11 of my Favorite Summer Cocktail Recipes

You guys, summer is at our doorstep. Well, hopefully it's at your doorstep, as here in Los Angeles the only thing at my doorstep is heavy marine layer. Be that as it may, it's time for one of my favorite seasons. Summer cocktail season!

Summer cocktails are my jam for a number of reason. Yes, they are delicious. But more than that, I feel like summer cocktails play so well into some of my favorite things, like summer farmers' market season and summer barbecues. Plus, they are often really easy to make into big batch cocktails. 

So to kick off summer, I'm coming with a round-up of some of my favorite summer cocktail recipes. 

11 Summer Cocktail Recipes


  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • .75 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ginger beer.

Or as I like to call it, the better, more complex whiskey take on a Moscow Mule, and a riff on the Whiskey Buck. This version comes from bartender Erick Castro. I love this summer bourbon cocktail recipe because I get to add one of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks, Bundaberg Ginger Beer. To make it, add all of the ingredients (except the ginger beer) to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a strawberry or other fruit of choice.


  • 3 oz. gin
  • 2 oz. simple syrup
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • Champagne (or cava)
  • Lemon to garnish

This maybe my favorite cocktail to order during the summer. It's refreshing, fun to say, and classy AF. My drink friend and Wine Enthusiast editor, Joey Hernandez, sent me the French 75 cocktail recipe he uses, which I like in part because he recommends Cava, which produces the same desired effect of champagne, but without breaking the bank. To make the French 75 cocktail, add the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a fancy glass, like a flute or coupe, and top with champagne (or Cava) and a lemon twist.


Smash of the Titans.jpg
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • .75 oz. simple syrup
  • .25 oz. lemon juice
  • 3 kumquats
  • Oregano leaves

I first had this a few years ago at Brooklyn's Clover Club, where the Smash of the Titans originated. If you can get your hands on kumquats, this is a cocktail that really bursts with flavor, especially for no more ingredients then it features. To make it, muddle the kumquats and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add in the bourbon, lemon juice, and ice and shake. Pour, unstrained, into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with oregano.


  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • .75 oz. peach simple syrup
  • .75 oz. lemon
  • 2 peach slices
  • Several mint leaves

This was the original cocktail of Whiskey Tango Globetrot. It's essentially your token whiskey smash cocktail, except instead of using regular simple syrup, I made a peach-infused simple syrup. To do this, you take the typical simple syrup recipe (equal parts water and sugar to a boil), and then bring it to boil with slices from a couple peaches, crushing the peaches once it's come to a boil to release its juice. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes.

Once it's cooled and you're ready to make a cocktail, you'll muddle the peach slices and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients with ice and then shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint and peach slices.


Berry Mojito

  • 2 oz. light rum
  • .75 oz. lime juice
  • 1-2 tsp. sugar
  • Several mint leaves
  • Few of your favorite berries
  • Club soda

The mojito has really become one of my favorite classic summer cocktails. Except I usually like adding a few berries, like blueberries. Many mojito recipes call for simple syrup, though I like using superfine sugar since it captures the essence of the original mojito. You'll crush the mint, sugar, and half the blueberries at the bottom of a glass to release the oils before adding lime juice and ice to stir. Add rum and stir again before topping with club soda and the rest of the blueberries and mint for garnish.



  • 2 oz. Pimm's
  • .5 oz. gin
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • .5 oz. rhubarb simple syrup
  • Ginger beer
  • Optional for garnish: Strawberries, cucumber, basil

This may just be one of my favorite cocktail creations of all time. It's basically like a farmers' market in a glass, and it's so refreshingly delicious (read dangerous). 

To make this version of a Pimm's Cup, you'll add the Pimm's, gin, lemon juice and rhubarb simple syrup (this rhubarb simply syrup recipe on The Kitchn is a good starting place) to a glass with ice and stir. Top with one to two ounces of ginger beer (I prefer Bundaberg for this cocktail) and add a few of your favorite summer fruits and herbs, which in this case, I like strawberries, mint and cucumber.



  • 2 oz. tequila
  • .5 oz. lime juice
  • Grapefruit soda (Bundaberg's sparkling grapefruit soda, in this case)
  • Grapefruit for garnish

This is my tequila cocktail. Yes, I love a margarita, and the many variations of it, but I really gravitate to the Paloma because of the grapefruit. Plus, it's basically healthy for you since there's no sweetener in it, right? For this version of a Paloma cocktail, I prefer Bundaberg's grapefruit soda, which can be hard to find, but is worth it in this drink. Combine the tequila and lime juice to a glass with ice and stir. Top with grapefruit soda and garnish with a slice of grapefruit.


California Margarita

  • 2 oz. tequila
  • .75 oz. lime juice
  • .75 oz. Grand Marnier
  • .25 oz. dry red wine, floated on top
  • splash of agave
  • Lime, to garnish

Margaritas are one of my favorite cocktails to play around with, and of all my margarita riffs, this is my favorite. You make it much like a traditional margarita, adding the tequila, lime juice, Grand Marnier, and splash of agave to a cocktail shaker with ice to shake. Strain the drink over ice into a rocks glass before adding the secret ingredient, a red wine float. To add the red wine float, take a small spoon, turn it over, and hold it over the top of the drink. Then slowly pour the red wine over the back of the spoon.

Margarita recipe.jpeg


  • 1.5 oz. of your favorite spirit
  • .75 oz. lemon or lime juice
  • 2 spoonfuls of your favorite jam (In this most recent case, strawberry rhubarb)
  • Garnish with fruit/herb of your choice

This cocktail is so incredibly easy and delicious, and requires three ingredients, all of which you probably already have. It's essentially a sour, except instead of simple syrup, you use a couple spoonfuls of your favorite jam. To make it, add the jam to a cocktail shaker and muddle. Then add the lemon or lime and spirit of choice into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with your favorite fruit and/or herb.

Whiskey cocktail


  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Mint

The Mint Julep is arguably the bourbon drink of summer. This version of a Mint Julep comes from David Wondrich, one of the foremost cocktail historians (yes, cocktail historians is a thing). To make it, place a few mint leaves in a pre-chilled glass and add sugar and muddle. Then pack glass with crushed ice and pour in bourbon. Stir briskly until the glass starts to frost. Add more crushed ice and stir. Garnish with mint leaves.

Port & Tonic

  • 2 parts tonic
  • 1 part dry white port
  • Lemon wedge

This may just be my favorite cocktail that I've brought back from abroad, which I discovered last year on my first trip to Portugal. I'm now obsessed. As the name presumes, it's really just a G&T, except instead of gin it uses extra dry white port. While dry white port can be hard to find, it's worth it for this delicious cocktail. To make it, you'll fill a glass with ice and add 2 parts tonic for every 1 part of port. Squeeze a a wedge of lemon that you then drop into the glass, and that's it! I also like adding some herbaceous garnishes, like a couple slices of cucumber and basil. 


What are your favorite summer cocktail recipes?