33 Best Beach Cocktails for An Awesome Vacation
A year later, the coronavirus pandemic has left us all with a pretty severe case of cabin fever. With vaccines available and more states opening up, an increasing number of Americans are itching to get their wanderlust on--especially at outdoor (and easily socially-distanced) locations like the beach. Let loose this spring and summer by planning a long-overdue trip to the beach with your family or best girlfriends, but be sure that the ingredients for one (or more) of these tropical-inspired cocktails are on your grocery list. We've included classic cocktails, such as hurricanes, mai tais, and margaritas, plus plenty of exciting new drinks, from a Meyer Lemon Drop and Cherry-Basil Fizz to a Snowcone Cocktail and Boozy Root Beer Float. Drink up, friends!
Easy 3-Ingredient Margarita
The story goes that this Key West cocktail was created in the 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. It was named for the bootleggers who smuggled in the liquor during Prohibition and later to avoid taxes. There’s nothing taxing about this decidedly tropical rum-and-liqueur–packed libation.
Meyer Lemon Drop
When life gives you Meyer lemons, make this softened take on a lemon drop. Meyer lemons are in season from November to March, so the holidays are the perfect time to take advantage of these unique fruits. They’re considered a cross between a standard lemon and a mandarin orange, so their tartness is subdued. Place the candies in a Ziplock bag to finely crush. It’s easier to get a nice thick ring on the glass by holding it in one hand and sprinkling the candy dust on with the other.
Frozen Boozy Granita
If you've got a gaggle of kids with you at the beach, turn on Frozen for a kids' movie night while you have a little fun of your own. While the kids journey with Elsa & Anna, you can enjoy this cool blue frozen granita, mixed with lime, tequila and the tropical hint of coconut. It's so refreshing you won't be able to "let it gooooo!"
Both Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic's and Donn Beach of Don the Beachcomber took credit for creating this quintessential tiki cocktail. Versions containing pineapple juice are typically credited to Victor, who was commissioned to develop a signature spin on the mai tai cocktail for the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. This recipe skews closer to the mai tai of questionable origin.
Skinny Strawberry Vodka Lemonade
Spicy Pineapple Margarita
Salty Dog Slushes
The Salty Dog has no flaws, but turning it into a slush makes it the most wonderful and festive summertime cocktail ever. The bitterness, sweetness, salt, and booze come together to make a subtly sweet pink and frosty delight. You can even keep frozen grapefruit juice cubes in the freezer and whip a few drinks up to amaze friends (or yourself). If you’d like to experiment, this would also make a mighty fine granita.
Boozy Root Beer Float
The soda shop classic gets a grown-upgrade with the addition of hard root beer and dark rum. When you need a true “treat yoself” moment, this 3-ingredient, boozy root beer float is just what the doctor ordered. To take down the booze level a bit, simply leave out the rum.
Sweet Tea-Vodka Slushee
Say "hello" to the ultimate summer sipper. For this cooling, boozy concoction, we took the idea of a sweet tea and vodka on-the-rocks to the next level by blending it into a delightful adult slushee. The recipe here serves 2, but is easily multiplied to produce more cocktails for friends (you can’t sip on one of these beauties and not share). You can use store-bought sweet tea, or make your own so that you can better control the level of of sweetness.
Classic Frozen Margarita
It's time to let go of the sweet and sour mix. These easy margaritas are mostly sour with a bit of sweetness and make your mouth water before you even take a sip. It's not overly sweet and heavy, but refreshing and even a little potent. Squeezing your own lime juice makes all the difference, so don't take any bottled shortcuts.
Dark and Limey
This is a turmeric-laced twist on a Dark and Stormy, the classic dark rum and ginger beer combo. If you don't have fresh turmeric, substitute 1 teaspoon ground turmeric. Lime boosts the tartness of turmeric to make a delightfully refreshing beverage. Myers's Rum is easy to find, but there are many small-batch dark rums now on the market; you may want to experiment with their subtle nuances.
This fruity sipper has sweet-tart flavor with a subtle burn from the serrano-infused tequila. Tender-tongued? This drink is equally delicious without the chile. Blackberries are fiber-packed and contain antioxidants called polyphenols that might ward off cognitive decline and keep your heart healthy.
The Game Changer
Banana Rum Cocktail
Frozen Blueberry Lemonade
The Blush Lily
Watermelon, mint, lime, and ginger come together to make this wonderfully refreshing pitcher drink. Ginger beer gives these mojitos a spicy kick and nice effervescence, but you can substitute ginger ale if you prefer something milder. The mint simple syrup can be prepared up to two days in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
Have a little (or lots of) fun with this grown-up version of a classic childhood treat. Mix together pureed frozen strawberries, vanilla vodka, orange liqueur, and a splash each of pineapple juice and fresh lemon juice, then pour over a scoop of shaved ice. Enjoy with both a straw and spoon on hand.
Enjoy a twist on the traditional strawberry daiquiri that features plenty of rum, fresh orange juice and lime juice, homemade Banana Simple Syrup, fresh bananas, and orange liqueur. It's the perfect way to unwind after a long lazy day of soaking up the sunshine on the beach.