Warmer weather is pretty much synonymous with a busier social calendar, more time spent outdoors, and taking a few moments to enjoy the finer things in life. As most of us can relate, a great way to catch up and enjoy those lingering hours of post-work sunsets is to indulge in a cocktail (or mocktail) among friends. That’s why we set out to find the best summer cocktails that are big on flavor, light on the workload, and refreshing enough to keep you feeling hydrated and happy all season long.
Whether it’s hosting or going out with friends, summer is well-known for its increase in social activities. Particularly after years of pandemic restrictions and cold, lonely winters, many of us look forward to the joy this season brings. A recent survey from last year even found that 68 percent of respondents were looking forward to making up for “lost” summers due to the pandemic and 64 percent consider themselves to be more excited for summer than in previous years. More daylight boosts the mood for more than half (55%) of respondents and 61 percent feel guilty if they “burn daylight” during the summer months. Hoping to take advantage of as much as possible during the summer months, respondents are looking forward to catching up with friends (43%), going out more often (39%), and music festivals (35%).
“Warmer months do tend to have an impact on our overall happiness and well-being,” says Helene D. Moore, Psy.D., a psychiatrist at the Northwestern Medicine Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in Chicago, tells Health Central. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health even indicates that social drinking is linked to enhancing positive emotions and social experiences.
So, grab a cold one with friends and cheers to making memories! To help you out, StudyFinds set out to find the best summer cocktails, visiting 10 expert websites to put together the five best concoctions recommended across expert websites. If you have your own favorite drink to sip on, please leave them in the comments below!
The List: Best Summer Cocktails, Per Drink Connoisseurs
1. Aperol Spritz
Simple with widely accessible ingredients, the famous Italian cocktail had a huge boom a few years ago and doesn’t seem to be losing its momentum anytime soon. “The Aperol Spritz, also known as the Spritz Veneziano, is an Italian classic that has an iconic bitter-sweetness reminiscent of burnt orange and tart rhubarb. When paired with Prosecco and a bit of soda water, it makes an amazing cocktail to drink in the warmer months,” writes Delish.
Aperol Spritzes also make a great summer drink as they’re not too heavy and can be enjoyed before the sun goes down guilt-free. “This slightly bitter, mostly sweet Italian spritz was first integrated into homo sapien brunch rituals in the year 870 BCE. Probably,” jokes Esquire.
Along the same lines, spritz variations like the Campari Spritz and Limoncello Spritz are also widely popular for summertime drinking. “The beauty of this cocktail is its simplicity and versatility. No matter what liqueur you’re using, the formula is always the same: 3 oz. dry sparkling wine (like cava or prosecco) to 2 oz. liqueur to 1 oz. soda water. Easy to remember! 3, 2, 1. Plus ice and a garnish, of course, to honor Italy’s most refreshing contribution to the season of summer,” says Bon Appetit.
2. White & Rosé Sangria
Endlessly adaptable and surprisingly light, drink experts agree that both White and Rosé Sangria variations top the list as one of the best cocktails to sip on this summer. “The Spanish drink sangria draws its name from the blood-red color of its traditional red wine base. This stripped-down version gets its rich golden hue — and zingy flavors — from white wine, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and a kick of brandy,” mentions Food and Wine.
Sangria is particularly loved for its big batch recipes, perfect for parties or large gatherings and best part? No citrus squeezing involved! “We like to think of this refreshing sangria as spa water but with a little buzz!” states Bon Appétit.
But not all Sangrias are created equal, make sure to seek out quality ingredients and don’t skimp on an abundance of seasonal fruit. “Any summertime dinner can be improved with a pitcher of sangria. Seek out superfine granulated sugar for this recipe, which dissolves quickly in the wine and liqueur,” advises Epicurious.
Tequila is a well-loved liquor for the warmer months and the Paloma is a delicious and simple cocktail that’s a great alternative to your classic Margarita. “On a blazing summer day, nothing hits quite like a sweet, sour, and lightly salty paloma cocktail that comes together in just a moment,” claims Bon Appetit.
The Paloma consists of just four to five simple ingredients: grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila, sparkling water and simple syrup or liqueur (optional). “The Paloma is a grapefruit cocktail so it goes well when the heat is beating down and you want something that can help you cool off,” says The Kitchen Community. “You’ll end up making a couple of these so you might as well make a big batch and stick it in the fridge for later.”
Looking to switch things up? Try substituting the Tequila with Mezcal for a smokey and equally delicious drink. “Crisp and tart, the Paloma is a tequila-based ringer in the summer cocktail category,” adds Esquire.
4. Piña Colada
Our list wouldn’t be complete without a few frozen cocktails, and the Piña Colada makes the cut for a variety of factors: boozy, decadent and basically a dessert in a cocktail. “Coconut milk provides richness that rounds out sweet-tart chunks of frozen pineapple, adding a creamy texture to this lighter take on classic piña coladas that uses both white and dark rum. Be sure to vigorously shake the can of coconut milk before opening to recombine the coconut liquids and coconut cream,” recommends Food and Wine.
High in both alcohol and natural sugar, Piña Coladas are the perfect summer drink if you’re looking to waste away your evening on the beach (or your porch, patio, fire escape, really, wherever). “This easy, refreshing slushie is perfect for long, lazy summer afternoons,” BBC Good Food writes.
Piña Coladas are also well-loved for hitting the perfect sweet spot. “With its winning combination of coconut, pineapple juice, and rum, this piña colada recipe is creamy, just sweet enough, and utterly refreshing. Blend a batch at home and pretend you’re on a beach somewhere,” notes Epicurious.
Frosé had its moment a few years ago and is still going strong as one of the best cocktails of the summer thanks to its perfectly creamy texture, fresh fruity taste and strong kick. “Frose is a mashup between a frozen cocktail and that quintessential summery pink wine. Truly the best way to beat the heat!” states A Couple Cooks.
While Frosé is often associated with restaurants and bars, it’s actually easier than you think to make right at home! “You don’t need to go to a bar to enjoy frosé. With a good blender, it’s super easy to make it yourself. [Strawberries] add the perfect amount of sweetness and body to the summer cocktail,” says Delish.
A tip from the experts? Just because it’s a mixed drink, don’t forget to be choosy with your wine. “Choose a full-flavored, full-bodied, dark-colored rosé for freezing. It will lose some of its color and will be a bit diluted after freezing and blending; you want something that can hold its own,” recommends Bon Appetit.
You might also be interested in:
- Bon Appetit
- NY Times
- Food and Wine
- BBC Good Food
- The Kitchen Community
- Food Network
- A Couple Cooks
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.