For parties and get-togethers (or really, just something more than you drinking alone), stirring up single cocktails isn't practical. Especially not when there's a way easier way to serve a crowd than mixing and muddling to order. Blood, sweat, and tears should never be part of your ideal summer cocktail, OK? Instead, grab a giant pitcher, your booze of choice, a few other high-quality ingredients. And in no time at all, you'll be well on your way to doling out envy-inducing cocktails that require 3 simple steps: dump, stir, and pour. Hello, summer.
1.) Fizzy Margaritas
The ultimate summer drank--the margarita--gets some fizzy flair with the addition of soda water. Not only does this add a refreshing bubbly touch, it stretches your tequila a bit farther. Never a bad thing when you're hydrating a group of thirsty people in the dead of summer heat. Fill the pitcher with plenty of freshly sliced limes for an added boost of bright citrus. For a frozen version, simply blend the marg mixture with ice until smooth.
An ideal beach-side beverage, this take on a piña colada incorporates cranberry juice into the mix, which lends it that gorgeous pink hue. When garnished with pineapple wedges and tropical edible flowers, this cocktail takes on a lovely cabana personality. Share this sassy summer sip out on the back porch with a few friends and slip away into believing you're relaxing somewhere pleasant... instead of taking refuge from the pile of dirty laundry that's waiting indoors.
This flavor-packed punch is essentially a pitcher full of sunshine. While the cocktail recipe itself is nonalcoholic, just add rum to for a spiked glass that can then be garnished with fresh pineapple wedges for the perfect sunny sip. This recipe landed in Sunset Magazine in 1982, and has been popularly partying it up around poolsides and patios ever since.
This fun and fruity cocktail leaves room for creativity, customization, and resourcefulness, because you can essentially use any beer you have on hand. While something heavy or richly flavored like a stout or porter wouldn't work well here, most lighter brews would be just fine. If you really want to highlight the lemon and lime in this beverage, go for a beer with prominent citrus notes, like a seasonal summer ale.
Like a boozy take on spa water, this infused gin and tonic is a sophisticated and gorgeous summer sip that's super simple to stir up. The fresh-from-the-garden flavor of cucumber slices is a perfect compliment to bright lime and tonic water.
6.) Seaside Sunrise
If you find yourself by the beach (or wishing you were), lap up the summer vibes with this tropical riff on a mimosa. The cocktail involves passion fruit flavored rum, sparkling wine, orange-mango juice, and pineapple juice. Toss in fresh citrus slices for a vibrant flavor boost.
Ahhhh, summer sangrias... what would we do without them? Sangrias are basically alcoholic fruit salads, ideal for front porch sipping and celebrating some of our favorite seasonal produce. Perfectly ripe peach slices and Bing cherries absorb all of the juicy goodness from the sangria and make for a sweet treat when the glass is empty.
No better way to spice up your margarita life than with a few jalapeño slices. The peppers offer a lively kick of heat, while fresh watermelon balances the cocktail with calm, cool collectedness in every sip.
This cocktail gets its Italian personality from Campari, an Italian apéritif, (a liqueur or drink meant to be served before a meal to stoke one's appetite). Campari has a notable ruby-red color and bittersweet fruitiness. It teams up extremely well with the citrus juices and raspberries in this cocktail, making for a gracefully tart addition to any summer spread.
Thai basil's warm anise flavor paired with the spicy attitude of ginger, takes this cocktail far beyond your average spritzer. You can leave the kaffir leaves out of this recipe if you have trouble finding them.
Need even more summer fuel? Look no further than a few of our favorite party-ready tequila cocktails.