Summer is the season of day drinking, whether you’re stuck in a hot city in the northern hemisphere, taking a weekend at the beach, or escaping the cold in the south and heading to a tropical oasis. On a hot day (or night) there’s nothing quite as satisfying as an icy cold, refreshing and zesty cocktail—even if you’re dripping in sweat and getting sand in your eyes. From rum to gin, tequila and even whiskey, we have collected some of our favorite summery cocktails for all levels of skill, effort and ingredients so you can sip your way through the schvitz and make the most of the stifling heat.
Developed by the team at Boodles Gin, a fragrant London Dry that’s crisp enough for a martini but makes for a good fit in most gin cocktails, the Salted Negroni utilizes nuance to a powerful effect. A small pinch of sea salt lends the drink its name, but it’s grapefruit juice that partners with the gin’s citrus notes to balance with the Campari.
1.5 oz Boodles Gin
.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
.75 oz Campari
1 oz grapefruit juice
2 oz soda water
Quickly shake gin, vermouth, Campari, grapefruit juice and a small pinch of sea salt. Strain in Collins glass over ice and soda water. Add another small pinch of sea salt and garnish with long grapefruit peel.
A refreshing variation on the Michelada developed by the team at Cosme, the Mezcalada offers a thorough bite. The addition of sour gose-style beer allows for a smooth, rich body to the cocktail but at the core is mezcal and spice.
1 oz Creyente mezcal
.75 oz Michelada mix
Top with Evil Twin Geyser gose beer
Garnish with worm salt
Shake Creyente mezcal and Michelada mix on ice and pour into a worm salt rimmed glass. Top with gose beer and serve.
This isn’t a frozen watermelon concoction. Rather, the Rubio (from NYC’s Tacombi at Café el Presidente, where they’ve built cocktails around the juice they press fresh daily) uses fresh pressed watermelon juice, lending a vibrant, fruit-filled sip. Tequila makes for the most appropriate base alcohol. Respectable watermelon cocktails are rare, but this one lands it.
2 oz watermelon juice
1.5 oz tequila blanco (Herradura is recommended)
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz agave
Shake. Pour over ice and serve with a lime wheel garnish.
Developed by Ivy Mix, co-owner of Leyenda—a new Pan-Latin cocktail bar also owned by Clover Club’s Julie Reiner—the Shadow Boxer matches Yaguara Cachaça with Campari in a powerful way. This is a fruity, spicy cocktail made with nuance and there’s really nothing else quite like it—thanks especially to the apricot and grapefruit notes.
1.5 oz Yaguara Cachaça
.75 oz Campari
.75 oz Dolin dry vermouth
.25 oz Blume Apricot Eau de Vie
.25 oz Giffard Pamplemousse
Stir and serve on the rocks with an orange twist.
Featured at contemporary tiki haven Mother of Pearl, and created by Jane Danger, the Spring Tea maximizes rhubarb, matcha tea powder and Aperol to great affect. This is another complex recipe, developed by a mastermind, but for anyone with an educated palate that likes to have fun, the gin acts as a launch pad toward something truly special.
1.25 oz Aviation American Gin
.75 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz cane syrup
.5 oz Aperol
.75 oz rhubarb compote or purée
Matcha tea powder and apple blossoms, for garnish
Add gin, lemon and cane syrup into a shaking tin and whip shake. Set aside. In a Collins glass, add Aperol and rhubarb compote or purée, then fill glass with crushed ice. Pour reserved cocktail in tin into Collins glass, and dust liberally with matcha tea powder and apple blossoms. To make your own rhubarb compote, combine one pound rhubarb with one quart of sugar and one quart of water in a saucepan. Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat, and purée until smooth.
The Sunset Sour
Created by Micaela Piccolo of Tribeca’s Distilled, the Sunset Sour reimagines the potential of the whiskey sour. Bourbon, egg white and fresh lemon juice play an important role, but Piccolo adds Frangelico to the mix, for a nice nuttiness throughout the drink. The hazelnut is a delightful addition in concert with the drink’s creaminess—and yet, the citrus stands strong enough to refresh the tastebuds.
1.25 parts Wild Turkey bourbon
.5 part Frangelico
1 part fresh lemon juice
.5 part spiced simple syrup
The whites of one egg
In a shaker tin, add all the ingredients. Lock your shaker tin and dry whip the cocktail for about 10 seconds cooking the egg using the lemon juice acidity. Open the tin and add ice. Shake again for temperature and dilution for about 10 seconds. Strain into a sour glass. Garnish with a touch of freshly grated nutmeg and serve.
For the first time ever, Ireland’s 12-year-old Single Pot Still Yellow Spot has made its way to the US. For its stateside debut, the bartenders at NYC’s Dead Rabbit crafted the Tiny Riot to accent both its honey sweetness and supple spiciness.
1.5 oz Yellow Spot
2 dashes Regan’s 6 orange bitters
0.25 oz Earl Grey tea syrup (2:1 cane sugar)
0.25 oz Byrrh
0.5 oz Cardamaro
Shake all ingredients together and serve in a champagne flute.
Created by Macao’s Danilo Bozovic, the Lucy June introduces the sweetness of a thick pear purée and simple syrup to the acidity of fresh lemon juice. Three dashes of Dale DeGoff’s Pimento bitters create an all-spice sensation, and Brugal Extra Dry Rum is included as the unifying factor.
2 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
1.5 oz. Boiron Pear Purée
.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
.5 oz. Enriched simple syrup
3 dashes of Dale DeGroff Pimento bitters
Shake first four ingredients together, strain over ice in a coupe glass. Finish with three dashes of pimento bitters.
Hero image by David Graver, all others courtesy of respective brands