The key for the best summer alcoholic drinks is a refreshing taste. Summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables gives you numerous options for creating cocktails that are not only tasty but pleasing to see. You can also create a tropical feel with exotic ingredients to give your summer cocktails your own unique take.
Fresh Fruit Harvest
You can make any cocktail more special with the addition of fresh fruits. Using a base of vodka, you can try muddling some fruits and other additions for a burst of flavor. Muddling is the process of crushing or simply bruising fruits and herbs using a tool called a muddler. The muddler resembles the pestle of a mortar and pestle, typically made out of wood or steel.
You can create a wide array of summer cocktails muddling any of the following and mixing it with an ounce or two of vodka:
You can top off your drink with a splash of seltzer water. You can also sweeten it to your taste with a teaspoon or more of simple syrup. A basic recipe for which you can interchange ingredients includes:
Watermelon Vodka Cocktail
- 2 ounces vodka
- 2-inch slice of lime peel, not including white pith
- 4 to 5 cubes of seeded watermelon
- Seltzer water
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup (optional)
- Crushed ice
Muddle the lime and watermelon in a cocktail shaker. Next, add the vodka and the simple syrup (if you're using it), along with ice. Give it a quick shake. Next, strain into a highball glass and top with seltzer water. You can vary the mix with cucumber, mint and lime or blueberries, mint and lime.
Variations of Classics
The availability of fresh fruits gives you all kinds of possibilities for creating variations of common summer drinks. You can mix up a batch of margaritas flavored with fresh fruit such as raspberries, grapefruit or pineapple. The daiquiri recipe of rum, lime and simple syrup offers a similar base for new takes on this classic cocktail:
- 2 ounces rum
- 1 to 2 teaspoons simple syrup
- Juice from 1/2 of lime
- 2 ounces strawberries
- 2-inch section of banana, diced
Put all the ingredients into a blender and puree until well mixed. Pour into a cocktail glass. A few sliced strawberries and banana will make a nice garnish. You can also make your own variations by using other fruits such as raspberries and lime or strawberries and melon.
Summer provides the perfect backdrop for the best summer alcoholic drinks with a tropical flavor. The Mojito is a quintessential summer drink that features lime and muddled mint. However, you can make your own tropical twist on this classic using mango nectar with a bit orange juice and muddled orange and lemon peel.
You can also go for something more exotic to capture the tropical feel. For an exotic touch, you can add different types of fruits, such as passionfruit puree for a burst of tropical goodness. Looking for something more citrus based? Trying adding freshly squeezed orange juice with delicious pineapple for a drink sure to keep you cool during a hot summer day.
If you're looking for a more straightforward drink, you can't beat the taste of the classic Dark and Stormy, originally from Bermuda.
Dark and Stormy
- 2 ounces dark rum
- Lime wedge
- Ginger beer
Pour the rum into a rocks glass with ice. Add a squeeze of lime and top with ginger beer. Note that the drink calls for ginger beer and not ginger ale. Ginger beer has a fuller flavor with a bite that you may appreciate. Combined with the smoothness of the dark rum, it provides a refreshing way to spend a sultry, summer night.
Classic Southern Cocktails
You may also find inspiration for a summer cocktail party down south. Classic southern cocktails offer taste sensations on their own or as the inspiration for new makeovers. The mint julep is a refreshing cocktail that combines the fresh flavor of muddled mint with the smoky taste of bourbon. For an updated twist, try using different types of whiskey and experiment with other herbs such as muddled basil.
A discussion of classic southern cocktails would not be complete without mentioning one of the most famous of New Orleans cocktails, the Hurricane. The original version is a delightful blend of fresh fruit and rums. Variations include vodka, gin, and other liquors which perhaps reflect its name more accurately.
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1 ounce dark rum
- 1 ounce triple sec
- 1 ounce grapefruit juice
- 1 ounce pineapple juice
- Splash of grenadine
Put all ingredients into a hurricane glass in the order given for a colorful presentation. Finish with a squeeze of lime.
The Best Summer Has to Offer
Summer cocktails offer you a refreshing way to cool off and enjoy the bounty of fresh produce available during the season. The addition of bright colors and delicious scents will give your drinks a new world of sensory appeal. Your seasonal cocktail recipes will make your summer evenings more enjoyable.