21 Classic Summer Cocktails to Beat the Heat

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It’s summertime and the drinking is light and cool and often fizzy. When the weather heats up, nothing is more refreshing than an icy cocktail sipped at brunch or a casual lunch or dinner, or at a backyard cookout. (Before you fire up that grill, consult these tips for the perfect barbecue from the experts.)

Although a cold beer or chilled rosé may be your alcoholic beverage of choice this time of year, why not be more adventurous? A frosty cocktail combining spirits, fruit flavors, and maybe something carbonated quenches your thirst and cools you down at the same time. 

What makes a great summer cocktail? Plenty of ice is a must-have ingredient. A lukewarm drink will never satisfy your appetite for a refreshing beverage on a steaming summer day. Gin and rum form the basis of many hot weather drinks — for instance the classic Gin and Tonic and tonic and the always popular Daiquiri. But vodka, tequila, red wine, even beer can also form the basis for a satisfying July or August beverage. 

Summer cocktails tend to be sweet, either from fresh fruit juices or added sugar, but their sweetness can be toned down a bit by the addition of tart lime juice — a common ingredient in these tipples. Fizzy water finishes off many of these drinks so you won’t get dehydrated when you imbibe. (See 13 warning signs you’re way too dehydrated.)

This is by no means a complete list of great summer cocktails. They’re just the traditional ones that tend to come up time and again when people are deciding how to cool down and relax.