10 Summer Cocktails to Help You Beat the Heat

10 Summer Cocktails to Help You Beat the Heat

What's In Your Cocktail?

Summer is here, which means it’s high time for a few of our favorite things: meandering road trips, lazy beach days, hours-long barbecues, and — of course — our favorite summer cocktails. (We’re focusing on the boozy variety, but there are plenty of fun nonalcoholic beverages to enjoy.)

The fact that we can now more comfortably congregate with friends and family is all the more reason to celebrate this year. We polled some of the nation’s top restaurants and bars for their thoughts on this year’s best summer sippers — their responses are as eye-catching as they are crowd-pleasing. Read on for this season’s most colorful ways to celebrate.

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Vodka Cocktails

1. 1776 Spritz at Venteux (Chicago, IL)

1176 Spritz -- summer cocktails
Credit: Venteux

At this recently opened restaurant, chef Donald Young serves up modern French-brasserie cuisine alongside a cocktail list of traditional and signature tipples. “The 1776 Spritz showcases hints of pear and sweet citrus notes,” says general manager Danielle Nolan. “It’s refreshing and easy to drink, making it the perfect cocktail for a summer barbecue.”

1176 Spritz -- summer cocktails
5 from 1 vote
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1776 Spritz

Ingredients

  • oz. Grey Goose Vodka
  • ½ oz. St-Germaine
  • 2 tsp. prickly pear syrup
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • Grapefruit slice (for garnish)
  • Chandon Library Dosage Brut

Instructions

  1. Add everything but the Chandon to a cocktail shaker.

  2. Add ice to shaker.

  3. Vigorously shake for 10 seconds.

  4. Strain into a wine glass and add ice.

  5. Top with Chandon.

  6. Garnish with grapefruit slice.

2. The Firecracker at Deer Path Inn (Lake Forest, IL)

fire cracker -- summer cocktail

Those looking to impress their friends on patriotic occasions can take to this summer cocktail from mixologist Jorge Centeno, who helms the bar at Lake Forest’s legendary Deer Path Inn. “This layered drink is fruity and refreshing, making it the ideal summer sipper,” he says. “It packs a surprising, firecracker-inspired twist, thanks to peppermint schnapps and Mexican cinnamon.”

fire cracker -- summer cocktail
5 from 1 vote
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The Firecracker

Ingredients

BOTTOM LAYER (Blue peppermint gimlet)

  • 17 oz. vodka
  • oz. peppermint schnapps
  • oz. blue curaçao

MIDDLE LAYER (Pineapple-infused vodka)

  • 4 cups vodka
  • 1 pineapple peel (cored and chopped)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (Mexican cinnamon recommended)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ liter club soda (Ingredient substitute to help reduce the amount of sugar per serving.)

TOP LAYER (Raspberry gin cocktail)

  • 17 oz. American-style gin
  • 5 oz. lemon juice
  • 5 oz. sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

Instructions

BOTTOM LAYER (Blue peppermint gimlet)

  1. In a large jar or pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir until well integrated. Store in the refrigerator.

MIDDLE LAYER (Pineapple-infused vodka)

  1. Needs prep one day ahead of time.

  2. In a clean large mason jar or pitcher with cover, place the cinnamon stick on the bottom, add the chopped pineapple, sprinkle the sugar on top of the pineapple, press the pineapple gently, and add the vodka (and club soda).

  3. Close the jar or cover, place in the fridge and let it rest at least 1 day or up to 2 weeks. Take out jar and strain vodka into another pitcher. Keep cold.

TOP LAYER (Raspberry gin cocktail)

  1. In a large jar or mixing bowl, muddle the raspberries. Add the gin, lemon juice, and syrup and mix thoroughly until well incorporated.

  2. Strain through a fine-mesh and refrigerate.

The Firecracker

  1. In a snow cone cup or similar glass, add 2 oz. blue peppermint gimlet, then add shaved ice to cover and fill the cone.

  2. Layer 2 oz. pineapple-infused vodka and add more shaved ice to create a dome.

  3. Layer 2 oz. raspberry gin cocktail.

  4. Garnish with fresh raspberries and strawberries.

Don’t worry about partygoers developing FOMO (fear of missing out) when they see your colorful drink. This recipe makes 16 servings.

3. Cerise Diversion at Haymaker (Seattle, WA)

Cerise Diversion at Haymaker -- summer cocktails

Award-winning chef Brian Clevenger helms the kitchen at this Seattle restaurant, where the focus is fresh seafood, local vegetables, and from-scratch pasta dishes. That close eye on produce extends to the drinks list, too, for which Tiffney Allen made a particularly celebratory sipper. “We have such amazing cherries during the summer here in Washington state, and I wanted to create a cocktail that would be easygoing and fun for everyone in the party.”

Cerise Diversion at Haymaker -- summer cocktails
5 from 1 vote
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Cerise Diversion

Ingredients

  • oz. vodka
  • oz. black cherry juice
  • 1 oz. cream of coconut
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. lightly whipped cream
  • Edible blue glitter

Instructions

  1. Rim desired glass with edible blue glitter.

  2. Combine vodka, black cherry juice, cream of coconut, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.

  3. Shake and strain into a rimmed glass with fresh ice and top with lightly whipped cream.

  4. Garnish with mint and cherry.

4. The Michelle at Quarterdeck (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

The Michelle at Quarterdeck -- summer cocktails

Between American comfort fare, an extensive sushi selection, and chill, neighborhood hangout vibes, this restaurant is a go-to for locals and visitors alike. Bartender Michelle Flanigan helps to ensure the summer cocktails are just as engaging, including this eponymous concoction. “Light and refreshing, this drink is great for warmer weather.”

The Michelle at Quarterdeck -- summer cocktails
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The Michelle

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Tito's vodka
  • 1 oz. St-Germain
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 raspberry
  • Soda water
  • Fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle a raspberry and combine the vodka, St-Germain, and lime juice with ice and shake until cold.

  2. Pour the cocktail into a wine glass.

  3. Top off with soda water and a medley of berries.

5. Strawberry Moscow Mule at JIMMY (New York, NY)

Strawberry Mule -- summer cocktails

Situated on the 18th floor of the ModernHaus Soho, this rooftop bar features a pool, sundeck, and some of the best views of lower Manhattan around. The fact that the cocktail list is curated by drinks ace Johnny Swet only helps matters, thanks to seasonally-driven drams like this one, a strawberry-centric cooler for hot summer nights.

Strawberry Mule -- summer cocktails
5 from 1 vote
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Strawberry Moscow Mule

Ingredients

Strawberry Purée

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • ½ cup fine sugar
  • ½ cup hot water

Mule

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. strawberry purée
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • Ginger beer

Instructions

  1. Blend purée ingredients until smooth.

  2. Add all ingredients, except ginger beer, to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds.

  3. Strain into copper mug along with ice.

  4. Stir in ginger beer.

  5. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and lime wheel.

Tequila Cocktails

6. Midnight in Morocco at Hotel Californian (Santa Barbara, CA)

Midnight in Morocco at Hotel Californian -- summer cocktails
Credit: Hotel Californian

At the Hotel Californian’s restaurant Djinn, Morocco is a core inspiration behind the menu — in food and drink alike. This summer cocktail, created by Devon Espinosa, was an extension of that influence. “I wanted to showcase the beauty of a Moroccan midnight sky,” he says. “The floral and citrus flavors, along with a hint of heat at the finish, makes this drink a great option for the warm weather.”

Midnight in Morocco at Hotel Californian -- summer cocktails
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Midnight in Morocco

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Libélula Tequila Blanco
  • ½ oz. Violette
  • ½ oz. Orgeat
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¼ oz. Maraschino Luxardo Liqueur
  • 1-2 Dashes Firewater Bitters (Scrappy's)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice.

  2. Shake well for 10-15 seconds.

  3. Use both a traditional Hawthorne cocktail strainer and a fine mesh strainer to double strain into a snifter with sphere-shaped ice.

  4. Garnish with a variety of white, edible flowers.

7. The Beach at The Alton (San Francisco, CA)

The Beach at The Alton -- summer cocktails
Credit: Melissa de Mata

This brand-new hotel is the site of chef Francis Ang’s restaurant Abacá, where he showcases Filipino-inspired fare. The summer cocktails are just as bold — case in point with “The Beach” from Kevin Diedrich. “This is our take on a margarita, with flavors of apple and guava from the soursop and a touch of heat from the jalapeno,” he says. “It’s perfect for that celebratory barbecue in the backyard or on the beach.”

The Beach at The Alton -- summer cocktails
5 from 2 votes
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The Beach

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ oz. Espolòn tequila
  • ¼ oz. Wray and Nephew Rum
  • ¾ oz. soursop juice
  • ½ oz. jalapeño syrup
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes of Absinthe
  • Garnish: candied jalapeño

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.

  2. Shake and strain over ice.

  3. Garnish with candied jalapeño (or lime wheel).

8. Pixie Margarita at Ojai Valley Inn (Ojai, CA)

Pixie Margarita at Ojai Valley Inn -- summer cocktails
Credit: Alison Burns

Over in Ojai, pixie tangerines, a citrus hybrid fruit indigenous to the Ojai Valley, bloom just once a year — beginning in mid-spring. As such, the team at this upscale retreat tapped into the harvest for their riff on a margarita — one boasting equal parts tangy and sweet.

Pixie Margarita at Ojai Valley Inn -- summer cocktails
5 from 1 vote
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Pixie Margarita

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz. Codigo Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. fresh-squeezed pixie tangerine juice
  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously.

  2. Wipe the rim of a rocks glass with a pixie tangerine wedge, dip into kosher salt, then fill with ice.

  3. Strain cocktail into glass and garnish with lime and pixie tangerine wedges.

Gin Cocktails

9. The Sundeck Lemonade at the Hotel Del Coronado (San Diego, CA)

The Sundeck Lemonade at the Hotel Del Coronado -- summer cocktails
Credit: Hotel Del Coronado

SoCal sunshine and San Diego Bay views are part of the daily experience at this beachfront resort, one of San Diego’s most historic hotels. They also inspired Lily Williams to create this lit lemonade, a marriage of gin, elderflower, and citrus. “Nothing defines summertime better than an ice-cold glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade,” she says. “It’s the quintessential drink of the season.”

The Sundeck Lemonade at the Hotel Del Coronado -- summer cocktails
5 from 1 vote
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The Sundeck Lemonade

Ingredients

  • ½ oz. gin
  • ½ oz. St-Germain
  • ½ oz. Lillet Blanc
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Splash of tonic water
  • ½ oz. Empress Gin

Instructions

  1. Combine gin, St-Germain, Lillet Blanc, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker; shake vigorously.

  2. Strain over a rocks glass filled with ice.

  3. Top with a splash of tonic and stir gently with a bar spoon.

  4. Gently float Empress Gin on top and garnish with an orchid.

Rum Cocktail

10. The Madam at The Daxton Hotel (Birmingham, MI)

The Madam at The Daxton Hotel -- summer cocktails
Credit: The Daxton Hotel

This hotel opened its doors earlier this year, and already it’s been garnering a loyal following at its restaurant Madam. Chef Garrison Price spins out contemporary American fare, and Greg Wasserman has assembled a thoughtful list of tipples — including this one, named after the eatery itself.

“This margarita riff uses the heat of the habanero to cut through the richer texture for a great contrast,” says Wasserman. “The dry finish of the spice balances the sweetness and mouthfeel, while the shiso provides vegetal notes of floral and mint.”

The Madam at The Daxton Hotel -- summer cocktails
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The Madam

Ingredients

  • 3 dashes of habanero bitters
  • Shiso leaf
  • ¼ oz. agave
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz. pineapple juice
  • ½ oz. Aperol
  • 1 ½ oz. Espolòn Blanco tequila

Instructions

Habenero Bitters

  1. Steep sliced habenero overnight in Everclear.

  2. Strain.

The Madam

  1. Shake the first six ingredients in a cocktail shaker.

  2. Strain into a rocks glass over a large clear cube.

  3. Garnish with one shiso leaf.

Nicole Schnitzler

About

Nicole Schnitzler is a freelance writer who covers travel, food, drink, lifestyle, and culture. When she is not planning her next adventure, she can be found exploring bakeries, record shops, and drink lists in her Chicago neighborhood — or at home attempting to learn the harmonica. She is most comfortable with a pen in one hand and a fork in the other. Follow her on Twitter.