Nothing says summer like the perfect drink. Don’t settle for boring seltzers or the old beer when you can really impress your friends by serving them with a fun cocktail or mocktail? Get your end-of-summer (kids are back in school) celebrations started with these easy to make recipes!
Before you get started make sure you have a few supplies on hand. Start by making sure you have a cocktail shaker and a muddle. These might seem a little over-the-top, but they allow you to make cocktails faster, easier, and the taste will be better.
You should also try to keep simple ingredients around like lemons, limes, and simple syrup.
The Classic Mojito
6 mint leaves, plus additional for garnish
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lime juice
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) simple syrup
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) white rum
2 to 4 ounces (½ cup) soda water
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves.
Add the lime juice, simple syrup, and rum. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold.
Place ice into a glass, and strain in the liquid. Top off the glass with soda water. Garnish with additional mint leaves.
Make it a mocktail: Turn this into a “nojito” by using extra lime juice or grapefruit juice instead of rum.
½ cup chopped watermelon (or ¼ cup watermelon juice)
2 large mint leaves
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) vodka
½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Cointreau
½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
For the garnish: small watermelon wedge
Chop the watermelon. Add the melon and mint to a cocktail shaker. Muddle (gently mash) them with a cocktail muddler or wooden spoon to release the juices. (If you’re using watermelon juice, simply muddle the mint first.)
Add the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and simple syrup. Fill with ice and shake until cold.
Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small watermelon wedge, if desired.
Make it a mocktail: Use lemon-lime soda and a splash of grenadine instead of vodka and schnapps.
Gin Basil Smash
8 to 10 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 ½ ounces* gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
Ice, for serving
Place the basil leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle them (gently mash).
Add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup to the cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
Strain the drink into an ice-filled lowball glass. If desired, top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with additional basil leaves.
Make it a mocktail: Use lemonade instead of gin.
Lavender Gin Cocktail
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) dry gin
3/4 to 1 ounce (1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons) lavender simple syrup
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
½ cup soda water
For the garnish: lemon slice, lavender or rosemary sprig
Add the gin, syrup and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes. Shake well until chilled.
Strain the liquid into an ice filled glass, and top off the glass with soda water.
Garnish with a lemon wheel and cocktail cherry.
Make it a mocktail: Again, use lemonade instead of gin.
Classic Whiskey Sour
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon whiskey
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) simple syrup or pure maple syrup
Garnish: Orange peel and a cocktail cherry
Ice, for serving
Add the bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill with a handful of ice and shake until very cold.
Strain the drink into a lowball or Old Fashioned glass. Serve with ice, an orange peel and a cocktail cherry.
Make it a mocktail: Try using an alcohol free whiskey alternative Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey alternative is a popular brand.
As always, be sure to always drink responsibly and enjoy the remainder of your summer safely!