Summer is the perfect time to indulge the inner mixologist in you and experiment with some new and refreshing summer cocktails. Since summer is the season of picnics and barbecues, you can employ the help of your friends and family to try out some of your new recipes. Need some inspiration? Give these simple yet interesting summer drink recipes a try and see which one will become your drink of this sizzling summer season.
Here is an easy recipe for commonly used ingredient in many cocktails. Make it ahead and keep it on hand so you can whip up your favorites any time!
Simple syrup recipe
Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small pot. Place on low-medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool then place in a glass container with a lid. Refrigerate until needed. Warm to room temperature before using.
Classic Mint Julep
The Mint Julep is the drink associated with the Kentucky Derby, the legendary Thoroughbred horse race that takes place each May. Over 115,000 Mint Juleps are sold on Derby days alone at Churchill Downs.
Because there are only a few ingredients in the Mint Julep, it’s best to use high-quality bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark, Early Times, Old Forrester and Knob Creek. Also, there are loads of different varieties of mint, but Kentucky Colonel mint is the preferred type of mint to use.
- 6 fresh mint leaves
- 2 tbsp. simple syrup
- 3 oz. bourbon
- Crushed ice
Put 6 mint leaves in a highball glass. Using a muddler, mash the mint leaves well. Pour 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup into the glass, the add 3 ounces bourbon and stir to combine. Fill glass with crushed ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria
What could be more summery than sitting on your porch drinking some homemade sangria? Sangria is the ultimate summer cocktail especially since most recipes make enough for more than one. This recipe puts a delicious citrus twist on this summer punch and is a definite “must” for sharing with your closest friends at your next cook-out.
- 1 – 750 ml bottle Riesling
- 1 – 750 ml bottle Prosecco or dry Champagne
- 1 cup grapefruit juice
- ½ cup simple syrup (see recipe above)
- ½ cup club soda
- 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 grapefruit, cut into slices
Place strawberries and grapefruit into a large pitcher. Combine the remaining ingredients in a second pitcher then mixture on top of fruit. Refrigerate an hour or so before serving. Serves 4-6.
Watermelon-Basil Bramble Cocktail
No fruit invokes memories of summer like the juicy watermelon. There was nothing better as a kid than ice cold watermelon on a steamy hot summer day after an afternoon of swimming and tanning. This is a grown-up version sure to cool you off on any sunny summer day.
- 2 oz. good quality gin
- 1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 2 thick watermelon slices
- 2 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Pinch of salt
Cut the watermelon into 1 ½ inch chunks. Add the watermelon, basil and salt to a cocktail shaker. Mash with a muddler until mashed and soupy. Add gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Fill with ice and shake well–30 seconds or so. Pour into a glass and garnish with a small watermelon wedge and a sprig of basil.
The traditional mint is replaced by its savory cousin, sweet basil, but it’s the sweet essence of raspberry that makes this an extra-special mojito; one worth sharing. All you need is a pitcher of these fruity mojitos, some seasonal munchies, and a few of your favorite friends to have a party in the making.
- 1 cup simple syrup
- ½ cup torn sweet basil leaves
- Dash of sugar
- 1 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 2 cups white rum
- ¼ cup raspberry liqueur
- 1 liter club soda
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- One lime, sliced
(You will need 2-3 limes for this recipe to get enough freshly squeezed juice)
Pour the simple syrup into a large pitcher and add the torn basil leaves and a dash of sugar. Using a large wooden spoon, muddle the mint leaves and sugar to release the flavor of the mint leaves. Make sure to mash them well. Place raspberries and lime slices into the pitcher. Add the lime juice, rum and raspberry liqueur. Stir well. Add the club soda and stir. Refrigerate for an hour or more before serving.
To serve: Pour over ice and garnish each glass with fresh raspberries and lime slices. You can top with a sprig of mint.