Summer is almost in full swing, and we’re starting to prepare our liquor cabinets and bar carts for the balmy months ahead. Here are five of our favorite summer cocktail recipes, each with a little inspiration or background from some of our favorite destinations.
Americans might be more familiar with the margarita, but the most popular tequila drink south of the border is actually its grapefruit-infused cousin, the Paloma. You’ll find it in any bar throughout Mexico, from Cabo to Riviera Maya, but it’s simple to make at home. Combine 2 ounces of tequila, grapefruit juice, and soda water, plus a half-ounce each of lime juice and agave nectar for a refreshing, Mexican-inspired cool-down.
Turn your back patio into a Venetian getaway with this classic summer cocktail. This refreshing concoction has recently risen in popularity stateside, but the Aperol Spritz in its modern form can trace its roots back to Venice in 1919 with the creation of its signature liqueur: Aperol’s flavors of burnt orange and bitter herb lend themselves nicely to the sweetness of prosecco. Craft this refreshing classic with equal parts Aperol and prosecco with a splash of soda water.
Let your inner child out as the heat picks up with this sweet, vibrant drink—it reminds us of childhood summers long ago and neon pitchers of Koolaid. This electric blue concoction was created by Waikiki bartender Harry Yee in 1957; he would allegedly hold the drink up to the ocean to ensure it was paying accurate homage to the water’s aquamarine hue. Blend an ounce of light rum, ounce of blue curaçao, and 2 ounces of pineapple juice to create the Blue Hawaiian. (Garnish with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry if you’re feeling fancy.)
If you’re craving a retreat to the sun-dappled fields of Provence, this floral cocktail might be right up your alley. We love the warm sweetness of St. Germain, a French liqueur infused with 1,000 elderflower blossoms in every bottle (or so its website claims). This classic twist on a gin gimlet makes for the perfect refreshing summer treat. Shake 4 tablespoons of gin, 3 tablespoons of St. Germain, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice with a handful of ice to create this French-infused cocktail.
Transport yourself to the streets of Barcelona or Madrid with this classic summer cocktail (a must-try for visitors to Spain, though Spaniards themselves allegedly don’t drink it very often). Though there are endless ways to make sangria, our version involves combining half of a medium apple and orange, 3 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, three-quarters of a cup of orange, a third of a cup of brandy, and one bottle of dry red wine into a pitcher. Muddle the fruit, stir it all, and add a cup of ice for four servings of this sweet, Spanish-inspired refreshment.