Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Summer

11 Essential Cocktails for Your August Parties

Cool down with these delicious summer drinks.

Summer Tonic
Summer Tonic Image: / Tim Nusog

In August, you want something that’ll help you beat the heat while also trying something different than the refreshing thirst-quenchers you’ve been drinking since Memorial Day. Whether you’re looking for a way to use your last-call summer fruits or want to start a slow transition into fall’s dark spirits, these are the cocktails for you.

  • Boat House Punch

    Boat House Punch / Tim Nusog 

    Julie Reiner, of Brooklyn bars Clover Club and Leyenda, is to thank for this bright and bubbly punch. The recipe first appeared in her book The Craft Cocktail Party: Delicious Drinks for Every Occasion, and it is indeed perfect for any occasion. With its big-batch format, the recipe gives you enough to serve a whole crowd, so everyone at your party can enjoy the mix of gin, Aperol, St-Germain, lemon oleo saccharum, citrus juices, and rosé.

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  • Plain Killer

    Plain Killer cocktail / Tim Nusog

    As a spin on the Tiki classic Painkiller, this cocktail from James Beard Award-winning chef Tory Miller is darker, richer, and even more delicious than the original. Instead of using the traditional Pusser’s rum, this recipe opts to use El Dorado 15-year-old rum for a deeper flavor with notes of oak, coffee, and chocolate. A bit of coconut cream added to the fruit juices helps to finish it all into a deeply satisfying spin on the original.

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  • Gin Buck

    Gin Buck cocktail / Tim Nusog

    A popular summer cooler in the 1920s, this concoction deserves to come roaring back. Simply combine gin and lemon or lime juice in a Collins glass, then top with ginger ale and garnish with a citrus wedge. It’s perfect for enjoying under the summer sun.

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  • Undead Gentleman

    Undead Gentleman / Tim Nusog

    The godfather of all things Tiki, Donn Beach is to thank for many iconic cocktails, including the Zombie, which premiered in 1934 at his Hollywood bar Don the Beachcomber. However, rum and cocktail expert Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco is to thank for this updated version, which is basically just a slightly simplified version of the classic. It’s a combination of rums, lime and grapefruit juices, cinnamon syrup, velvet falernum, and more, all served in an absinthe-rinsed glass.

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    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Calafia

    Calafia / Tim Nusog

    Skip the sweet Margaritas and drink your tequila this month in a fresh and herbaceous cocktail. The recipe comes from San Francisco bartender Anthony Parks, who mixes blanco tequila and mezcal with fennel and lime juices, agave syrup, and club soda to make a tequila-forward highball that’s intricately layered and totally refreshing. Though fennel juice takes some effort, its vegetal flavors make this drink totally worth it, so be sure not to skimp.

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  • Summer Rye

    Summer Rye cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Bring rye whiskey into your late summer drinking with this refreshing whiskey drink. Sazerac rye’s bold and spicy notes and slightly subdued alcohol content is the spirit of choice from recipe creator Willy Shine, who mixes it with St-Germain, simple syrup, and lemon and Fuji apple juices. If you don’t have Fuji apple juice, any kind of apple juice will do, but fresh-pressed will yield the best results. Regardless of what kind of juice, be sure to top it all with a hefty splash of Champagne.

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  • Michelada

    Michelada / Tim Nusog

    This classic is a great way to kick a cold beer up a notch, even when it’s too hot to exert a lot of effort. Your choice of Mexican lager is the refreshing base that’s punched up with lime juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and celery salt. Serve in a glass rimmed with equal parts salt and cayenne pepper, and top with a lime wedge.

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  • Sparkling Rosé Margarita

    Sparkling Rose Margarita / Tim Nusog

    Two of summer’s best drinks, rosé and Margaritas, come together to make this show-stopping large-format cocktail for your summer celebrations. Strawberry-basil-infused blanco tequila is easy to make and adds a juicy brightness (and touch of homemade flair) to the mix of lime juice, agave syrup, and sparkling rosé. For an extra-special presentation, serve it in a punch bowl with floating strawberries and lime slices, with rose salt-rimmed glasses on the side for your guests to ladle their own servings into.

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    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Miamian’s Julep

    Miamian's Julep

    Villa Azur

    This creamy frozen concoction makes great use of bourbon in the hotter months. Invented for outdoor drinking it’s a tropical twist on the Mint Julep. Bourbon, cream of coconut, creme de banane, lime juice, and mint are blended with ice to create a slushy green drink that’s stunning on its own but made even more impressive when garnished with bourbon-flambéed banana slices.

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  • Tom Collins

    Tom Collins / Tim Nusog

    Spike your classic summertime lemonade with gin and bubbles in this all-time classic. Fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda serve as a sparkling lemonade stand-in, and London dry gin adds a healthy dash of booze. Top with a lemon wheel and maraschino cherry.

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  • Summer Tonic

    Summer Tonic / Tim Nusog

    Richly flavorful Mount Gay rum from Barbados is the backbone for this cooling rum cocktail inspired by the Gin & Tonic. Wine director Elana Abt created the drink while at the now-closed Otto in New York City, and it’s a delicious mix of rum, Borgia Bitter Rosso, lemon juice, and tonic water, full of beautiful botanical flavors. All it needs is a rosemary sprig to add an extra burst of fragrance with every sip.

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