Is there anything better than a light, refreshing summertime cocktail bursting with fresh ingredients like pineapple and orange juice? The only thing that could make it better is enjoying it with friends without the hangover the next day. Luckily, apéritif culture can help you with that!
Here are nine of our favorite easy summer cocktails and why we love them so much!
1. The Margarita
The margarita is at the top of the list for best summer cocktails for many people. This cocktail is light, refreshing, and is infinitely adaptable to fit any palate. The base for the margarita is simple — about two ounces of tequila (or mezcal, if you prefer), half an ounce of orange liqueur (usually Cointreau or Triple Sec), and an ounce of lime juice (preferably freshly squeezed). Some people like to add simple syrup or agave for a little additional sweetness as well, but that’s up to individual taste.
Add watermelon or cranberry juice if you want a little additional fruity flavor, or substitute an apéritif like our Grapefruit Jalapeño for the tequila for some extra spice.
While you can enjoy margaritas on the rocks or frozen, shaking them to serve is often the easiest because it stops the ice from melting and diluting your drink. However, if you’re serving a larger group of people, a big batch of frozen margaritas may be the way to go!
2. The Mojito
The mojito comes from Cuba and is made out of five key ingredients — an ounce and a half of white rum, an ounce of lime juice, a few fresh mint leaves, a tablespoon of white sugar (or half an ounce of simple syrup), and club soda to top. The result is a refreshing cocktail that won’t weigh you down or leave you feeling too terrible the next day, as long as you enjoy them in moderation.
Mojitos are served over ice, usually in a Collins glass. If you want to help the flavors blend even better, try muddling the mint with a muddler or mortar and pestle. Garnish with another mint leaf or two for flair, and enjoy responsibly.
3. Ranch Water
A newcomer to the list of summer cocktails is a drink known as “ranch water.” But don’t worry, ranch water doesn’t contain any ranch dressing!
Ranch water has been a popular cocktail in Texas for decades, but the rest of the country is just starting to catch on. The name comes from the fact that many people believe it originated on a ranch in Texas and is an excellent way for ranchers to stay hydrated while still enjoying a little something extra.
Ranch water is one of the least sweet of the summer cocktails, making it an excellent choice for people trying to watch their sugar consumption. Only three ingredients are required — an ounce and a half of tequila (silver is recommended), an ounce of lime juice, and a bottle of Topo Chico mineral water.
The idea is that you can continue to add water as you drink your cocktail, keeping you hydrated and reducing the risk of a hangover the next day.
4. The Paloma
The paloma is another tequila-based cocktail, similar to the margarita with a few key differences. Palomas are made with just tequila (as opposed to also adding Cointreau or Triple Sec) and use a grapefruit-flavored soda like Jarritos, Fresca, or Squirt instead of simple syrup for sweetness. That means while palomas are delicious and refreshing, it also contains more sugar than a lot of other summer cocktails.
To make your own paloma, combine two ounces of tequila blanco, half an ounce of fresh lime juice, and enough soda to top it off. If you prefer to make your own soda, you can substitute a mixture of two ounces of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and two ounces of sparkling water, but it isn’t necessary.
5. The Spritz
When it comes to apéritifs, the spritz is a classic. The original spritz recipe comes from Italy and combines prosecco (or other bubbly, sparkling wine), digestive bitters (commonly Aperol or Campari), and soda or tonic water. However, you can make a spritz out of nearly any liquor, which is why it is one of the more popular summer cocktail recipes.
Because the spritz is such a light drink, we like to use our Lemon Lavender apéritif to replace the traditional Italian Aperol spritz. We mix three ounces of Lemon Lavender Haus, two ounces of prosecco or champagne, a splash of sparkling water, and a twist of lemon. It’s perfect for sipping over a weekend brunch with friends or while reading a good book.
6. The Daiquiri
There aren’t many drinks that have the reputation of perfect cruise cocktail other than the daiquiri. Like the margarita, daiquiris can be served either over ice or blended. While there are many variations on the classic daiquiri, the base recipe requires two ounces of light rum, three-quarters of an ounce of simple syrup, and an ounce of lime juice.
The daiquiri is a classic summer cocktail because it is incredibly easy to make, and it’s delicious and refreshing on a hot day. However, rum does tend to be a common trigger for hangovers, so drink with caution as the cocktail doesn’t always taste as high in alcohol as it actually is.
Try a blended strawberry daiquiri if you prefer to break out your mixer instead of your cocktail shaker!
7. The Moscow Mule
The next drink we want to feature is the Moscow Mule, which has also gained popularity with its own special glass: the copper mug.
The copper mug is an excellent temperature conductor, so a Moscow Mule served in one will stay much colder for much longer, making it perfect for summer cocktails.
In addition to a copper mug, you need three ingredients — two ounces of vodka, three ounces of chilled ginger beer, and a lime or two to make a Moscow Mule. Serve with half a lime.
There are also multiple variations on the standard recipe. For instance, use tequila instead of vodka for a Mexican Mule or whiskey to make an Irish Mule. You can even substitute our Ginger Yuzu apéritif to take the spicy ginger flavor to another level.
8. The Gin Fizz
Gin doesn’t get as much love as other liquors, like tequila or vodka, but it is just as capable of being the star of any summer cocktail recipe.
One of the best ways to do that is by making a gin fizz. Keep in mind that, unlike the other recipes on our list, making a gin fizz does require the use of a raw egg. Because of that, there is a risk of salmonella if not handled safely. Always make these cocktails to order, and never let them sit out for long periods to minimize the risk.
To make a gin fizz, you need two ounces of your preferred gin, an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, three-quarters of an ounce of simple syrup, an egg white (or a half-ounce of pasteurized pre-separated egg whites), and club soda to top. Shake together for at least thirty seconds (until the egg white has gotten frothy) and serve!
Make sure to let your vegan guests know this cocktail contains egg whites ahead of time and have other options available for those who prefer not to drink anything with raw egg.
While rosé isn’t a cocktail on its own, it is still a quintessential summer drink. What makes rosé so exceptional is its ability to be enjoyed on its own or added to many different cocktails.
For instance, in addition to enjoying a cold glass of rosé, try using it in a sangria. All you need to do is mix two tablespoons of the liquor of your choice (commonly vodka), a few tablespoons of white sugar, a bottle of rosé (or our Rose Rosé), and whatever fruits you enjoy (fresh strawberries, blueberries, and oranges are popular). Let the flavors meld together in the refrigerator for at least half an hour, and serve!
If rosé isn’t your thing, try the same with a bottle of white wine or red wine.
You can also blend a bottle of rosé with ice and fresh strawberries (and optional lime juice) to make a “frosé,” which is even better on a hot summer day!
Having an arsenal of summer cocktails up your sleeve is a great way to be prepared for friends and family dropping by during the warmer months. After all, the best part about summer is the feeling that time just slows down, and we have more time to enjoy the things and people around us.
The same can be said for including more of the apéritif-style of thinking into your day-to-day life, which is our mission here at Haus. Cheers and have a great summer!