Isn’t it great to have a day to sit back, relax, and enjoy a cocktail and some good conversation with friends? Labor Day is the perfect example — it’s a holiday most people have off work, and kicking back is almost mandatory since most stores are closed!
To help you relax, we’d like to offer 10 of our favorite Labor Day cocktails so you can kick off the holiday weekend in style. Don’t work too hard!
A Brief History of Labor Day and Why We Celebrate It
You may have the first Monday in September off, but do you know why? While it has become a laid-back holiday centered around a grill and a few drinks, the original Labor Day founders envisioned it more politically. If you work eight-hour days and get regular breaks, you have the Labor Day organizers to thank!
Labor Day was first recognized back in 1887 and became a full national holiday on June 28th, 1894. However, union workers had to strike and fight for it to get to that point. And not everyone gets the day off work, either. Ironic that the concept of a holiday to celebrate labor still revolves around so many people still doing it, right?
If you’re lucky enough to have the day off work, truly take time off. Don’t catch up, don’t work ahead — respect what labor organizers fought so hard for, relax, and enjoy the company of the people you love the most. Consider turning off your cell phone as well, and give yourself a break from all of the pressure of social media.
Our 10 Favorite Labor Day Cocktails
To help get you in the spirit with spirits, we present 10 of our favorite Labor Day cocktails. Each cocktail offers a different way to raise a glass to the labor organizers that helped make this holiday a reality while still being light and refreshing enough if the weather is still hot. It should be said that they also represent a wide variety of different ABVs, so always drink responsibly!
1. Bee’s Knees
The Bee’s Knees cocktail traces its roots back to Prohibition, and it remains one of the most refreshing ways to celebrate Labor Day. It requires only three ingredients — gin, lemon juice, and homemade honey syrup. You can substitute honey in a pinch, but honey syrup gives it that special something.
Here’s what you need:
- 2 ounces gin
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce honey syrup
To make honey syrup, combine ½ cup honey and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Use less honey if you don’t like your drinks to be super sweet. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the honey has completely dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool before using, and refrigerate leftover syrup in an airtight container for up to a month.
When you’re ready to make your Bee’s Knees, shake all three ingredients with ice until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass, garnish with a lemon twist, and enjoy.
2. Grilled Pineapple Margarita
Since Labor Day is intrinsically linked to grilling, why not make a cocktail with a grilled component? The grilled pineapple margarita is the perfect addition to the holiday and doesn’t require much extra work (especially if you already have the grill fired up).
Gather the following to make two margaritas:
- 2 slices pineapple
- 2 ounces fresh lime juice
- 4 ounces tequila Blanco or mezcal (if you prefer your drink a little more smoky)
- 3 ounces pineapple juice
- 1.5 ounces triple sec
Grill the pineapple over high heat, about two to three minutes on each side, then let cool. Rim the glasses with lime, then dip in salt.
Muddle the pineapple (setting aside two small pieces for garnishing) in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Once broken up, add the tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, and triple sec and shake for about 30 seconds until chilled. Strain into prepared margarita glasses and garnish with the leftover pineapple.
Think of the Paloma as the margarita’s slightly less high-maintenance cousin. Both drinks are tequila-based, light, and refreshing, but the Paloma requires fewer ingredients. To make see for yourself, gather:
- 2 ounces tequila Blanco
- 0.5 ounces fresh lime juice
- Grapefruit soda (many people prefer Jarritos, but Squirt also works well)
Coat the edge of a highball glass with lime, then dip in salt. Add the tequila and lime juice directly into the glass, then fill with ice. Top off the glass with grapefruit soda, add a lime wheel to garnish, and enjoy! Try substituting some or all of the tequila for Haus Grapefruit Jalapeno for a spicy twist.
4. Strawberry Basil Mojito
To make eight mojitos, you’ll need:
- 2 quartered limes
- Mint leaves
- 7 fresh strawberries, quartered
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup Haus Strawberry Basil
- 2 cups tonic water or club soda
Squeeze the limes and add them to a large pitcher with mint, strawberries, and sugar. Muddle together, then add the Haus Strawberry Basil and tonic water or club soda. Stir until the sugar is has been completely dissolved. Before pouring, rim collins glasses with lime and sugar and add ice.
5. Ginger Yuzu Mule
Mules are a summer staple and are super easy to make, even if you’re not anticipating company. Using a Ginger Yuzu apéritif in place of the more traditional vodka kicks it up a notch, giving it an even spicier bite.
To make a single mule, you’ll need:
- 2 ounces Haus Ginger Yuzu
- 0.5 ounces fresh lime juice
- 3 ounces ginger beer
Because mules don’t need to be shaken, you can assemble them directly in the copper mug they’re served in. Add ice, pour the Haus Ginger Yuzu and lime juice, stir briefly, and top with the ginger beer. Serve with a fresh lime wedge.
6. Rosé Spritzer
Spritzers are an incredibly summery drink, and who doesn’t love a good rosé? Combine the two and make a refreshing rosé spritzer, which will keep your guests in the party mood without turning your Labor Day party into a hot mess.
To make your own rosé spritzer, you’ll need:
- 3 ounces Haus Rose Rosé
- 2 ounces Prosecco (or a similar dry white wine of your choosing)
- A splash of sparkling water
Combine all three ingredients in a white wine glass over ice and serve with a lemon twist, if desired.
7. Lemon Lavender Lemonade
Mixing lemonade with alcohol is a tale as old as time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a spin on it this Labor Day.
Instead of vodka, try using the same amount of Haus Lemon Lavender. Not only is it the perfect summertime flavor combination, but it also has a much lower ABV than vodka (and most liquors, for that matter). That means you can enjoy time with your friends and family without worrying about the effects the next day.
8. Cuba Libre
The Cuba Libre is low maintenance and incredibly easy to throw together as far as Labor Day cocktails go. Cuba Libre is the fancy name for rum and coke, which is always a favorite. It's the perfect cocktail for guests that want a little caffeine with their alcohol, although you can easily adapt the recipe for people who prefer to stay caffeine-free.
While you can always just add rum and coke to a glass to taste, to make an official Cuba libre, here is the recipe:
- 1 ounce light rum (you can substitute dark or spiced rum if you prefer)
- 3 ounces Coca-Cola
Add ice to a highball glass, then add your rum. Top with Coca-cola and squeeze a lime wedge over the cocktail before using it as a garnish.
9. Pomegranate Rosemary Sparkler
Rosemary isn’t just for Thanksgiving. When partnered with a sweeter flavor, like pomegranate, the herbaceous quality of rosemary just brings out something special. To make a sparkler utilizing that flavor combo, combine the following:
- 3 ounces Haus Pomegranate Rosemary
- 2 ounces sparkling water
Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary, cheers to Labor Day, and drink up!
Last but not least, the hurricane. If you’re looking for a banger to usher out the summer, spend a little time and mix up a batch of hurricanes. Although it's more labor-intensive than other Labor Day cocktails (no pun intended), they’re well worth the extra effort.
Here’s your ingredient list to make two:
- 2 ounces light rum
- 3 ounces dark rum
- 6 ounces passion fruit juice
- 6 ounces orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
- 2 tablespoons cherry grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir. Pour into a hurricane or highball glass over ice, garnishing with a cherry, orange slice, or whatever sounds good to you!
This Labor Day, honor the sacrifices that working people continue to make by relaxing. Hustle culture tells us that stopping to enjoy the small moments makes us lazy, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so throw a steak (or veggie burger) on the grill, mix up some Labor Day cocktails, and take a moment to stop and smell the roses.