7 Refreshing Cocktails for the Last of Summer

We’re in the thick of the dog days of summer when temperatures and humidity levels are higher than ever. A cold cocktail has never sounded or tasted better, and now you can enjoy a refreshing moment right from the comfort of your own home. Instead of going to happy hour to get your summer drink fix, follow one of these seven refreshing cocktail recipes that will cool you down and fill you up. The end of the sunny season is drawing near, and you need to relish these boozy beverages before you’re no longer craving cold. Drink up!

1. Vodka Thyme Lemonade

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Vodka Lemonade is the quintessential summer cocktail as it entails a boozy twist on your favorite childhood drink. And this recipe from Martha Stewart takes things up one more sophisticated notch. Martha’s Vodka-Thyme Lemonade enlists fresh thyme, fresh lemon juice, vodka, and sugar, and it can be perfected in a large serving pitcher, yielding 8 servings. This drink is perfect for anyone who likes their lemonade with a little kick.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 24 lemons
  • 2 cups vodka

Directions: In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water with the sugar and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.

Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup; discard thyme. Cover with plastic; chill.

In a large serving pitcher, stir together lemon juice, vodka, and chilled syrup; garnish with thyme. Divide evenly among eight tumblers filled with ice; serve immediately.

2. Frozen Peach Old Fashioned

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If you didn’t think an Old Fashioned could get any better, then you’ve never tried this summery twist on the drink. Southern Living has a recipe for a Frozen Peach Old Fashioned, and the icy drink promises to take your worries and sweats away. It is made with bourbon, bitters, and peach sorbert, and an additional 2 cups of frozen peach slices and 1 cup of peach nectar take the peachy flavor of this Old Fashioned over the top. Prepare for brain freeze in more ways than one.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen peach slices, slightly thawed
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup peach nectar
  • 1 cup peach sorbet, softened
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon orange bitters
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • Garnishes: fresh mint sprigs, peach slices

Directions: Pulse first 4 ingredients in a blender 4 or 5 times or until combined. Add bitters and salt, and process 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth. Stir in sugar. Serve immediately.

3. Ginger Shandies

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If you’re a beer lover, this next cocktail recipe from Food & Wine is for you. These Ginger Shandies are the perfect summer drink as they are refreshing thanks to the lemon and mint, bubbly thanks to the ginger beer, and boozy thanks to the Hoegarden. This is one beverage that goes down a little too easily, but the recipe serves 6 and can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd.

Ingredients:

  • Mint springs, for garnish
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle chilled ginger beer
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon
  • 3 (11.2-ounce) bottles of chilled Hoegaarden beer

Directions: In a large pitcher, combine the Hoegaarden with the ginger beer. Stir in most of the lemon slices and mint springs. Fill 6 rocks glasses with ice. Add the remaining lemon slices to the glasses and pour in the shandy. Garnish each drink with a mint sprig and serve.

4. Watermelon Champagne Cocktail

Champagne glasses, drinks, cocktails

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In our fourth spot is a Watermelon Champagne Cocktail featured on Cooking Channel TV. This summer beverage is naturally sweetened with lime juice and fresh watermelon, and vanilla-flavored vodka, triple sec, and champagne give it a necessary boozy kick. Yielding 4 drinks and taking only 35 minutes total to make, there’s no reason you shouldn’t serve this pink and fruity drink that promises to be both thirst-quenching and refreshing. No one can say no to a Watermelon Champagne Cocktail.

 

Ingredients:
  • 4½ cups seedless watermelon cubes
  • ¼ cup vanilla-infused vodka, chilled
  • ⅛ cup triple sec
  • 1½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Champagne, for topping off the drinks

Directions: Process the watermelon cubes in a blender on high until smooth. Using a fine sieve, strain out 2 cups of the watermelon juice to a large container and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the vodka, triple sec and lime juice to the chilled watermelon juice. Stir until well combined.

When ready to serve, pour the drink into 4 champagne flutes, leaving room at the top. Gently top off each flute with some champagne.

5. Grilled Tomato and Toasted Chili Cocktail

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Some like their drinks hot — even when it’s hot outside. And when it comes to this Grilled Tomato and Toasted Chili Cocktail from Serious Eats, we can’t blame them. The spicy summer beverage gets its kick from chiles muddled in mezcal, and fresh tomatoes charred perfectly on the grill pull all the ingredients (including coriander and lime juice) together. For a departure from your typical sweet treat, toast the end of summer with this Grilled Tomato and Toasted Chili Cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 2 dried guajillo chilies, cut open, stems and seeds removed
  • 8 ounces mezcal
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, whichever variety is tasting best
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola
  • 3 ounces fresh juice, from 4 to 6 limes
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Garnish: lime wedges

Directions: Heat grill to medium-high. While grill is heating, toast chilies using tongs, turning frequently, until pliable and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Do not char or burn the chilies.

Cut the chilies into small pieces and combine with mezcal in a pitcher. Make sure chilies are totally submerged. Let sit 30 minutes. While chilies are steeping, halve tomatoes and brush with oil. Place tomatoes on grill cut sides down. Grill, flipping once, until tomatoes are soft but not falling apart and skins are lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, remove and discard skins and roughly chop.

Muddle chilies in mezcal until liquid is a pale brick red. Add tomatoes, lime juice, and coriander. Muddle until tomatoes are very broken down. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve and divide among four ice-filled glasses. Season with Worcestershire to taste and serve with lime wedges.

6. Blueberry Rum Smash

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Use up blueberries while they’re still in season, and whip up one of these refreshing Blueberry Rum Smashes from The Kitchn. This recipe serves 1 and couldn’t be easier, enlisting fresh blueberries, brown sugar, rum, and ginger ale. Instead of frequenting an over-priced happy hour, invite your friends over, multiply this recipe, and kick back and enjoy summer with this Blueberry Rum Smash.

 

Ingredients:
  • Fresh (or frozen) blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ounces rum
  • Ginger ale

Directions: Cover the bottom of an old-fashioned glass or mason jar with blueberries. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice and muddle until the sugar is melted. The idea is to break the skins of the blueberries, but not to mash them into a pulp. Fill the glass with crushed ice and then add the rum. Top with ginger ale and stir.

7. Mango Margarita

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Last but not least: Mango Margaritas featured on Coastal Living. You can only get away drinking this summery drink for so long, so drink up while boozy beverages such as these are still in season. Tequila knows no timeline, but mangoes do, and both are mixed in this drink that also enlists key lime juice, orange juice, and orange-flavored liqueur. Throw in some ice and simple syrup and blend until smooth.

 

 Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 large mango, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup Key lime juice
  • ⅓ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • ¼ cup Simple Syrup
  • Ice cubes

Directions: Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender, cover with lid, and process until smooth. Add ice to make 4 cups; process until smooth.

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