Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Summer

11 Great Cocktails to Make for Labor Day

They’ll be your companions through the transition from summer into fall.

Bicicletta cocktail
Bicicletta Image: / Tim Nusog

As we reach summer’s unofficial end, it’s time to take a step back and raise a glass to everything you’ve accomplished over the past few months (even if all you’ve done is survive the heat). From a light and refreshing take on a Gimlet to a festive sparkling watermelon punch, we have just the cocktails to usher you out of summer and into fall.

  • Blue Hawaii

    Blue Hawaii cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Give one final toast to the season with this vibrant tropical sipper. Vodka and light rum form the boozy base, while blue curaçao adds its signature color and pineapple juice and sweet-and-sour mix sweeten it all up. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a cocktail umbrella and pineapple wedge.

    Get the recipe.

  • Sparkling Watermelon Punch

    Sparkling Watermelon Punch / Tim Nusog

    Couldn’t stop yourself from buying too many adorable baby watermelons at the supermarket? This will help you use them up. One mini melon makes enough punch for two when blended with mint, then strained and combined with vodka, lime juice and simple syrup. Pour it all into a hollowed-out watermelon half, top it with sparkling wine for a festive kick, and serve with a straw for sipping straight out of the vessel.

    Get the recipe.

  • Sea Breeze Cooler

    Sea Breeze Cooler / Tim Nusog

    Light and refreshing, this cocktail has been around since 1930, but it’s a secret sibling—and a well-kept secret, at that—of its better-known relative. Once you have a sip of the gin, apricot brandy, lemon and grenadine combo, though, you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it before. Especially when it’s topped with a little soda water and fresh mint, this is one of the most summery sippers you’ll have.

    Get the recipe.

  • Crush Crush

    Crush Crush

    Maryland’s infamous beach cocktail, the Orange Crush, gets an upgrade in this frozen variation. Mandarinetto liqueur brings a burst of classic orange flavor, while white rum adds a Tiki twist. Velvet falernum and lime, orange and pineapple juices round out the summery flavors and bring a little bit of beach to any celebration.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Whiskey Smash

    Whiskey Smash / Tim Nusog 

    If you’re looking to start mixing drinks with the darker spirits of fall while it’s still hot enough to require something light and refreshing, the Whiskey Smash is your perfect middle point. Bourbon gets lightened with simple syrup and mint leaves, while a little muddled lemon adds brightness and acidity. Even if you think you’ll never drink whiskey in the warmer months, try it—you may be surprised.

    Get the recipe.

  • Daiquiri

    Daiquiri / Tim Nusog

    Celebrate the unofficial end of summer with this Caribbean staple. In its purest form, the Daiquiri is a simple yet sublime cocktail, the pride of Havana. This recipe returns the drink to that state of perfection, using only light rum, lime juice and demerara sugar syrup to create a cocktail that’s a far cry from the overly sweet frozen iterations that have tainted its reputation over the years.

    Get the recipe.

  • Cucumber, Basil & Lime Gimlet

    Cucumber Basil & Lime Gimlet / Tim Nusog

    Bump up your classic Gimlet with some fresh flavors to help you ride out the last hot summer days. Gin’s herbal notes are enhanced with basil, while cucumber adds a touch of coolness. Muddle cucumber and basil together, then shake with vodka, lemonade, lime juice and ice until chilled. Strain over ice, then garnish with a fresh basil leaf. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Dark ’n Stormy

    Dark and Stormy / Tim Nusog

    One of the simplest cocktails to make and also one of the most satisfying, this combination of black strap rum, lime juice and ginger beer will see you through the muggiest late-summer days, no thunderstorm necessary. 

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Top of the Morning

    Top of the Morning Cocktail


    What better way to begin a day off than with a festive Mimosa-like concoction? This mix of orange juice, cava and hefeweizen is a close relative of that most traditional of brunch drinks, with the beer rendering it ideal for a lazy day in the sun.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tom Collins

    Tom Collins cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Similar to a sparkling lemonade with gin, this combination of lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda and the juniper spirit is a classic cocktail made for sipping alongside the pool or wherever your Labor Day finds you.

    Get the recipe.

  • Bicicletta

    Bicicletta cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Combining two Italian favorites, white wine and Campari and topping it all with soda water, this refreshing aperitivo is like a vacation in a glass. Tip: Use a better-than-basic wine to take this cocktail from good to great. 

    Get the recipe.