Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Summer

20 Cocktails to Make for Memorial Day

Toast to the unofficial start of summer.

Paloma cocktail in a highball glass with a lime wheel / Tim Nusog

The first big warm-weather weekend calls for big-batch cocktails, frozen concoctions, and plenty of easy, refreshing drinks you can mix up on the spot. Whether you’re taking the fun to the beach or your backyard, these recipes will get the season started right.

1. Lynchburg Lemonade

Lynchburg Lemonade / Tim Nusog

The only thing better than lemonade on a sunny day? Boozy lemonade. Named for the Tennessee home of Jack Daniel’s distillery, this citrusy drink combines whiskey with triple sec, lemon juice, simple syrup, and lemon-lime soda. 

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2. Tom Collins

Tom Collins cocktail / Tim Nusog

Swap your usual G&T for another classic (and easy) gin drink: This thirst-quenching cocktail gets built right in the glass with lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda.

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3. Watermelon Mojito

Watermelon Mojito cocktail / Tim Nusog

If any drink is more cooling than the classic Mojito, it might just be this fruity twist that calls for mixing muddled watermelon and mint, agave nectar, light rum, and lime juice.

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4. Strawberry Daiquiri

Strawberry Daiquiri / Tim Nusog

A frozen cocktail is in order for the first long summer weekend. If you’ve only had a Strawberry Daiquiri made with artificial mix, you’ll love the real thing, which calls for fresh strawberries, rum, simple syrup, lime juice, and lots of ice. 

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5. Negroni Sbagliato

Negroni Sbagliato / Tim Nusog

Its name might translate to “incorrect Negroni,” but this drink is just the right move for your summer parties. Swapping in prosecco for gin lightens up the equal-parts formula of the spirit, Campari, and sweet vermouth. 

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6. Mint-Basil Limeade

Mint-Basil Limeade / Tim Nusog

This cooling non-alcoholic drink includes muddled basil and mint, lime juice, and club soda. If you want to turn it into a conventional cocktail, clear spirits like white rum, gin, or vodka are all great candidates.

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7. Happy Pill

Happy Pill cocktail / Tim Nusog

Grilled pineapple juice lends smoky, caramelized flavor to this Painkiller-inspired cocktail. Two types of rum, coconut liqueur, orange and lime juice, and cream of coconut also go into the shaker.

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8. John Daly

John Daly cocktail / Tim Nusog

Named for another famous golfer, this boozy Arnold Palmer twist couldn’t be simpler. Just add a shot of vodka to the classic concoction of lemonade and iced tea.

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9. Paloma

Mezcal Paloma in highball glass with Tajin salt rim and lime wedge, shot against tan background / Tim Nusog

Mexico’s most popular cocktail has all the makings of a great summer party drink: The three-ingredient combination of tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda is fizzy, no-fuss, and delicious.

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10. Peach Beer Julep

Peach Beer Julep / Tim Nusog

Beer drinkers will love this inventive Mint Julep variation. Speed Rack co-founder Lynnette Marrero was inspired by the stone-fruit notes in India Pale Ales to create the drink, which combines bourbon and muddled peach slices with an IPA simple syrup.

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11. Sgroppino

Sgroppino / Tim Nusog

For this tasty Italian cocktail, vodka, prosecco, and lemon sorbet are whipped in a bowl until they achieve a foamy, velvety texture. The drink originated in Venice, but one sip (or spoonful) will transport you straight to the Amalfi Coast. 

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12. Dead Sea Mule

Dead Sea Mule cocktail / Tim Nusog

The Mule is as quaffable as it is versatile. This tart, fruity variation on the classic combines a homemade grenadine with mezcal, lime juice, and ginger beer.

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13. High Tide

High Tide cocktail / Tim Nusog 

This citrusy and refreshing highball combines Japanese whisky with Cointreau, lemon juice, tonic water, and green tea syrup. Save the syrup to give other cocktails a slightly earthy quality.

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14. Sea Breeze

Sea Breeze / Tim Nusog

No need to fuss over ingredients at your cookout. This classic cocktail is as easy-breezy as its name, thanks to a simple combination of vodka and cranberry and grapefruit juices. 

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15. Rosé Sangria

Rose Sangria / Tim Nusog

Rosé wine is a warm-weather staple, and it’s even more refreshing when combined with pamplemousse liqueur, raspberries, strawberries, lemon, and club soda. Even better, this fruity punch can be prepped in advance of a party.

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16. Tommy’s Margarita

Tommys Margarita served in rocks glass with salted rim, shot against against tan background / Tim Nusog

This modern classic from the legendary Julio Bermejo omits orange liqueur to put the focus on 100% agave tequila, agave syrup, and fresh lime juice. The result is slightly less sweet than a classic Margarita, and a favorite of agave purists.

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17. Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz / Tim Nusog

This beloved Italian aperitivo is easy to mix up on the spot once you have your ingredients. Just combine one part Aperol, two parts prosecco or other sparkling wine, and three parts soda water. Or swap in Campari for a Campari Spritz.

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18. Mezcal Paloma

Mezcal Paloma in highball glass with Tajin salt rim and lime wedge, shot against tan background / Tim Nusog

This riff on the beloved cocktail swaps blanco tequila for the smoky and savory notes of mezcal, which pairs particularly well with lime juice and grapefruit soda. Opt for mezcal espadín, which generally has a more consistent flavor profile than other varieties.

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19. Non-Alcoholic Spicy Margarita

Non-Alcoholic Spicy Margarita / Tim Nusog

Enjoy the flavors of a Margarita even if you’re not imbibing. This savory-leaning take on the classic from Natasha David calls for fresh-pressed celery juice, muddled jalapeño and cilantro, agave nectar, lime juice, and salt.

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20. White Port & Tonic

White Port and Tonic / Tim Nusog

This low-proof aperitivo is ideal for day-time drinking. Known as a Porto Tónico in its native Portugal, the two-ingredient drink is as simple as its name implies.

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