Ten Summer Cocktails to Perfect at Home

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You can make bright, refreshing drinks using ingredients from your home bar this summer.

Wondering how to perfect your favorite summer cocktails from the comfort of your own home? Well, you're in luck. We've tapped the best in the business to share the recipes for their favorite concoctions. Don’t have a particular ingredient? No problem, substitute something else, or try to order it from a liquor delivery service.

Citrus Zinger (The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte)


Courtesy The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte

1.5 oz Ketel One Citroen

.5 oz St. Germain liqueur

.5 oz lime juice

.5 oz lemon juice

.5 oz. orange juice

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass and top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Kikori Colada (William Talbott, Bar Manager at The Standard, High Line in NYC)


William Talbott/Courtesy The Standard, High Line

1.5 oz pineapple juice (canned) 

1.5 oz cream of coconut (canned; Coco Lopez)

.5 oz lime juice (fresh or bottled) 

1.5 oz Kikori Whisky

Blend with ice cubes until smooth. Pout into highball or hurricane glass and garnish with lime wedge.

Hot on the Highway (Highway Restaurant & Bar, East Hampton)


Courtesy Highway Restaurant & Bar

1 oz silver tequila

.5 oz mezcal

.5 oz Lillet Blanc

.75 oz fresh lime juice

.75 oz jalapeño infused agave

Shake ingredients together with a slice of cucumber. Strain over ice and garnish with a fresh slice of cucumber.

Mezcal Mule (Travel Bar, Brooklyn)


Courtesy Travel Bar 

2 oz Del Amigo Joven Mezcal

1 oz ginger agave syrup *

.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

club soda

Combine mezcal, syrup and lime juice over rocks in a double rocks glass. Top with club soda, garnish with lime wedge.

*Ginger agave syrup recipe:

4 oz skin on ginger, sliced thin

2 cups water

.5 cup agave syrup

Combine ingredients in pan, bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Worn Out Record (Billy Sunday, Charlotte, NC)


Courtesy Billy Sunday

1.5 oz Muddy River Coconut Carolina Rum

.75 oz lime juice

.75 oz grapefruit juice

1 oz pineapple juice

.75 oz cinnamon syrup *

2 oz local IPA (Beverage Director Stephanie Andrews uses Wooden Robot)

Combine everything except the IPA in a shaker tin and give the drink a quick, hard shake. Pour into a Collins glass over ice and top with the IPA. Garnish with a pineapple frond or mint sprig.

*Cinnamon Syrup recipe:

Toast 10 cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan, add in 2 cups water, and whisk in 2 cups sugar. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let steep for two hours (or overnight). Strain out the cinnamon and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Elderflower and Chocolate Scotch with Soda (Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr. Lyan, MasterClass series)


Courtesy Kim Lightbody

.5 oz cocoa nibs

1 bottle blended scotch

4 oz elderflower liqueur 

club soda

Add nibs to frying pan and gently toast them. Transfer to large jar, add scotch and elderflower liqueur. Infuse for up to 24 hours, then strain through sieve and store in fridge. To serve, fill highball glass with ice and add two shots of the infusion. Top with soda, stir, and garnish with mint.

California Cooler (Horsefeather, San Francisco)


Courtesy Horsefeather

1.5 oz dry gin

.75 oz fresh celery juice

.5 oz Sauvignon Blanc thyme cordial *

.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz sparkling wine, champagne preferred

Build ingredients in shaker tin except champagne and shake vigorously. Fine strain to a coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. Top with champagne and garnish with a few sprigs of thyme.

*Sauvignon Blanc thyme cordial recipe:

1 bottle 750ml Sauvignon Blanc (choose a reasonably priced one that is dry with tropical and muscat notes) 

1/2 bunch thyme 

1 small chunk horseradish, peeled and lightly crushed

1 qt white sugar

Add wine to pot and bring to a light boil to begin cooking off alcohol. Reduce heat and allow to simmer, then add the thyme and horseradish and allow to infuse over low heat for 10 minutes. Add white sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled. Remove thyme and horseradish, bottle and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Optionally add 1 oz of vodka to extend shelf life to 3 weeks.

Pineapple Fresh Fruit Cocktail (Oldies, Brooklyn)


Courtesy Industry City

.5 cinnamon syrup (or just simple syrup)

1 oz pineapple puree (blend cubed pineapples)

.5 oz lemon juice

1.5 oz Old Overholt (or any whiskey)

Add all ingredients in a shaker and shake well with ice. Serve up with a garnish of rosemary.

Vodka Cranberry (Three Sheets, London)


Loren Reed/Courtesy Three Sheets

1oz Absolut Elyx

⅛ oz Absolut Kurant

5 dashes Earl Grey pisco 

⅛ oz salted 2:1 sugar syrup

1/3 oz grapefruit sherbet

.75 oz fermented cranberry cordial

soda top

Combine first six ingredients over cubed ice in glass and stir briefly to chill and dilute. Add more cubed ice to fill the glass and top with soda. Pull through soda to combine all ingredients and garnish with lime wheel.

BERTOUX Sidecar (created by Jeff Bell, PDT, New York City)


Eric Medsker/Courtesy PDT

1.5 oz BERTOUX Brandy

.75 oz lemon juice

.5 oz Cointreau

.25 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.