Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

51 Cocktails to Kick Off Summer

51 Cocktails to Kick Off Summer

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From margaritas to sangria, we have cocktail recipes to last all summer long

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Cocktail recipes for the summer.

The start of summer is finally here: the days are long, the nights are cool, and the desire to kick back with a drink is all the more tempting. To prepare you for the summer season, we've rounded up our most popular summer cocktails that we've been waiting all fall, winter, and spring to drink.

Click here for the 51 Cocktails to Kick of Summer Slideshow

Summer is the best time to up your cocktail ante. With the season’s best ingredients (strawberries, mint, watermelon, pineapple), mixology moves toward the light and fruity rather than the dark and spirited. While we’ll never say no to a good bourbon or Scotch, now’s the time to dust off your tequila and rum bottles on the home bar — they’re going to be heavily used this summer.

Tiki cocktails are all the rage this summer, as the tiki movement comes back full swing. While you may have rolled your eyes at daiquiris and piña coladas on a bar’s menu in the past, bartenders are finding new ways to remake the classic tiki cocktails. No longer made with overly processed sugars and syrups, these drinks are prepared with fresh fruits and homemade syrups — the way they were intended to be.

Whether you have a cocktail party, summer brunch, bridal shower, day at the pool, or an all-nighter coming up, we’ve got the ultimate summer cocktail menu for you. Start your shakers, boys and girls.

Top 10 All Time Summer Recipes

Summer is all about family, friends, fun and food. We really try to spend as much time making memories with family and friends as we possibly can, and that usually revolves around food. Last summer we took a lot of really fun trips. We took a 3 day trip to Sedona, had a week long family vacation in New Orleans and traveled to Florida to visit my side of the family.

When we are not traveling during the summer, cook-outs are on the calendar. Whether we are getting together with our whole group of close friends, planning a casual Labor Day gathering or inviting the in-laws over to grill with us we truly enjoy it all throughout the summer.

I enjoy cooking for people. It makes me feel good to share with the ones I care about. Summertime food is so much fun. Whether it is food on the grill or in a slow cooker, fresh vegetables or cold salads, icy treats or no-bake desserts or cocktails is it all wonderful.

I have pulled together out top 10 all time most popular summer recipes to kick off your summer celebration. Make some memories and enjoy your summer. We can't wait to hear how you are living it up.

With love from our simple kitchen to yours.

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Simple Crock Pot Buffalo Wings are so tender they will melt in your mouth. The caramelized buffalo sauce is truly enough to make your taste buds sing! Made in the slow cooker you won't find an easier recipe! They just about cook themselves.


You are my hero! I just tried the Best Ever Grilled Margarita Chicken last night (finally), and it was worth the wait! I can't wait to try the strawberry shortcake cake. And the slow cooker buffalo wings.

I am so happy you loved it Susan. Thank you for stopping by leaving a comment. We love to hear from you. You totally made my day.

Gafas Para Un Hombre De Cara Redonda hombre

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Easy Labor Day Cocktail Recipes For The Best Summer Sendoff

Labor Day is all about celebrating the workforce, so that means it's time for most adults to kick back and relax--ideally, with a cocktail. IBT has rounded up some delicious easy cocktail recipes to help send off summer and start fall right.

Sparkling Pumpkin Pie — Labor Day basically marks the beginning of pumpkin spice season, so kick it off with a seasonal cocktail. This one from Sparkling Ice uses honey whiskey and is topped with whipped cream.

  • 2 oz honey whiskey
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 4 oz Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple
  • Whipped cream
  • Pumpkin pie spice

Directions: On top of ice, pour whiskey, lemon juice, and pumpkin puree into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a rocks glass and add Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Get festive with the Sparkling Pumpkin Pie cocktail. Photo: Sparkling Ice

Reed’s Watermelon Ginger Frozen Margarita — Say goodbye to fresh watermelon season with this delicious marg recipe from Reed’s.

  • 4 cups of cubed watermelon, frozen
  • 3 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz tequila
  • 1 can of Reed’s Ginger Ale
  • small watermelon wedges, for garnish
  • Ice (optional)

Directions: Add watermelon, lime juice, tequila and half a can of ginger ale in a blender, blending until watermelon is incorporated. Add remaining ginger beer and blend until smooth. Add a small watermelon wedge for garnish.

The final watermelons of the season are best enjoyed in a margarita. Photo: Reed's

Barefoot Hard Seltzer Piña Colada — Dress up this hard seltzer with a bit of rum for an extra tropical taste.

Directions: First, take a big sip from the can of Barefoot Pineapple & Passion Fruit Hard Seltzer. Then, top off with coconut rum, stir and enjoy.

The Barefoot Piña Colada is an easy two-ingredient recipe. Photo: Barefoot

Recuerdo Peach — Feeling just peachy about Labor Day? Recuerdo Mezcal has a refreshing and fruity concoction to help celebrate the end of summer.

  • 1.5 oz Recuerdo Joven Mezcal
  • 2 oz peach juice (or substitute peach jam if juice is inaccessible)
  • .25 oz lime juice
  • Tonic Water
  • 1 oz ginger syrup (To make ginger syrup: Heat 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 4 ounces fresh diced ginger to a gentle boil and reduce to a simmer for 1-2 minutes while stirring. Pull off the heat and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes to infuse the ginger. Cool and strain the ginger.)

Directions: Mix all ingredients, except for the tonic water, in a shaker over ice. Serve in an old fashioned glass with ice. Top with tonic water and garnish with a slice of peach.

The Recuerdo Peach is fruity and refreshing. Photo: Recuerdo Mezcal

Sunny Cucumber Lime Mule — Smirnoff has a cucumber mule perfect for kicking off the fall.

  • 1.5 oz Smirnoff Zero Infusions Cucumber and Lime
  • 4 oz ginger beer (chilled)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • 3 lime wedges

Directions: Combine Smirnoff Zero Infusions, ginger beer, juice from lime wedges and ground turmeric in a copper mule mug. Stir and garnish with a cucumber slice, lime peel, and mint sprig.

Smirnoff's Cucumber Lime Mule is the perfect easy cocktail for Labor Day weekend. Photo: Smirnoff

Cranberry Cooler — Ocean Spray has another super easy cocktail recipe for Labor Day.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 8.4-ounce can Ocean Spray Sparkling Juice Drink, any flavor, chilled
  • Lime slice for garnish

Directions: Combine vodka and lime juice in a tall glass filled with ice. Pour in Sparkling Juice Drink. Fill glass with ice. Garnish with lime slice.

Jalapeño Paloma — Avión is helping give everyone’s summer sendoff a spicy kick with this paloma recipe.

  • 2 jalapeño slices
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 0.5 part lime juice
  • 2 parts Avión Silver
  • 4 parts grapefruit sparkling water
  • 1 part grapefruit juice

Directions: Rim the glass with lime juice and salt. Add the jalapeño slices to a glass. Squeeze the lime wedge into the glass. Muddle the jalapeño slices in the lime juice. Add ice to the glass. Pour in the tequila and grapefruit juice into the glass. Stir to combine. Top with the grapefruit sparkling water. Garnish with jalapeño slices.

Avión brings the heat with the jalapeño Paloma. Photo: Avión

Americano — Hella Bitters & Soda Dry has notes of clove, allspice, bitter root and orange peel, making it the perfect star for an Americano. This easy recipe only needs a few ingredients.

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Hella Bitters & Soda Dry
  • orange peel, for garnish

Directions: Simply combine these ingredients in a tall glass over ice and stir gently. Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

The Americano is perfect for those who don't want an overly sweet Labor Day cocktail. Photo: Jennifer Pallian

But first. are you Team Raw or Team Caramelized?

Before picking your technique, decide if you’re starting with raw or cooked fruit. To capture the cleanest essence of summer, keep it raw. “Ripe fruits are fresh and bright, even tart if you’re using something like a plum,” says Basham, who recommends adding raw fruits to low-ABV patio-crushers and aperitifs so they won’t be overshadowed by aged high-proof spirits. Consider pairing a raw fruit shrub with a botanical gin or muddled raw fruit with a lighter fortified wine like Manzanilla sherry.

This tequila, agave, and pineapple tepache highball will put you right on the beach.

However, if you want more complexity, roast your fruit or throw it on the grill. Heat will caramelize the sugars, introducing toffee notes that play well with brown spirits like bourbon and cognac. Grilling will also add a smoky dimension, a perfect complement to mezcal and scotch. “Caramelized fruits will give you those rich, deep sugar flavors,” Basham explains. “You’re probably not going to kick off your evening with a cocktail made with a grilled fruit syrup, but it’ll make a great nightcap.”

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Tequila Cocktail Recipes Perfect for Summer Entertaining

Learning how to make the most of your at-home bar has never been a more essential skill. From dinner parties with your social bubble mates to socially distanced backyard barbecues, summer entertaining is in full swing, even if cocktail hour looks a little different this year. Since Don Julio tequila is one of the fastest growing luxury tequilas in Canada, we thought we should probably take notes from Don Julio González, the brand’s Mexican founder, and make sure our bar is well stocked with only the best. Having created his first tequila in 1942 at the age of 17, González went on to redefine the world of tequila, choosing quality over quantity by carefully cultivating his agave plants to ensure that his product was best in class.

He also enjoyed entertaining so he specially designed a shorter tequila bottle so that his guests could easily pass it across the table and see each other over it. When you’re getting together in these unusual times, thoughtful details like this can make all the difference. From having hand sanitizer readily available to preparing individual bowls for snacks, your guests will appreciate your foresight and entertaining prowess. Read on for more easy, stylish cocktail and tapas ideas straight from the top shelf, inspired by Don Julio himself.

Fresh and zesty, this lip-smacking cocktail pairs well with a few good friends and a sunny backyard brunch.

· 1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco tequila

· Tajin (a blend of chili, lime and sea salt) to rim the glass

· Fill a tall glass with ice

· Pour Don Julio Blanco tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and simple sugar into the glass

· Rim with tajin and garnish with a wedge of lime

The food pairing: A colourful salad of pink and white grapefruit tossed with avocado and cilantro.

Is there a more quintessentially summer cocktail than a margarita? The classic combination of tequila, lime and a hint of natural sweetness makes for the perfect romantic date night accompaniment.

· 1.5oz Don Julio Blanco tequila

· 0.5oz simple syrup or agave syrup

1. Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice and simple or agave syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a rocks glass over ice.

3. Garnish with lime wedge

The food pairing: A plate of succulent shrimp tacos with all the fixings.

Don Julio Blanco and Soda

This cocktail is perfect in its simplicity: With premium top shelf Don Julio Blanco tequila, all you need is a splash of soda water and a squeeze of lime to turn it into something special. Serve this up to your social bubble to kick off your next dinner party.

· 1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco tequila

· Drop a lime wedge into the bottom of a glass and top with ice

· Add Don Julio Blanco tequila

· Top with soda and an additional lime wedge

The food pairing: Simple and fresh ceviche made with ocean fish, a squeeze of lime and a kick of serrano chilies.

This content was created by The Kit Don Julio funded and approved it.

5 of our finest summer punches

Our best summer punch recipes, perfect to refresh a crowd.

Looking for a light punch to kick off your summer party? We’ve got five recipes you can make in minutes that are fabulously fruity and will help your guests beat the heat.

Cucumber, mint & melon punch

This minty melon combo uses a delicious mix of honeydew, cantaloupe and juicy watermelon. Vodka, lime and mint are flavours that naturally go together, then all you need is some sparkling water and a melon baller to scoop yourself a moreish party drink. If you leave it to steep for thirty minutes to an hour, the melon will soak up the boozy flavours.

Pink grapefruit punch

Make yourself a pretty pink punch in minutes that will keep guests coming back for more. A sprig of thyme adds a herby undertone to this semi-sweet grown-up juice. Add plenty of ice, swirl and serve. If you want a touch more sweetness, stir in a spoonful of extra honey.

Apple Prosecco punch

A punch can only be improved by adding Prosecco. Spruce up a basic apple and vodka punch in a second with Prosecco, a squeeze of lemon juice and slices of green apple. This punch is also easy to top up when you start running low (which will happen pretty quickly, trust us). Simply pour and impress!

Classic Caribbean rum punch

No-one can resist a classic Caribbean cocktail. This tipple isn’t sickly sweet and has just the right amount of fruity flavour – it’s a sweet and sour combination that’s sure to go down a treat. The ingredients might look a bit daunting, but all you need to do is mix, chill and garnish for a special boozy weekend thirst quencher.

Peachy punch

A light peach punch with soft fruit, rosé wine and schnapps. Peaches are perfectly ripe in the summer months, so take advantage with this flavour-packed drink. Top up with soda water or tonic to your own particular taste.

What’s your favourite summer punch recipe? Let us know in the comments below…

Watermelon Mint Mojito Cocktails

The thing about summer fruit and veggies that you don’t grow yourself that drives me nuts? How to tell if their quality will be summer fresh or just as bad as winter produce. I will never have a watermelon patch in my small garden area so I rely on the grocers and farmers markets to provide a melon that lives up to expectations. I made my first watermelon plunge last week at Sprouts when I decided I wanted to make these Watermelon Mint Mojito Cocktails.

You can knock them and sniff them and perform voodoo I suppose but I always feel like I’m lucky when I get a perfect specimen. I do have a checklist I use to try and find the best fruit and the melon I bought was so perfectly ripe and red and juicy and filled with flavor that this cocktail finally won the opportunity to shine.

How to determine if you have found a good watermelon? These are some good indicators:

  • Find the field spot, it should be a yellowish creamy color on the outside where the watermelon was resting on the ground.
  • Pick a dull looking watermelon shiny melons are not yet ripe.
  • Knock on it with your knuckles the surface should be hard/firm. A dull thud indicates the flesh inside is getting soft…put that one back!
  • Get the heaviest one for its size water is heavy and a lot of water in a watermelon is a good indicator!
  • Check for uniform shape – round or oval is fine…but irregular edges might indicate an inconsistent water source

I actually remember the first time I had a Watermelon Mojito. I was out with friends in the midsummer heat and this cocktail sounded divine. Sadly, the drink was made all wrong and it was a big disappointment. What had they done? They blended the watermelon with other ingredients instead of muddling them and that blending did not work for me.

Mojitos are sort of messy and imperfect, with the fruit, juice and sugar muddled together with either a muddler made just for that purpose or using the back of a spoon. Sipping on a perfectly blended one changed the entire mouth feel and seemed so wrong that I set out to right that wrong with this concoction today. All I can say is bless this mess!

I think the restaurant also used ginger ale instead of club soda. Just no this is not a Moscow Mule! Whenever I do a variation on a theme there are some standards and I wouldn’t substitute club soda for ginger ale in a mojito any more than I would think that bourbon would work for tequila in a margarita the soda should add a slight fizz but not really interfere with the already perfect flavor profile.

Should we talk about mint for a second? I know lots of gardeners refuse to plant mint, it can quickly become invasive. But I have a great solution! Plant your mint in a 5 gallon paint bucket from the hardware store, then dig a hole in your garden big enough for that bucket and put it in the ground.

It will contain the roots and prevent the spread and you can enjoy your mint year after year without it become your ONLY plant! I left a plant at my old house that was still thriving after 23 years!

These Watermelon Mint Mojito Cocktails deserve the best watermelon and some beautiful fresh mint…and you deserve this drink. Go on…get the grass cut and then sit back and enjoy your handiwork with one of these frosty and perfectly summery libations. Cheers!

What is it? A fresh spin on the classic sour, elevated with fresh juice and the addition of peaches for extra depth. Mostly phoned in by bartenders, the whiskey sour is one of those drinks that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. But when it’s made well, it’s a tasty summery beverage.

Try it with: Bulleit 10 Year. The bourbon brings a nice body to this crisp summer cocktail.


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