While fall is right around the corner, the summer vibe is alive and strong at Uproxx. We’re not ready to let go of the hazy summer days spent in flip-flops while we sip cocktails in favor of warm sweaters and pumpkin-spiced beer. That’s why today we’re going to highlight some refreshing summer cocktails while we still have the time — the days of summer 2022 might be numbered, but there’s more than enough time to enjoy cocktails mixed with gin, tequila, mezcal, rum, and any number of fruity, thirst-quenching mixers.
We asked a handful of well-known bartenders to tell us their best, most refreshing cocktail recipes to finish off this epic summer. They definitely didn’t disappoint. Keep reading to see them all– then get mixing!
“Inspired by Jane Goodall, famed conservationist known for her work with primates. This simple frozen floral lemonade is a perfect drink to cool down during the hot Nashville summer days.”
– Colby Mitchell, director of food and beverage at Holston House in Nashville
- 2 oz. of Tito’s vodka
- 0.25 oz. of Giffard Pamplemousse
- 0.25 oz. of lemon juice
- 0.25 oz. of lavender syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish it with an edible flower.
“A lesser-known alternative to the Margarita, the fruit-forward ‘Firing Squad’ takes center stage on warm summer evenings. Incorporating the bright and vegetal flavors of a Blanco Tequila with the berry notes of grenadine and the aromatic spices.”
– Lacy Hodum, food and beverage manager at Central Station in Memphis
- 2 oz. blanco tequila
- 0.75 oz. lime juice
- 0.75 oz. grenadine
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into a coupe classic with a single, medium ice cube with a twist of lime.
Jungle Bird Julep
“At Tack Room, we make riffs on classics that are best sipped to the tunes of our live piano performances. The original Jungle Bird is a fruity, bitter, funky rum cocktail. We wanted to pay homage to this cocktail while making it a little less bitter and more refreshing. We also love a good Julep, so we started with crushed ice, added a little sherry, cinnamon, swapped in Aperol and gin, and garnished with a mint sprig for a delicious summer sipper.”
– Adrian Romas, head bartender at Tack Room in Chicago
- 1 oz. Letherbee Gin
- .5 oz. Aperol
- .5 oz. Lustau Oloroso Don Nuno
- .5 oz. cinnamon syrup
- .5 oz. pineapple juice
- .25 oz. lime juice
In a glass filled with crushed ice, add sherry, cinnamon syrup, gin, and the other ingredients. Stir it and garnish it with a mint sprig.
“The mango mule is the perfect summer cocktail to sip while out on our patio during those hot summer days. It’s a completely refreshing take on a classic cocktail.”
– Chris Ray, director of restaurants at the Tampa Marriott Water Street in Tampa, Florida
- 1.5 oz. Titos Vodka
- 2 oz. Ginger beer
- .5 oz. mango puree
- .5 oz. lime juice
Add mango purée, ice, vodka, and lime juice, to shaker and shake for ten seconds Pour into a copper mug and top with ginger beer. Garnish with fresh mint & a lime wedge.
“This vibrant & juicy cocktail makes good use of the surplus of grapefruit juice we end up with and also employs the use of one of our ‘secret weapon’ ingredients – tea. First, we steep a fragrant jasmine tea into grapefruit juice and reduce it down with sugar. Next, we simply soak hibiscus flowers into a local London dry-style gin and shake it all up with a touch of elderflower liqueur and lemon juice. Named after the phrase from ‘Luca’ that the main character uses to silence the inner nay-sayer, we like to think this playful drink channels that type of irreverence and undoubtedly gives one a little liquid courage.”
– Nick Sinutko, bar manager at Campfire in Carlsbad, California
- 1.5 oz. hibiscus-infused gin
- .5 oz. elderflower liqueur
- .5 oz. grapefruit and jasmine reduction
- .75 oz. lemon juice
Soak hibiscus flowers in London-dry gin and add elderflower liqueur and lemon juice. Shake it up and strain it into a chilled glass.
The Royal Splash
“This was inspired by the one and only ‘Miami Heat’ with its’ refreshing Miami vibe with a twist. Rum, tequila, and a ton of fruit juices. What more could you want in a summery cocktail?”
– Fernando Velazques, bartender at Kimpton Surfcomber’s High Tide Beach Bar & Grill in Miami
- 1 oz. Malibu rum
- 1.5 oz. El Jimador tequila
- 0.25 oz. melon liqueur
- 1 oz. pineapple juice
- 0.5 oz. lime juice
- 0.5 oz. simple syrup
Shake all the ingredients and then pour them into an ice-filled highball glass.
“Kind of a riff on a New York sour, with a spirit long relegated to the back bar since the 80s. Midori melon liqueur, gin, parsley simple, lemon with a splash of OJ, and a red wine float. Sweet melon, citrus, peppery and red wine to cut through it.”
– Shawn Miller, beverage director at Forsythia in Philadelphia
- 1.5 oz. Midori
- .5 oz. gin
- .75 oz. lemon
- .25 oz. orange juice
- .25 oz. parsley simple syrup
- Red wine float
Shake and double strain all ingredients, top with ice, and slowly float a fruit-forward red wine on top.
“One of my favorite summer drinks is our version of the classic British cocktail Pimm’s Cup, which we make with vodka, Jägermeister, cucumber, lemon, strawberry, fresh mint from our onsite herb garden, and a touch of ginger ale. It’s refreshing, slightly effervescent, and can be garnished with any farmer’s market fruit for color and taste – we prefer strawberry and mint for the summer.”
– Joshua Monaghan, bartender at Zapote Bar in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
- 4 oz. ginger ale
- .5 oz. lemon juice
- .5 oz. ginger syrup
- .5 oz. cucumber juice
- .5 oz. strawberry purée
- .5 oz. vodka
- .5 oz. Jägermeister
- 1 cucumber slice
- 1 Valencia orange crescent
- .5 strawberry
- Fresh mint
Shake all ingredients (except the ginger ale) in a shaker with ice vigorously for 3-5 minutes until properly mixed and chilled. Strain into a large highball glass filled with ice, then add the ginger ale and softly stir with a bar spoon. Garnish with mint, orange, cucumber, and strawberry.
“Named in honor of the Quilt Museum in Paducah, this cocktail is a conglomeration of a bunch of things that make one complete and beautiful end product like a quilt. It’s a completely balanced flavor bomb. All the fresh flavors work perfectly in tandem with the spirits.”
– Sara Bradley, owner/proprietor of Freight House in Paducah, Kentucky
- 2 fresh strawberries
- 3-4 basil leaves
- 1 oz. cognac
- 1 oz. mezcal
- .75 oz. lemon juice
- .5 oz. Cointreau
- .5 oz. simple syrup
Add strawberries and basil leaves and muddle together. Add all other ingredients and shake. Double strain and pour over a large ice cube. Garnish with a basil leaf.
“A continued guest favorite on our summer menus is the Sneaky Tiki. It’s an elevated take on a traditional Blue Hawaiian, made with Pineapple Rum, Blue Curacao, Rum Jumbie Liqueur, Velvet Falernum, and Allspice Dram. With the additions of guava, pineapple, and lime juice, it’s a great drink to cool off from the summer heat”.
– Allen Lancaster, master cocktail craftsman at The Bar at The Spectator Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina
- 1.5 oz. pineapple um
- .75 oz. Giffard Blue Curacao
- .5 oz. Rum Jumbie Liqueur
- .5 oz. Velvet Falernum
- .75 oz. St Elizabeth All Spice Dram
- 1 oz. guava puree
- .5 oz. pineapple juice
- .75 oz. fresh lime juice
- 2 dashes Tiki Bitters
- Orange/Cherry Skewer
Combine all ingredients into shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Pour contents into Tiki glass and garnish with skewered orange slice/cherry.
“This cocktail is super balanced and the mezcal and pisco pair so well together. It’s still the perfect amount of smoke and citrus. The Breckenridge helps cut the sweetness of the orgeat in a perfect way. This cocktail is a summer crusher as well as a fall favorite sitting by the fire. The best part is the garnish: a Fox stencil. Because a fox is everyone’s spirit animal.”
– Amanda Phelps, beverage operations supervisor at Frannie & The Fox in Charleston, South Carolina
- 1 oz. Ilegal Joven Mezcal
- 1 oz. Barsol quebranta Pisco
- .25 oz. Breckenridge bitters
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- .5 oz. orgeat
- 1 oz. egg white
Add all ingredients into a shaker, dry shake, add ice, and wet shake. Double strain into a coupe glass.
“This botanical summer cocktail is a must-try at Agave Caliente. The butterfly pea blossoms give Empress Gin a distinct indigo hue. Add in citrus and cucumber which paired together results in a unique, refreshing taste, and this lightly floral mixology is enough to cool you down in the Summer heat.”
– Melissa Smith, mixologist at Agave Caliente Tequila Bar in Cathedral City, California
- 1.5 oz. Empress Gin
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- .75 oz. simple syrup
- 2 muddled slices of cucumber
Shake and strain into Collins glass, top with soda water. Garnish with cucumber.
White Gold Picador
“Few drinks are more refreshing in summer than the Margarita – regardless of if frozen or on the rocks. This riff utilizes delicious Californian Oro Blanco grapefruits and high-quality tequila to really make it pop.”
– Adam Montgomerie, bar manager at Hawksmoor in New York City
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 1 oz. lime juice
- .5 oz. Oro Blanco Sherbet
- .5 oz. Velvet Falernum
- 1.5 oz. El Tesoro Blanco Tequila
Add all ingredients to a cocktail tin and shake with ice. Strain into chilled rocks glass over a single block of ice and garnish with a slice of Oro Blanco grapefruit.