6 Sensational Summer Cocktails
Food and Drink

6 Sensational Summer Cocktails

Summer is here. And you know what that means? We’re going to be partaking in cookouts and craft cocktails with friends and family. We’ve put together a few refreshing, summer drinks for you to consider as you plan backyard BBQ gatherings. There’s always a good reason to throw a summertime party. From graduations to birthdays and everything in between.

How do Watermelon Mojitos, Sweet “Tee” Mules, or Firecracker Jell-O Shots sound? I’m feeling pretty thirsty right now! Let’s kick things off with these sensational summer cocktails and get ready to wow your guests!

Watermelon Mojitos

Adapted from spendwithpennies.com, image: Deposit photos, cjaman

"Sweet juicy watermelon, lime and fresh mint create the perfect summer cocktail while entertaining friends at the next tailgate or backyard barbecue."

Serves: 6


6 cups watermelon, cubed and seeded

1 cup simple syrup

50 fresh mint leaves

¾ cup fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)

1 cup white rum

1–3 cups lemon/lime soda, chilled

Make the simple syrup by adding a cup of sugar to a cup of boiling water and stirring until dissolved. While it cools, blend the watermelon pieces until pureed. Strain to remove the pulp, if you prefer, but it’s the really tasty part. Measure out 2 cups of the juice. Drop the mint leaves in the bottom of a large pitcher, pour just a little of the watermelon juice in to add moisture, and gently muddle the mint a few times to release that refreshing mint flavor. Don’t pulverize it. Pour in the rest of the watermelon juice, lime juice, simple syrup and rum. Stir. Now add ice to the pitcher (or use additional watermelon juice to make flavored ice cubes or an ice ring to keep the flavor strong). Add the bubbly soda to top off the jug or to taste and serve.

Sweet “Tee” Mule

Image: Deposit Photos, weyo
adapted from clubandresortchef.com

"In the last few years, this sweet gem has made the rounds on the golf circuit. Don’t sweat the sweet tea vodka. It’s as easy to make as a 2-inch putt. "

6 blackberries

2 ounces simple syrup

¼ cup sugar

2 ounces sweet tea vodka

2 ounces ginger beer

1 lime (juice enough for a couple squeezes)

To get them wet, dunk each blackberry into the simple syrup, then roll in the sugar before spearing 3 of the big ones on golf tees or on the garnish stick of choice. Grab a chilled copper mug and pour in the sweet tea vodka, ginger beer, and two solid squeezes of lime. Top up with crushed ice, drop in the remaining 3 sugar-coated berries, and stir. More berries may be desired, or you can muddle a few in the simple syrup for more blackberry flavor.

For sweet tea vodka: Steep 10 black tea bags in a bottle of vodka for up to 12 hours, depending on how strong you desire. Or do a cup of vodka with 2 bags in about 20 minutes. Sweeten to taste with simple syrup. Bourbon works well as a sweet tea too.

Firecracker Jell-O Shots

Adapted from delish.com

"These firecracker jell-o shots are sure to spark up your Fourth of July backyard barbecue party."

Serves: 36


1 3-ounce package berry blue Jell-O

1 3-ounce package cherry Jell-O (or strawberry)

4 packets Knox plain gelatin, divided

3 cups cold vodka, divided

1 cup milk

¼ cup sugar

36 maraschino cherries, for garnish

Blue layer. In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of water with the blue Jell-O packet. Sprinkle 1 envelope of the plain gelatin onto the mixture and allow it to sit for 1 minute. Whisk everything until mixed and heat on medium. When it reaches a simmer, add 1 cup of the vodka and whisk again. Pour 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of this blue mixture into each shot glass and place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

White layer. In a medium saucepan, pour in the milk, sprinkle in 2 envelopes of the plain gelatin, and let sit for 1 minute. Add the sugar and whisk. Heat the mixture on medium until it reaches a simmer, then add 1 cup vodka and whisk again. Make sure this white mixture cools to room temperature, then spoon in about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon on top of each blue layer. If you do this too soon, the warmer white layer will melt into the blue. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Red layer and cherries. This is a repeat of the blue layer but with the cherry gelatin. In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup water with the cherry Jell-O packet. Sprinkle 1 envelope of plain gelatin on top, and let it sit for 1 minute. Whisk together, then heat the concoction on medium until it reaches a simmer. Add 1 cup vodka and whisk. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, set a cherry in each cup and add in a little over 1 tablespoon of the red Jell-O mixture to top off each glass. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve.

Jalapeño Summer

Adapted from 7UP.com

"This tipple embodies both the sizzling heat and the sweet, fresh fruits of a fizzy, fun summer. "

1 ½ ounces tequila

½ ounce maple syrup

3 strawberries, halved

2 slices jalapeño

dash Peychaud’s bitters

½ ounce lime juice

1 ½ ounces 7UP

Garnish: lemon or lime wheel

Muddle the strawberries and jalapeños. Add more jalapeños for more heat but don’t let them overpower the layering of flavors.

Add the muddled mixture, tequila and syrup to a shaker and mix. Fill with ice and shake until chilled, about 20 seconds.

Strain over crushed ice. Add a dash of bitters and a squeeze of lime. Pour in the bubbly 7UP. Garnish with a lemon or lime slice.

The Ice Cream Sandwich

Adapted from supercall.com

"Remember the thrill of the ice-cream truck chiming down your street every summer as a kid? Now you can sit on the porch, sipping this smooth, ice-cream sandwich cocktail instead, and skip the line at the truck."

1 ½ ounces dark rum

1 ounce chocolate vodka

½ ounce creme de cacao

¼ ounce Kahlúa

¾ ounce egg whites

1 dash vanilla extract


Glass: coupe or martini

Garnish: orange zest or sandwich cookie crumbs

In a shaker, pour in all the ingredients and shake for about a minute, maybe more, to ensure the egg whites will not separate from the mixture. The egg whites give the beverage a rich, creamy texture and an enticing foamy cap.

Add ice cubes and shake for another minute to chill the concoction.

Strain the mixture into the glass. Garnish with a few shavings of orange zest or, for a throwback to childhood, a sprinkling of finely ground sandwich cookies, but not the filling. The cookie part tastes a lot like the outside of an ice-cream sandwich.

Peach, Tea and Bourbon Slushie

Adapted from olivemagazine.com; image: Deposit photos, rawlik

"This strong libation takes a bit more than stirring, but it holds a smoother, deeper, more quenching flavor than the usual fruity jug cocktails. "

Serves: 6


2 English breakfast tea bags

1 ¾ cups boiling water

3 teaspoons sugar

4 peaches, diced into bite-sized pieces

1 ¼ cups bourbon

Once the water boils, drop in the tea bags to steep for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and let it cool completely. Then pour into a blender, drop in the peach pieces and bourbon, and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture into a plastic container or resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 hours, testing after an hour until it reaches slushie consistency. Pour into a large jug and serve, preferably in chilled glasses.