Easy Summer Cocktails for Beginners | Best Drinks

22 July 2021
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Here’s a big secret bartenders don’t want you to know: making cool, refreshing cocktails for summer sipping isn’t that hard. All it takes is a few foundational liquors, some ice, and some fool-proof recipes. 

Foundational Shopping List

Don’t be confused by the many different types of alcohol to choose from at your local liquor store. Just go for the basics:

  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Brandy
  • Whiskey
  • Rum (dark and light)

You will also want to add some mixers to your home bar selection, including:

Club soda: Mix with vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, or tequila; club soda is sweetened

Lemons and limes: Mix with whiskey, tequila, rum, vodka, or gin 

Tonic water: Mix with gin, rum, or vodka

Sodas: Lemon lime, colas, and ginger ale are perfect add-ins for nearly every alcoholic drink

Sour mix: Mix with Gin, whiskey, vodka, tequila, and brandy

Simple syrup: Make your own by boiling equal parts of sugar and water, and letting it cool

Grenadine: Gives drinks a splash of color, with the tart and sweet flavor of pomegranate

Triple sec: Orange flavored liqueur

Soda water: Unsweetened carbonated water

Don’t forget to pick up your favorite fruit juices, like pineapple, orange, or cranberry as well as some berries, spices, and herbs for the perfect summer blends. Whipped cream and maraschino cherries are excellent toppers for frozen cocktails.


Easy Light Summer Cocktails for Beginners

Now that you have your bar stocked with essentials, let’s start making cocktails!


Brandy Pineapple Punch

Sweet, with undertones of nutmeg


  • Ice
  • Lemons for garnish
  • 9 ounces of chilled club soda
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 ounces of simple syrup
  • 3 ounces of lime juice
  • 6 ounces of pineapple juice
  • 12 ounces of brandy
  1. Combine brandy, pineapple, lime juice, nutmeg, and simple syrup in a pitcher. Chill for around ½ hour.
  2. Mix in the club soda and pour over ice, with a lemon garnish


Rum Punch

Fruity and light


  • ½ cup grenadine
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • ¼ cup light rum

Combine all ingredients, then pour over ice with an orange garnish or maraschino cherries


“Your Choice” Frozen Daiquiris

So easy, so fruity, so cool


  • 1 ½  ounces lime juice
  • 2 ounces of simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of light or dark rum
  • Your choice of fresh fruit

Combine all ingredients and blend with a cup and a half of ice. Serve in a chilled glass.


Frozen Margarita

An easy, icy favorite


  • 8 ounces of tequila
  • 4 ounces of triple sec
  • 6 cups of ice
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • Salt and lime slices for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth and slushy
  2. Rub the lime over the rim of a chilled glass, then dip the rim in salt
  3. Pour into the chilled, salted glass and garnish with lime



Light, tart, bubbly


  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 12 ounces of vodka
  • 3 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice
  • Soda water
  • Ice
  • 1 cup of fruit of thinly sliced fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
  • 3 ounces simple syrup
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  1. Place lemons and fruit in pitcher and add simple syrup, cranberry juice, and vodka
  2. Place in refrigerator for a half hour or more (up to four hours)
  3. Pour over ice into chilled glass and add a splash of soda water
  4. Garnish with mint leaves


These are just a few easy, light, and delicious summer cocktails to enjoy by the pool or on the patio. 

For more recipes, check out our picks for The Best Summer Cocktails to Cool Off at Parties.

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