Heat up the grill, start up the music, and dust off the patio furniture: It’s time to entertain outdoors! You’ll need a signature drink for those long summer afternoons and evenings. Whether it’s to cool you down poolside, or to serve at your backyard festivity, a new beverage will kick your summer soirées up a notch — and we’ve found 15 of the best patio-worthy cocktails for you to try.
Blackberry bourbon lemonade
Lemonade is a natural go-to thirst quencher, known for its ability to refresh and revive — and the best lemonade recipes balance lip-puckering sourness with sweetness. Variations are endless, but in this one, Jessica Gavin combines lemonade with blackberries and bourbon for a delightful, sophisticated patio cocktail.
This blackberry bourbon lemonade is made with blackberries, a bit of lemon juice, mint leaves, and a touch of brown sugar for sweetness. Of course, you can stop here for a mocktail; however, for the full cocktail, add the bourbon and shake. Once you pour it over ice, you’ll have a delicious and easy-to-drink beverage to enjoy all summer.
Easy strawberry piña colada
Strawberry piña coladas have a beautiful look to them: frosty glasses filled with pink, frothy goodness. If you’re thinking that they’re too difficult to make at home, Divas Can Cook has a recipe that’ll change your mind.
This easy strawberry pina colada starts with strawberries that are blended and set aside. Next, you’ll combine coconut cream with pineapple juice and half-and-half, then blend it up with ice. When you’re ready to serve your drinks, spoon some of the strawberries into each glass, then swirl in some of coconut and pineapple mixture. Keep it virgin, or add an ounce or more of rum.
Next up is Budget Bytes’ economical take on a Tom Collins with this gin cooler. The Tom Collins — made of sparkling lemonade and gin served in a tall, thin glass — has been around for about 150 years. It’s a classic, fresh and easy cocktail.
To make this sipper, stir together lemon juice, water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the shot of gin, then garnish with cucumbers and lemons to enhance the gin’s flavor and to balance out the lemon juice. If you find you’re missing the carbonation, add a splash of lemon-flavored or plain soda water.
Mojitos are all the rage, with their muddling of mint, sugar, and lime juice poured together with rum and soda water. It’s tough to improve on such a great drink; however, this blackberry mojito is a tasty variation. Rasa Malaysia muddles blackberries along with the mint, sugar and lime juice for a fresh, fruity flavor and beautiful color. She uses vodka rather than the traditional rum, but either will work.
This aloha screwdriver from What the Fork adds pineapple juice to the traditional vodka and orange juice combo. One taste, and you’ll wonder why it hasn’t it been done before. The pineapple juice adds a tropical element that deserves a little paper umbrella.
Cilantro-infused spicy jalapeño Margaritas
These cilantro-infused spicy jalepeno Margaritas pack a little unexpected but welcome zip. Begin by steeping cilantro leaves in Powell and Mahoney’s Margarita mix for about two hours, then discard the leaves. (If you’re not partial to cilantro, just skip this step.)
To serve, coat the rim of the serving glass with lime juice and then coarse salt. Pour the tequila into the jalepeño Margarita mix, and shake with ice. Of course, you can blend the mixture with ice for a frozen beverage. Finish with a garnish of jalepeños and limes for a photo-ready drink. You’ll find the Margarita mix at wine and liquor stores.
Sparkling strawberry mojito
Is there anything more refreshing than a fruity, icy beverage? For this sparkling strawberry mojito, muddle sugar with strawberries, mint and lime juice — sweet and sour flavors that play off each other beautifully. Add the rum, shake, pour over crushed ice, and marvel at the beauty of this tasty drink.
White peach sangria
The white peach is an incredibly delicate fruit, with juice that’s light and sweet. The white peach season is pretty short, so be quick to grab them once they start showing up at grocery stores, and make this white peach sangria from Celebrations at Home. Slice up those white peaches and freeze for sangria all year long!
This white peach sangria is made with pinot grigio, peach schnapps, peach nectar, pink lemonade concentrate, frozen peach slices and frozen mixed berries. When it’s all combined, the result is a light, fruity drink that’s hard to pass up.
Strawberry banana daiquiri
Cousin to the piña colada, the daiquiri is typically made with rum, citrus and sugar but not the coconut cream of the former — resulting in a much lighter cocktail. This strawberry banana daiquiri by We Are Not Martha is a sweet smoothie-like take on the classic, using Bacardi’s Light Strawberry Daiquiri mix. The mix is blended with ice, half a banana, a handful of strawberries and a bit of orange juice. If you don’t have the Bacardi mix, just substitute rum and sugar.
Just peachy champagne spritzer
Peaches don’t have a long off-the-vine life, but they do freeze well. That makes them easy to incorporate into recipes, especially smoothies and drinks like this just peachy champagne spritzer from Wild Orchard. White wine, champagne and peach schnapps are stirred together and then garnished with raspberries, mint and, of course, peach slices. This summer-fresh drink is a patio-worthy cocktail if there ever was one.
The (Moscow) Maui mule
Here’s a beverage that looks as good as it tastes. This beautifully colored (Moscow) Maui mule from The Crumby Kitchen calls for Kinky Pink vodka, regular vodka, lime juice and hard ginger beer. The gorgeous blue color comes from liquid butterfly pea flower extract. Just freeze water with a drop of the flower coloring, then crush. Layer the colored ice on top of the cocktail, and watch the colors meld together.
Raspberry cheesecake martini
This raspberry cheesecake martini from Inspired by Charm is essentially a dessert in a glass. A martini glass rim coated with crushed graham crackers is the “crust,” and boozy cheesecake mix is poured in. If it sounds weird, give it a try anyway; we promise you’ll love the combination. Dip the rim of the martini glass in honey and then graham crackers. Fill the glass with a mixture of whipped vodka, amaretto, Irish cream liquor and half-and-half. Sweet and filling, this drink is a satisfying finish to a light meal on the patio.
This emerald rain cocktail from Mix That Drink is a beautiful green color owing to a mixture of Hpnotiq, vodka, orange juice and lime. It’s a lesson in color mixing: Blue plus orange make green. Hpnotiq is a relatively new creation made from vodka, cognac and fruit juices. The creator was a college dropout living with his parents; he was inspired to come up with a blue liquor after seeing a blue perfume at Bloomingdales.
White wine elderflower sangria
Sangria gets a new spin in this white wine elderflower sangria from Tablespoon. Sangria is typically made with wine, a liquor and fresh fruit. With those parameters, the variations are endless. This sangria uses white wine, fresh fruit and elderflower liqueur, such as St. Germain. This combination yields a fresh, light, flowery flavor that’s a great option for sipping poolside or when you’re hosting friends for backyard barbecues. Some might argue that the blackberries, blueberries, pear and apple in this sangria make this beverage a meal. We won’t judge.
Cherry Mai Tai cocktail
Mai Tais are reminiscent of long, warm days on Waikiki or memories of a honeymoon trip to the Caribbean. Recreate the memory and make this cherry Mai Tai cocktail from Drink Wire. Mai Tais are made with several different kinds of rum, triple sec, orgeat syrup and lime. This creation calls for a cherry liqueur called Sangue Morlacco, which gives a warm, velvety cherry flavor.
The most difficult step in this drink is making your own orgeat syrup from almonds, sugar and water. The almonds are finely ground and then boiled with the sugar and the water. The mixture is then strained through a cheesecloth, resulting in a heavenly-smelling syrup. Use as much or as little of the syrup as you like: You just can’t go wrong with such an evocative drink.