Your Favorite Summer Cocktails.

Aperol Spritz - Your Favorite Summer Cocktails

This post is from last year but I wanted to freshen it up as here in Charleston it is porch and patio season and the cocktails are flowing. I keep referencing this post any time I have friends over, so I updated it with a few new favorites.

The inspiration behind this post was when a member (hi Jessica!) wrote into the Facebook group with a question:

“Does anyone have any easy, go-to summer alcoholic drinks? I’m not a big fan of beer or white wine and red doesn’t do it for me in the summer so I’m venturing into liquor (which I’ve found is usually just ok). I’ve done vodka, la croix, and lemonade and liked that so I’m looking for more drinks like that; minimal ingredients and easy to mix. I saw Simply watermelon lemonade on the grocery store website and thought about adding that to my next order. Any favorites you’d like to share?”

The comments were amazing. There were over a hundred great ideas, at least! I thought it would be fun to consolidate my favorites into a post. I bookmarked this post and refer to it all summer long when I need a little summer days entertaining inspiration.

PS – The best summer wines!

Your Favorite Summer Cocktails

Before we get into your suggestions for the best summer cocktail recipes, one of my favorite things to do is make a big pitcher of Aperol Spritzes, pictured above! The recipe is simple – lots of ice, a cup of Aperol, two cups of Prosecco, and three cups of seltzer! EASY and delicious (and yes, I usually use orange slices not lemons but I didn’t have any oranges on hand. I actually find the lemon was nice – it cuts the sweetness a bit!). An Aperol spritz makes for such a refreshing summer cocktail to beat the heat. Light and refreshing and just delicious.

Aperol & Soda

“A tall glass of ice, aperol, sparkling lemonade, and a bit of soda water. A less boozy aperol spritz and you don’t have to deal with opening a whole bottle of prosecco.”  – Amanda

The DILF (via Fancy AF)

“Muddle up 3 cucumber slices, a fresh sprig of dill, 1/4 ounce agave nectar, then add 1 1/2 ounces gin, 1 1/4 ounce lemon juice and 1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur. Shake and strain, then top it off with a splash of club soda. ” – Joanna C.

Ranch Water

(I’d actually never heard of ranch water but now I keep seeing it everywhere?)

“Ranch water!! (Over ice, it’s 2 parts good tequila, 1 part lime juice, top with Topo Chico). It is HEAVENLY.” – Ashley L.

An updated vodka or tequila soda

My newest favorite thing to do is to freeze lemon (or lime!) juice and drop a cube or two into my vodka or tequila soda. It gives it such a kick, and I love that as the ice melts, the drink gets a little more sour and delicious!

The Perfect Gimlet

“I like a good Vodka Gimlet: 2 oz Vodka, 3/4 oz Fresh lime juice, 1/2 oz Simple syrup. Garnish with a lime wheel. I secretly add more lime juice too. Make sure the vodka is ice cold.” – Devin D.

The Cape Codder

A classic summer party cocktail! To make this classic drink just combine cranberry juice and vodka. I like to lighten mine up with club soda to make it more of a cranberry vodka spritz.

Some fancy suggestions!

“Mezcal, Celery and jalapeño juice, 1/4 ounce of Chartreuse, splash of Rose’s lime juice, topped with smoked salt.”  – Kristin R.

“Mezcal, grapefruit juice, splash of rose’s lime, and a healthy scoop of minced ginger (I use Lee Kum Kee brand from Wegmans).” – also from Kristin R., who seemingly has the best cocktail ideas!

“An ode to a classic tiki drink and my favorite rum cocktail for a hot day…the Mai Tai! I prefer to use dark rum, lime, orgeat, and curaçao!” – Carly 

A red wine spritzer. Just combine half red wine and half seltzer… garnish with fresh mint sprigs and a few raspberries. I’ve started a laundry list of some of my favorite summer reds! My go-to lighter alternative if you’re not a red wine drinker would be a rosé punch.

Make a blender full of frozen drinks. Margs, piña coladas, etc. Or, you can’t go wrong with a strawberry daiquiri.

Other Easy Ideas!

“Gin + lemon spindrift + simple syrup or a tiny bit of lavender syrup (the kind you buy on Amazon, though I guess you could make your own…) or gin+blackberry spindrift+a squeeze of lemon.” – Emily

“Tequila blanco and Fresca. Otherwise known as Fresquila. Delicious!” – Abby

“Tequila, la croix, splash of OJ or pineapple juice!” – Sarah H.

A few fun takes on the classic margarita.

This post verified that you are my people as tequila is my drink of choice. You all had so many fun takes on the marg – here they are!

Citrus Margarita

“I’ve been making orange margaritas. With 1 orange (because ours have been so juicy lately), 2 blood oranges (small ones from TJs), 1 clémentine. Add a tequila and Cointreau and a tablespoon of simple syrup! So refreshing!”– Tali L

The Skinny Margarita Fizz!

“Equal parts margarita mix and lime LaCroix + tequila. Skinny margarita fizz!” – Emily L

A lower sugar version!

“2 limes, 2 shots tequila, 1 shot triple sec, lime lacroix to top off. super fresh and tart margarita without tons of excess sugar.” – Sarah G

And a bunch of other creative Marg ideas!

“Lime LaCroix, Lime Juice, Tequila (I like to infused with jalepenos), and then a splash of Orange, Watermelon, or Pineapple juice!” – Sarah C

“I’ve been doing juice from 1/2 lime, tequila (I don’t measure 🙈 but probably about the same amount as the lime juice) and top it off with Sprite Zero – all over ice. Not the most authentic margarita, but it tastes pretty darn good!: – Katie H

“Casamigos Tequila, juice from 1/2 a lime, muddled berries (either raspberries or blackberries about 5 berries) and berry flavored seltzer. Topped off with a salt sugar combo rimmed glass. Yum!”  – Kristen H

“Yesterday I squeezed some mandarins and a lime, and then topped it off with tequila, and Lacroix passion fruit (but I’m sure any sparkling water would do) Also put some chili salt on the rim. Needless to say it was delicious and highly recommend. Love all these ideas and will definitely keep them in mind we’ve all become quarantine mixologists lol.” – Tarn D

Cocktail Recipes to Bookmark!

I hope you were as inspired by these ideas as I was! And if you’d like to join the Facebook group, here’s the link! It’s private but I go in every couple days and approve new member requests!

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. I don’t drink alcohol but these sound so yummy! Thanks for sharing!❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    5.27.20 Reply
  2. Katie:

    I’ve been experimenting by making homemade simple sugar for drinks. It’s one part water, one part sugar and just boil it until you get the thickness you want. I’ve also been adding some fruit slices (whatever I have in the house) and juice while it boils to give it some flavor. I make a bunch at once and keep it in the fridge in a mason jar. Then I just add my liquor and plain sparkling water. Easy and delicious!

    5.27.20 Reply
    • Ah I love that and I do that too! I made a ginger simple syrup the other day for my ginger margaritas and it was so good. These spritzers sound amazing!

      5.27.20 Reply
  3. Lisa Autumn:

    YAY I can’t wait for all the summer cocktails to come x

    Lisa |

    5.27.20 Reply
  4. Rebecca:

    Apparently you are supposed to put an olive in your Aperol Spritz! A friend told me that and I looked it up…and it’s true!

    5.27.20 Reply
    • What!? I’ve never heard of that, and I used to work with the brand!!!

      5.27.20 Reply
      • Sar:

        I do this not with Aperol Spritzes, but with my favourite- Amaro Spritzes! Replace the aperol with an amaro (such as Montenegro) and combine with sparkling water and sparkling wine (I prefer cava because it’s a bit more dry). Garnish with a good olive and a lemon rind. So good!

        5.27.20 Reply
  5. Lucy:

    Yum! These are great suggestions. My cocktail of choice lately has been:

    2 oz. Ketel One Grapefruit Rose vodka
    4 oz. ginger ale
    12 oz. can of grapefruit seltzer (don’t pour it all in at once, just top off as needed to make the drink last longer, lol)
    Big squeeze of lime

    So good!!

    5.27.20 Reply
  6. Shana:

    Ranch water is a super Texan thing IMO 🙂 My husband lives for Topo Chico and that cocktail is definitely a go to for summer or really anytime. This list is super creative and has so many liquors and mixers I’ve never even heard of – bookmarking it for the next virtual happy hour!

    5.27.20 Reply
  7. Brianna Rooney:

    I discovered Ranch Water in Dallas in January and we were all cracking up at the table at the name. So good and a great drink!

    5.27.20 Reply
    • So it sounds like a Texas thing for sure. I’m excited to try making it – I love the name and think it will be funny to serve on my Brooklyn patio, ha ha!

      5.27.20 Reply
  8. Sarah H:

    Thank for posting my favorite easy cocktail—tequila, la croix, splash of OJ or pineapple! For anybody who likes a bit of acid or heat, add some Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning to the top!

    5.27.20 Reply
  9. Jane:

    Great stinks, loved them.

    5.27.20 Reply
  10. Shelby:

    Texas representing with the Ranch Water!

    5.27.20 Reply
  11. Maire:

    I’ve been drinking lots of John Dalys. I make sun tea with Lady Grey teabags. Fill a large glass about 3/4 of the way with the tea, add juice of a whole lemon, sugar to taste and a shot and a half of vodka. Throw in a couple of ice cubes to keep it nice and chilly!

    5.27.20 Reply
  12. Cy:

    I love Aperol spritzers! It’s become my go-to Happy Hour drink. When I was in Venice last year I became newly addicted. I did sometimes get one served with an olive( It’s an Italian thing)At home I use whatever citrus I have on hand. Been taking care of my dad more often and he has gorgeous citrus trees! Lucky us ! I also love a whiskey sour, my own version: 3 to 4 oz lime/lemon juice, 2 oz of whiskey or bourbon ( I like Jameson, but use whatever you prefer) simple syrup to taste. Sometimes I use Torani lime. Double rocks glass filled with ice. All these sound lovely

    5.27.20 Reply
  13. Cy:

    Also recently made the Smitten Kitchen piña colada. I had some open coconut milk so I used that and it was plenty sweet. I didn’t need the sweetened coconut milk or coco lopez. I did add lime. It’s mostly pineapple so pretty healthy as cocktails go.

    5.27.20 Reply
  14. Ary:

    During quarantine I discovered how easy it is to make a “smash” type cocktail. Simple syrup (I make my own and also make flavored or honey versions) + 1-2 oz tequila / rum / vodka + lime juice. Shake with ice, pour into a glass and top with seltzer, or a fizzy (alcoholic) cider.

    5.27.20 Reply
  15. Jessica C:

    I feel famous! Haha. Glad so many people are getting enjoyment from my post. I saved all of the ideas on a note on my iPhone and have referenced it a few times already!

    5.27.20 Reply
  16. Jessica Camerata:

    I love a good cocktail! Finally tried a Negroni thanks to you and will be whipping them up again soon!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

    5.27.20 Reply
    • YES, the best!!!!!

      5.27.20 Reply
      • Susan:

        And in the summer, I think it’s great to have a Negroni Spritz. Cuts down some of the alcohol as a Negroni is so strong.

        4.14.22 Reply
  17. I am so trying the Fresquila! So simply so easy!! May add some fresh lime juice to that to cute some sweetness in the Fresca!! I love this post, Grace. It is just what we need right now! Cheers!


    5.28.20 Reply
  18. jennifer:

    Am a big fan of Lillet – rose with grapefruit seltzer or white with Limonada, it’s low in alcohol which I like for day drinking although a splash of gin, vodka or sparkling wine can easily kick it up.

    4.14.22 Reply
    • I love that idea. I have no tolerance these days so LOVE a low alcohol drink or a spritz!

      4.14.22 Reply
  19. Lindsey:

    I just tried making a margarita, but swapping the tequila for bourbon and it was awesome! Less burn-y in the chest as it goes down.

    4.14.22 Reply
  20. Sally:

    My go-to cocktail for the past year has been a Bee’s Knees. Super simple!

    2 oz. gin
    1 oz. lemon juice
    3/4 oz. honey syrup (easiest way to make honey syrup is to fill a shot glass half full of honey and half full of water, then stir until it’s well mixed)

    Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, strain into a glass. Done!

    4.14.22 Reply