23 Refreshing Summer Cocktails To Enjoy On A Hot Day

Enhancing a summer day's relaxation seems almost impossible; the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze already create a near-perfect setting. However, there is one addition that can elevate this tranquility to an unparalleled level of enjoyment: a delicious cocktail. Holding a meticulously crafted drink can transform a beautiful day into an idyllic moment of leisure. Yet, not just any cocktail will do. For those cherished summer moments basking in the sunshine, you need a beverage that's as invigorating as it is flavorful.

Thankfully, the world of cocktails offers a vast array of choices to quench your thirst. Admittedly, a significant number of these options lean toward the fruity and sweet spectrum, potentially narrowing the selection for those with a palate favoring less sugary concoctions. Even so, venturing into the realm of refreshing cocktails, regardless of their ingredients, presents an exciting opportunity to discover new favorites. Whether your preference lies with the sweet, the tangy, or the dry, there's always room for experimentation and delight in the quest for the perfect summer drink.

1. Upgraded Honey Deuce Punch

We love an unexpected new favorite cocktail, and with the intriguing ingredients in this honey deuce punch, it's shaping up to be a refreshing summer staple. You'll need a ripe honeydew melon, so plan a bit ahead to ensure the fruit is perfectly ripe.

The process begins with creating melon balls, which is far simpler with a melon baller. Make sure you have one on hand. After scooping out a few melon balls, blend the remaining honeydew melon flesh and strain the puree to create a juice-like consistency. Pour this over a glass filled with ice. Then, layer in vodka, lemonade, and finally, Chambord liqueur as a floater. For those who prefer, substituting gin for vodka makes for a delightful twist. Either way, you'll be left with a visually striking pink-and-green drink.

Recipe: Upgraded Honey Deuce Punch

2. Hemingway Daiquiri

If you're a book lover with a collection of Ernest Hemingway novels, you're likely aware of the author's penchant for a good cocktail. This daiquiri is a tribute to Hemingway, putting a delightful twist on the classic recipe.

Start by adding rum and maraschino liqueur to your shaker, along with ice and freshly squeezed lime and grapefruit juice — for the best flavor, always use fresh citrus. Shake vigorously until the shaker feels icy cold to the touch. Then, strain the cocktail into a glass. We recommend garnishing with a lime wedge on the rim for the perfect finishing touch.

Recipe: Hemingway Daiquiri

3. Creamy Frozen Watermelon Cocktail

In the peak of summer, there's scarcely anything more refreshing than enjoying a juicy watermelon wedge on your front porch. If you find yourself with an abundance of ripe watermelon and are looking to make creative use of it, a frozen watermelon drink might be exactly what you need.

Start by preparing frozen watermelon chunks: Cube the watermelon and freeze the pieces. Once frozen, blend them with pink gin, peach schnapps, fresh lime juice, and grenadine. After the initial blend, add some coconut milk, and blend once more for an even smoother, creamier texture.

Recipe: Creamy Frozen Watermelon Cocktail

4. Homemade Crema Di Limoncello

Though some of our favorite drinks are ready in a flash, crema di limoncello takes some time. You'll begin the whole process by using a vegetable peeler to peel lemons so that you have the rinds, and then allowing those to steep in Everclear for about four weeks. If you love a strongly lemon-flavored drink, aiming for the four weeks is best, but the steeping time can be minimized to a week if needed.

When you can't resist holding off on opening the jar much longer, make a cream syrup that comes together in about five minutes — a dedicated five minutes at your stove. From there, you combine your lemon syrup and lemon alcohol together, and share with the people you love.

Recipe: Homemade Crema Di Limoncello

5. Watermelon Mojito Cocktail

If there's one thing we know about mojitos, it's that they're best enjoyed with company. For another refreshing twist on the watermelon cocktail, elevate your favorite mojito to new heights of refreshment.

Start by either blending or juicing watermelon cubes, then add your watermelon juice along with the other essential mojito ingredients into a pitcher. Pour over ice and sip those sweet summer days away. We recommend keeping extra mint on hand, so you can amplify that signature mojito vibe.

Recipe: Watermelon Mojito Cocktail

6. Summertime Peach Whiskey Smash

We're fans of cocktails that come with an action plan, and the peach whiskey smash is as enjoyable to create as it is to sip. You'll start by slicing up some peaches, but unlike other cocktails that require a steeping period, these peaches get to jump right into the mix.

After slicing, add the peaches to a glass along with lemon and simple syrup, and lightly mash them together. Then, pile in the ice, followed by a generous pour of whiskey, and stir everything together, allowing the ice to meld seamlessly with the flavors. After straining the mix into a glass, we recommend garnishing your drink with either a thyme sprig or slice of peach.

Recipe: Summertime Peach Whiskey Smash

7. Prickly Pear Margarita

Summer and margaritas are as synonymous as pool parties and sunshine. This version, both sweet and intriguing, is sure to make your bar the highlight of the season.

Start by using a lime wedge to moisten the rim of a glass, then dip it in salt for that classic margarita presentation. Next, shake a mixture of tequila, prickly pear syrup, Cointreau, lime juice, and ice in a shaker until it's thoroughly chilled. Finally, strain it into your salt-rimmed glass for your newest favorite homemade margarita.

Recipe: Prickly Pear Margarita

8. Fruity Rum Runner Cocktail

Who says you need to be lounging on a sunny beach to enjoy a beach cocktail? Certainly not us. Mix up a fruity rum runner cocktail and transport yourself to a warmer climate anytime you fancy.

In a shaker, combine a variety of ingredients, including light rum, dark rum, banana liqueur, and Chambord, along with a mix of fruit juices, such as pineapple, orange, lime, and a splash of grenadine. Shake everything vigorously, then strain it over ice. For the full tropical effect, we recommend a hurricane glass and a fruity garnish.

Recipe: Fruity Rum Runner Cocktail

9. Blue Hawaiian Cocktail

There's a certain allure to a blue drink. Maybe it's because blue is such a rare natural color for beverages, or perhaps it's the serene vibe it exudes. Regardless, we're all in for a blue Hawaii.

For this tropical delight, mix blue curaçao, white rum, and vodka in a shaker with pineapple juice, coconut milk, lime juice, and ice. Shake everything together until it's thoroughly blended and chilled. Strain the concoction into your favorite cocktail glass and garnish with fruits that whisk you away to a vacation mindset.

Recipe: Blue Hawaiian Cocktail

10. Grown-Up Jungle Juice

If you've ever attended a college party, there's a good chance you've encountered jungle juice. Despite its less-than-stellar reputation, with a few upgrades in fruits and quality liquors, you can turn it into the highlight of your next summertime gathering.

For this concoction, you'll want to dust off your largest punch bowl. The essence of jungle juice is its eclectic mix, so feel free to swap out any ingredients you're not keen on. However, we recommend mixing in vodka, rum, lemonade, orange juice, cranberry juice, and pomegranate juice, along with slices of oranges, raspberries, and even pomegranate arils.

Recipe: Grown-Up Jungle Juice

11. Classic Gin Rickey Cocktail

Simplicity reigns supreme with a gin rickey. If you're a fan of gin, this is an essential cocktail to try this summer.

The drink is a straightforward mix of lime, gin, and your preferred club soda. It's crucial to juice your own limes to ensure the freshest flavor possible. Use some lime slices to adorn the rim of your glass for an added touch. Fill a tall glass with plenty of ice, pour over your freshly squeezed lime juice and gin, and then finish it off with club soda. Gently stir to combine without disturbing the lime slices too much.

Recipe: Classic Gin Rickey Cocktail

12. Sea Breeze Cocktail

That breeze wafting off the sea during a vacation is both invigorating and tinged with a hint of saltiness. This drink draws inspiration from that sensation, bringing the essence of the coast to your summer patio.

To capture that coastal vibe in a glass, combine cranberry and grapefruit juices with vodka for a refreshingly straightforward cocktail. Simply fill your chosen glass with ice, pour in the vodka, and then add the juices. Stir well to meld the flavors of the juice with the vodka. Finish off by garnishing with a lime wedge to add that final zesty bite, mirroring the crisp sea air.

Recipe: Sea Breeze Cocktail

13. Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Cocktail

In the height of summer, the craving for a frozen strawberry daiquiri can strike at any moment. However, creating the best version of this beloved drink requires a bit of preparation, which is why we recommend keeping a stock of frozen strawberries on hand throughout the season.

To make your daiquiri, blend these frozen strawberries with rum, lime juice, simple syrup, Grand Marnier, and ice. Allow enough blending time to achieve the perfect smooth consistency. Then, pour the frosty concoction into a glass and add your chosen garnishments. A beautiful piece of dried or even candied citrus complements this drink wonderfully, enhancing its appeal and flavor.

Recipe: Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Cocktail

14. Refined Sex on the Beach Cocktail

We love a drink name that brings a slight blush to the cheeks. Even still, this one is the perfect candidate to take up to a refined level.

Grab your shaker and fill it with ice, then pour in vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice. Give it a vigorous shake until the mixture is refreshingly cold. While freshly squeezed orange juice adds a special touch and enhances the flavor, opting for store-bought orange juice can also result in a delicious concoction, saving you a bit of time.

Recipe: Refined Sex on the Beach Cocktail

15. Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

We love a drink with a layered effect, and with one that has sunrise in the name, you know it's just going to be stunning. This particular cocktail relies on the density of its ingredients to achieve its stunning layered effect, so there's no stirring or shaking involved if you want to preserve those distinct layers.

Start with a glass filled with ice, then carefully pour in your tequila followed by orange juice. Gently add the grenadine last; it will naturally sink to the bottom of the glass, creating the iconic sunrise gradient. While you might be tempted to stir it to blend the flavors, doing so would merge the layers, so consider whether you'd prefer to enjoy the visual effect as is or mix it for a uniform taste.

Recipe: Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

16. Floral White Wine Sangria

Some of the best sangria recipes are passed down from generation to generation. With how delicious and refreshing this sangria is, it may become your family's new favorite.

For this sangria, you'll need oranges, limes, and peaches. Slice each fruit to ensure the pieces are ready to release their juices into the mix. Once everything is sliced, add white wine, brandy, and elderflower cordial to a pitcher and stir thoroughly to blend all the ingredients. Then, introduce the sliced fruit and mint, and stir to integrate them fully. We prefer to top it off with carbonated lemonade, as well as ice cubes, if a cooler temperature is desired. To prevent dilution, consider serving ice cubes on the side for individual glasses rather than adding them directly into the pitcher.

Recipe: Floral White Wine Sangria

17. Tropical Painkiller Cocktail

It's hard to go wrong with a fruity cocktail for a refreshing summertime drink. This tropical painkiller will make you feel like you're miles away from your couch, even if you are just outside on the patio.

Begin with a shaker filled with ice, then pour in orange juice, your chosen dark rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut. Shake vigorously until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. It's important to shake well to ensure the cream of coconut fully integrates with the other ingredients. Once done, strain the concoction into your favorite glass over fresh ice. We particularly enjoy a sprinkle of nutmeg on top as a distinctive and aromatic garnish, adding a layer of interest to this tropical delight.

Recipe: Tropical Painkiller Cocktail

18. Fresh Peach Bellini Cocktail

Any cocktail that marries a delightful ingredient with Prosecco instantly captures our heart. This particular concoction is a perfect choice for summer wedding showers or soirées.

Begin by blending honey, lemon juice, and ripe white peaches (with the skins and pits removed) until smooth. Blend thoroughly, then strain to achieve a finer juice consistency. While straining is optional, it creates a smoother blend with the Prosecco. Once you have your puree, add it to a champagne flute, then top off with Prosecco.

Recipe: Fresh Peach Bellini Cocktail

19. The Painkiller Slushie

How do you elevate the already delightful painkiller cocktail? By transforming it into a slushie, naturally.

To craft this frosty treat, blend rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut with ice until the mixture is silky smooth. Once blended, pour half of it into your glasses. Then, blend the remaining mixture with the addition of grenadine for a splash of color. Once it achieves a pinkish-red hue, pour this vibrant second layer over the first in your serving glasses to create a visually appealing two-tone effect.

Recipe: The Painkiller Slushie

20. Spiced Ranch Water Cocktail

If you are a sparkling water fan, there is a good chance that you know about Topo Chico. This mineral water is refreshing and perfectly sparkling; it makes a great base for a drink.

Start by covering the rim of your glass with chili lime salt, then fill it with ice. Pour tequila over the ice, add lime juice, and top it off with Topo Chico. A sprig of mint or a lime wedge makes a beautiful garnish for this drink. With its refreshing taste and playful name, this could easily become your go-to beverage for the summer.

Recipe: Spiced Ranch Water Cocktail

21. Caribbean Rum Cocktail

Once a cocktail gains some level of popularity, it's hard to remember what exactly the original contained. We've enjoyed painkillers in the number of different ways, but the extra bit of salt in this one makes it unique.

This twist comes together in a shaker filled with ice, along with your choice of dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and that special pinch of salt to make you feel like you're standing near a sea. Give it a vigorous shake until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, then strain it into your glass or plastic cup, depending on your preference.

Recipe: Caribbean Rum Cocktail

22. Classic Caipirinha Cocktail

Brazil's national cocktail, the caipirinha, which is made with cachaça, is an absolute favorite. If you have cachaça on hand, this is definitely a cocktail you can easily prepare at home.

Start by combining lime wedges and sugar together in a glass. It's important to muddle them thoroughly to create a solid foundation for the drink. Next, add ice and cachaça, and then stir everything well. This simple yet delicious mix is ready for you to sip, sit back, and relax.

Recipe: Classic Caipirinha Cocktail

23. Citrusy Mai Tai Cocktail

There's plenty to love about a Mai Tai, a cocktail that's widely available across various restaurants. Yet, it seems many establishments have crafted some ultra-unique versions of this classic drink. However, we're quite fond of a citrus-forward recipe.

To make a citrusy Mai Tai, combine white rum and orange liqueur with ice in a cocktail shaker, along with some orange juice, lime juice, and orgeat syrup. Shake everything until the shaker feels very cold to the touch. Then, strain the mixture into a glass. For an appealing presentation, float a little bit of dark rum on top and garnish with some mint for the perfect visual accent and a delightful aroma.

Recipe: Citrusy Mai Tai Cocktail