4 Refreshing Summer Cocktails We Can’t Stop Making – and Serving – on Repeat
The weekend is almost here. Plan your next drinks party with one of The Editors' favorite summer cocktails that we've been perfecting for our friends and party guests. Have one to share? Post it on The Beet's FB page.
With temperatures rising, cooling off with a cocktail in the evening just feels right. Even better, try one of The Editors' favorite Summer drinks that we've been making on repeat, for our friends, family, and dinner party guests. Or, if you're not drinking alcohol, try any of these recipes as mocktails that are just as delicious, and will help you beat the heat and the hangover.
To ensure that your cocktail is vegan, read up on The Beet's Ultimate Guide to Vegan Alcohol: How to Find Vegan Wine, Beer, and Spirits. You may be surprised that many wines, beers, and liquors utilize animal products in the refining of alcohol. To ensure a brand is animal-product-free, visit Barnivore, a guide to vegan-friendly drinking. And, if you're looking for a vegan wine that is healthier than most, check out our guide to choosing a better-for-you wine.
From a revamped mojito to two cocktails which make the most out of the humble elderflower, here are the drinks we can't stop making and serving this summer.
Refreshing Vegan Summer Cocktails
Lucy's Mint Vodka Mojito
Maybe it was that time I had more than my fill of rum in college, but I never love the way it makes me feel – either while drinking it or the next day – too heavy, sweet, and it leaves me with a massive hangover. That's why my Summer Mint Mojito is made with vodka. And for good measure, I cut the lime juice with a little grapefruit, which makes it sweet, but not too sugary.
Now the traditional Mojito is a Cuban highball, so if you want to use white rum, go for it. That's your choice. Essentially this cocktail is made of just 5 ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. You can cut back on the sugar if you like and add a splash of grapefruit juice, which adds sweetness but doesn't get too candy-like.
That's what is so fun about a Mojito. It tastes like a summer evening on the porch, sitting somewhere near the water, watching boats go by. Add some basil or some parsley or a sprig of whatever green embellishment you like. Just go heavy on the lime juice, the mint, and the ice (and a little lighter on the booze) and your guests will be coming back for more.
Make a pitcher or a large dispense in glass and place it on the bar for your next party. People will flock.
- 6 mint leaves, half for the drink and one or two as garnish
- 1 1/2 ounces of Vodka
- 2 ounces of fresh lime juice and three slices of lime
- 1 teaspoon of sugar or 1 teaspoon of agave
- crushed ice (or use a large square that will melt slowly)
- sparking water (low in sodium)
- 2 ounces of grapefruit juice, yellow or pink, freshly squeezed
- 3 Lime slices
- Stem all the mint leaves but one, which will have a stem on for the garnish.
- Muddle the mint, lime juice, and 2 slices of lime with the sugar or agave in a tall glass, allowing mint oil and lime juice to get released, and mix together.
- Add grapefruit juice, ice, vodka (or white rum), and mix
- Top off with sparkling water
- Add one remaining slice of lime and one mint sprig for garnish
- Serve. ( If making a large container, use 12 times this amount)
Buy this: Glass Beverage Dispenser with Stand
Steph's Elderberry Tinto de Verano
If you haven't heard of a Tinto de Verano before, listen up, because the Italians are seriously onto something when it comes to mixing wine with lemonade and fizzy beverages. Translated to English, the name means "red wine of the Summer." Similar to a Sangria, this fruity drink takes the bitterness out of wine and offers a beverage that's the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful Summer day.
While the addition of elderflower is not traditional, I find that choosing a flavored lemonade such as elderflower or rose adds a nice floral note to the mix and compliments to botanical taste of the sweet vermouth.
If you don't want to use ice cubes for fear of diluting your drink, try freezing lemon, lime, or orange slices for a few hours, then popping them in your glass, for a delicious, subtle way to keep your drink cool.
- 6 ounces of red wine of your choice
- 4 ounces of elderberry lemonade (I like the Belvoir brand)
- Lemon slices
- Optional: 2 ounces of sweet vermouth
- 3-4 Ice cubes, sub for frozen citrus slices
1. Add ice or frozen citrus into a large wine glass. Combine wine, flavored lemonade, and sweet vermouth in the glass. Garnish with lemon slices and enjoy!
Max's Blackberry Aviation
Finding the right ingredients for this cocktail is no simple task. Despite its soaring popularity in the early 20th century, Aviation nearly fell into obscurity in the 1960s when the elusive creme de Violette disappeared from the shelves. Half a century later, the Aviation has returned to the mainstream (revived by Rothman & Winter in 2007).
This stunning cocktail is best enjoyed under a late-summer sunset. The Aviation's gorgeous pale purple hue is enough to catch the eye, but this floral cocktail is addictive. Lightly floral and tactfully sweet, this classic cocktail is a forgotten treasure. Make sure to be careful with the creme de Violette, because a generous splash can overwhelm the sense.
This variation leans a little into the sweeter ingredients than the floral. It maintains the necessary violet smell and taste, but a little freshly squeezed blackberry juice turns this nightcap cocktail into a delectable treat. The lemon gives it a little acidity and then once shaken, step outside and enjoy the evening.
- 2 ounces Bombay Gin
- 1/5 ounce blackberry juice, freshly squeezed
- 2/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/5 ounce creme de Violette
- 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
- 1 lemon peel, flamed
- Squeeze blackberry and lemons for juice.
- Pour the gin, creme de Violette, lemon juice, blackberry juice, and maraschino liqueur into a shaker with ice.
- Shake until chilled.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
- Flame one lemon peel and add it to the drink
Hailey's Elderflower Gin Cocktail
For a refreshing, calming cocktail that's slightly sweet, slightly bitter, and has a hint of sour aftertaste, make my specialty elderflower gin cocktail with grapefruit and chilled prosecco for a bubbly touch. All you need is these four easy ingredients and your best shake for the perfect summer cocktail you'll want to have with every dinner.
- 1 ounce of gin
- 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur
- 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
- 4 ounces chilled prosecco
- Add gin, elderflower liqueur, and grapefruit juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour prosecco over the glass and shake.