7 Easy Pitcher Cocktails
Food and Drink

7 Easy Pitcher Cocktails

Summer calls for a cold pitcher brimming with something fresh, sometimes fizzy, often fruity, and always ice-cold and refreshing. Pitcher Cocktails are made to serve a crowd. These big-batch beverages let your guests pour for themselves so you can mingle, man the grill, or watch the game. How does Blackberry Prosecco Punch, Watermelon Mojitos or Margaritas for the Masses sound? We are also partial to the Gin Bucket, so I suggest trying this one!  Here are 7 easy pitcher cocktails to cool things off at your next outdoor gathering. Grab your cocktail pitchers and get ready to impress your friends and family!

Gin Bucket

Recipe courtesy of Cassandra Sissom

"Conceived at Indiana University, the Gin Bucket emerged from the ancient rivalry game between IU and Purdue. Dubbed the Old Oaken Bucket, the teams first faced off in 1925, awarding the trophy of—you guessed it—an old oaken bucket. The traditional Gin Bucket is drunk through turkey basters. No answers to that mystery yet. For a Super Gin Bucket, add tequila."

Makes: 1 gallon


2 liters gin

2 liters Fresca (or any lemon lime soda)

1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate

1 12-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate

2 lemons, sliced in rounds

3 limes, sliced in rounds

In a washed, metal bucket (or container of your choice), thoroughly mix the gin with the two concentrates (still frozen). Drop in the slices of fruit and stir. Gently pour in the bubbly soda to preserve the fizz. You can use up to 4 liters of soda to adjust the strength of the punch. Serve over ice.

Grapefruit Negroni

Adapted from athoughtforfood.com; image: Deposit photos- marketing.lasers@ya.ru

"Aperol is sweeter than Campari in this more citrusy version of the classic Negroni, which makes this less boozy punch better suited for thirsty summer guests and tailgaters."

Serves: 12


1 ½ cups ruby red grapefruit juice (from 2–3 grapefruits)

1 ½ cups gin

1 ½ cups sweet vermouth

1 ½ cups Aperol

10–12 dashes orange bitters

grapefruit wedges, for garnish

Pour it all into a jug and stir slowly while you watch the sunset. Pour into glasses loaded with ice and slices of grapefruit.

Hawaiian Margaritas

Adapted from crazyforcrust.com; image: Deposit photos, antonmatyukha

"A Hawaiian-themed party, backyard barbecue, tailgate, or fete creates the ultimate vibe for celebrating once again together and letting loose. This jug of exotic flavors reflects that mood perfectly."

Serves: 10–12


3 cups tequila

1 ½ cups triple sec

1 32-ounce can pineapple juice

1 ½ cups coconut water

1 cup lime juice

pineapple, orange and cherries, for garnish

Mix everything in a jug, stir it up, and pour over ice in chilled glasses. Or make pineapple juice or coconut water ice cubes, so the crisp zing of flavor never gets diluted.

Blackberry Prosecco Punch

Adapted from crazyforcrust.com; image: deposit photos, Radachinskiy

"Make this bubbly delight ahead and let it sit in the fridge even a full day before, which intensifies the flavor of the blackberry and mint. Wait to add the prosecco until you’re ready to serve."

Serves: 10–12


6 cups prepared lemonade, chilled

1/3 cup citrus or regular vodka

1 pint blackberries, frozen

3 sprigs fresh mint

1 750mL bottle prosecco, chilled

In a gallon pitcher, pour in the lemonade and vodka. Add the blackberries, mint, and finally the prosecco. The frozen berries serve as flavored ice cubes, but on hot summer days, serving over ice only adds to cool refreshment.

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.

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.

Frozen Margaritas for the Masses

"Here’s a tried-and-true recipe that’s satisfied many a Margaritaville night for friends and family of Tailgater Editor-In-Chief and owner Craig Renfro. It’s basically fool-proof (as he requires) and is easy as 1-2-3. All you need is a blender, ice, limeade, tequila and triple sec."

Step 1: In two-quart blender pour six ounces (or more) of your favorite tequila and two ounces (or more) of Triple sec or Grand Marnier. Then add a 12-ounce can of frozen limeade.

Step 2: Add water, or ice, to your desired consistency and blend.  If preferred, salt your margarita glasses and add a slice of lime.  Serve immediately.

Step 3: Enjoy!