fruit and mint.

Sangria

Makes one pitcher


Sangria is a delightful Spanish party drink. Make a pitcher for a relaxing afternoon or evening with a Mediterranean flair. This recipe is based on the famous sangria of a dear friend. Be careful because it packs a real punch.

  • 1 bottle of Spanish wine, like rioja, chilled
  • 1/4 cup of brandy
  • 1/4 cup of vodka
  • 1/4 cup of triple sec
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar, the finer granulated the better
  • 1 orange, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup of club soda, or more to taste
  • Cinnamon stick, for garnish
    1. In a pitcher, combine the wine, brandy (if you’re using it), orange juice, and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
    2. Add the fruit slices.
    3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve over ice.

What are your favorite summer beverages? Let us know in the comments.

3 responses »

  1. I love mimosas, I like to add a tiny little bit of grenadine to them, just for looks – the grenadine sits on the bottom and creates a nice color gradation from red to peach to orange, when ready to drink you just stir the drink up and it turns a pretty peachy orange 🙂

    Reply
  2. I had been looking for a good Pimm’s Cup recipe. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. I’ve always wondered what Pimm’s cups were! Sounds good. I’ll have to make them…

    Reply

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