Easy recipes for refreshing summer drinks (cocktails and non-alcoholic)

Last Updated August 2020
By Sian Babish

As temperatures climb, you’re probably reaching for a refreshing, ice-cold drink to cool down. While cold water is a staple summertime drink — especially since you should be drinking at least 64 ounces daily — you’re probably looking for other chilled and flavorful drinks to elevate your beverage game.

Whether you’re heading to the beach, hitting the pool, or hanging out on your porch, make sure you have a delicious drink in hand. We consulted with seasoned baristas and bartenders who shared some of their favorite summertime drinks with us — which can be made in three steps or less.

Alabama sweet tea

You’ll make a splash at backyard parties with this sweet beverage that hails from the South. 

Ingredients: 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 4 quart-sized tea bags (Optional substitution: swap 1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw for sugar)

Tools: Saucepan, tempered glass pitcher

  1. Add four cups of water and granulated sugar to the saucepan, stir, and bring to a gentle boil.

  2. Turn off heat and add two tea bags, then cover the saucepan and let steep for five minutes. 

  3. Remove tea bags and transfer liquid into the pitcher filled one-third full with ice, then refrigerate immediately.

Sugar can be adjusted to taste, though it’s important to add sugar prior to bringing water to a boil.

Cold brew coffee

Try your hand at cold brew coffee, a chilled, low-acidity drink that is especially popular among coffee drinkers in the hotter months. 

Ingredients: 1 cup ground coffee, 12 to 18 ounces filtered water

Tools: Cold brew coffee maker, water filter pitcher

  1. Add one cup of ground coffee to your cold brew coffee maker per 12 to 18 ounces of filtered water. 

  2. Let it sit overnight to enjoy a refreshing morning beverage, then remove the coffee grounds. 

  3. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week and enjoy chilled as-is or over ice with milk and sugar.

Chilled Irish coffee

Cool down with this summer spin on Irish coffee, either as an afternoon pick-me-up or as a delicious dessert drink.

Ingredients: 2 ounces Irish whiskey, 4 ounces cold brew coffee, 1 ounce heavy cream, 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Tools: Cocktail shaker

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well.

  2. Strain mixture into a tumbler filled with ice.

Fruity cucumber-infused water

This spa-inspired infusion is ultra-refreshing, especially when served ice cold. 

Ingredients: Cucumbers, fresh-squeezed lemons or lemon juice, melon, up to 64 ounces of filtered water

Tools: Infusion pitcher

  1. Slice and dice the fruits. We recommend about half a cucumber, juice from a couple of lemons, and half a melon. 

  2. Place fruit inside the infusion pitcher and let the concoction sit for at least four to eight hours — or longer if you prefer stronger flavors. 

  3. Drink over ice and freeze any leftovers into ice cubes to flavor water in a pinch.

Tropical medley water

This island-inspired medley features tropical fruits.

Ingredients: Pineapple, mango, kiwi, strawberries

Tools: Infusion pitcher

  1. Slice and dice fruits, using any combination or ratio that suits you.

  2. Place inside the infusion pitcher and let the medley sit for at least two to four hours, or overnight if you prefer a much sweeter drink.

  3. Drink over crushed or shaved ice and garnish the glass with the remaining fruit.

Zesty basil-lemon water

This refreshment combines unique flavors and ingredients in a healthy beverage that fights inflammation.

Ingredients: 1 fresh basil plant, 1 sliced lemon, 1 peeled and diced knob of ginger, 1 teaspoon of turmeric

Tools: Infusion pitcher, muddler

  1. Place all ingredients in a glass or bowl to muddle them.

  2. Add muddled ingredients to a filled water pitcher and let sit for at least two hours.

  3. Strain mixture and pour into an ice-filled glass.

Blueberry peach sangria

Kick back and relax with this summertime spin on peach sangria, which is both refreshing and invigorating. 

Ingredients: Peaches, blueberries, 1 bottle dry white wine, 1/2 cup peach Schnapps, 4 cups club soda (optional addition: 2 tablespoons sugar)

Tools: Bar spoon, sangria pitcher

  1. Pour the wine and peach Schnapps into a sangria pitcher, followed by the blueberries and diced peaches. Stir well with a bar spoon.

  2. Let mixture sit inside the refrigerator overnight. 

  3. Remove from the refrigerator and add club soda, mixing well. 

Cîroc summer colada islander

Rock out with Cîroc’s seasonal release in this contemporary spin on the classic piña colada.

Ingredients: 1.5 ounces Cîroc Summer Colada, 3 ounces pineapple juice, 1 ripe banana, splash of grapefruit juice (optional garnish: cherries, pineapple, kiwi)

Tools: Blender 

  1. Add ingredients to a blender with 3/4 cup of ice and combine until mixture is even and opaque.

  2. Pour into a tall glass and garnish if desired. 

Blue ocean cocktail

Embrace beachy vibes in this simple and sweet rum drink featuring an ocean-themed cerulean hue.

Ingredients: 2 ounces rum,  2 ounces Blue Curaçao, 2 ounces Sprite or any lemon-lime soda (Optional additions: 1 shot of vodka, 1 splash of grape juice, 1 splash of simple syrup; optional garnish: thin orange slice)

Tools: Cocktail shaker, ice crusher

  1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled three-fourths full with ice.

  2. Strain mixture and pour over ice in any glass, though a highball or Collins glass is recommended.

Mojito

For a refreshing, uplifting drink, craft your own minty mojito instead of relying on store-bought mixes.

Ingredients: 2 ounces white rum, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons sugar, splash of club soda, sprigs of fresh mint

Tools: Bar spoon, muddler

  1. Add lime juice and sugar to a tall tumbler and mix with a bar spoon until sugar is dissolved. 

  2. Add mint leaves and muddle the entire mixture.

  3. Fill the glass with ice and rum, then top off the drink with club soda.

Traditional shandy

This traditional British drink can be enjoyed with virtually any meal, especially at barbecues — or, quite simply, on its own. 

Ingredients: Chilled beer (preferably a dark variety), chilled Sprite or any lemon-lime soda

  1. Pour equal parts beer and lemon-lime soda into a tall beer glass. 

  2. Enjoy.

Wine slushies

Ice-cold slushies are an easy way to cool down in warm weather, and when you add your favorite wine, it quickly becomes your go-to summer beverage.

Ingredients: 12 to 16 ounces frozen berries and fruit (island mix recommended), bottle of wine 

Tools: Blender

  1. Add frozen berries or fruit and wine to a blender, and mix until the consistency is slushy.

  2. Add up to a cup of ice if you prefer a thinner consistency.

  3. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with fruit or edible flowers.

Grapefruit wine spritzer

Not only is grapefruit an ever-popular fruit, but it’s also a lightweight, versatile flavor — and in this recipe, it gives the classic wine spritzer a makeover.

Ingredients: 5 ounces chilled white wine, 5 ounces chilled club soda, 1/2 cup grapefruit juice

Tools: Bar spoon

  1. Combine equal parts of wine and club soda in a tall tumbler filled with ice. 

  2. Add grapefruit juice and stir gently with a bar spoon.

 

 

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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