Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Summer

11 Cocktails to Make for Labor Day

These light, bright drinks are perfect for your end-of-summer celebrations.

Averna Limonata cocktail
Image: / Tim Nusog

It’s the unofficial end of summer, and the perfect excuse to throw one last outdoor bash before fall sets in. Whether you’re hosting a crowd in your backyard or just looking for something to sip solo on your porch, these cocktail recipes have you covered. Make the most of late-summer produce with a Tomato Spritz or serve big groups with ease with the Negroni Sbagliato punch. These 11 Labor Day cocktails are perfect for however you choose to observe summer’s end.

  • Tomato Spritz

    Tomato Spritz / Tim Nusog

    Tomatoes are at their peak right now, so it’s the right time to work their juicy sweetness into all your recipes for Labor Day, including your cocktails. This recipe uses tomatoes two ways—in the form of tomato water and a cherry tomato shrub—to make the most of the produce. Not only do they add acidity and brightness to a drink, they’ll also bring a beautifully vegetal note that plays well with ingredients like gin, extra-dry vermouth, club soda, and prosecco. 

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  • Rosé Sangria

    Rose Sangria / Tim Nusog

    Rosé is the unofficial drink of summer, so it’s only natural to celebrate the unofficial end of the season with a cocktail featuring the wine. The fruity flavors of rosé lend themselves seamlessly to Sangria in this recipe, which ups the rosy hues with pamplemousse liqueur, strawberries, and raspberries. You can add in any other fruit you like, as long as you’re sure to top it all with club soda for a touch of bubbles and refreshment.

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  • Summerthyme Screwdriver

    Summerthyme Screwdriver / Tim Nusog

    If you’re inviting the whole gang over for a backyard barbecue, try making a batch of this bright punch so you don’t have to mix individual drinks all day. As a bonus, this twist on the brunch staple is ideal for drinking literally any time of day, so you can make it in the morning, then keep sipping as long as your celebrations last. The mix of vodka, Aperol, orange juice, and club soda is a crowd-pleasing mix that’s brought together with just a touch of thyme and some fresh oranges and lemons. 

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  • Old Pal

    Old Pal / Tim Nusog

    Bridging the divide between summer and autumn with its combination of rye whiskey, Campari, and dry vermouth (using sweet instead would render it a Boulevardier), this drink is the bright and bitter dark-spirit sipper the end of the season calls for.

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    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • St-Germain Cocktail

    St-Germain Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    St-Germain is often called “the bartender’s ketchup,” and for good reason: The floral liqueur, which was created in 2007 by late spirits pioneer Rob Cooper, is good in almost any cocktail. This recipe, created by Simon Difford to coincide with the launch of the product, helps the liqueur to truly shine among Champagne or dry white wine and club soda to make a light and refreshing cocktail that’s ideal for cooling off during those late-summer shindigs. 

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  • Mezcal Mule

    Mezcal Mule / Tim Nusog

    Ease your summer Mules into the new season with this simple spin from Jim Meehan, created at PDT in New York City. The usual ginger beer and lime are here, but they’re paired with mezcal instead of vodka. Add in a little passion fruit puree and some muddled cucumber, and you have a Mule you won’t want to put down.

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  • Sour Shandy

    Sour Shandy / Lynette Marrero

    A touch of sour-beer syrup is the secret ingredient in bar pro Lynnette Marrero’s amped-up shandy that calls for your choice of clear spirit, citrus juice (again, your call), and lager beer. It’s an endlessly customizable drink that, once you have the beer syrup on hand, is a breeze to make.

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  • Bahama Mama

    Bahama Mama cocktail / Tim Nusog

    What would an end-of-summer celebration be without a vacation classic or two? This take on the beachy favorite uses coconut and dark overproof rums that are combined with coffee liqueur to create a deep and complex base that tampers the sweetness of pineapple juice. Serve it in a hurricane glass with a skewered brandied cherry and a pineapple wedge, and sip up the last bit of summer.

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    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Old Cuban

    Old Cuban / Tim Nusog

    Bartending legend Audry Saunders created this cocktail in 2001 and it later became a staple on the menu at the now-shuttered Pegu Club. A mix of mint, lime, aged rum, bitters, and Champagne create a drink that’s as if the Mojito and a French 75 birthed a cocktail that’s better than the sum of their parts.

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  • Negroni Sbagliato

    Negroni Sbagliato / Tim Nusog

    This big-batch punch is perfect for when you’re hosting a large group. It’s a scaled-up version of the Negroni twist that swaps in prosecco for the usual gin, alongside Campari and sweet vermouth. This version adds in seasonal fruit for an extra festive touch.  

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  • Averna Limonata

    Averna Limonata cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This easy highball of bittersweet amaro Averna and lemon-flavored soda produces a low-ABV drink that’s perfect for sipping in the sunshine. Simply throw the two ingredients together over ice and give it all a brief stir, then garnish with a sunny lemon wheel and a sage leaf for an Italian-style treat.

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