DIY Summer Cocktails: Beat the Heat While Whetting Your Whistle With These Tasty Recipes

cocktailsStaying home with a few friends and a board game, barbeque, or movie is a great way to spend a lazy summer evening while spending less cash. But don’t miss out on some great summer cocktails just because you’re not a bartender.

Club soda, plenty of ice, and few more ingredients are all you need to mix up some refreshing cocktails. No blender or bottle-flipping skills required.

The cocktail recipes featured here have some key similarities: they’re not too strong, not too sweet, and not too heavy. Like lemonade or iced tea, summer cocktails should be easy to drink and refreshing.

The results will only be as good as what goes into the mix. Don’t buy the alcohol on the lowest shelf unless you’re planning a kegger. It’s down there for a reason. All the ingredients should be cold.


Limoncello Gin

1 oz Limoncello

1 oz gin

4 oz club soda


lemon for garnish

Fill glass with ice, add Limoncello and gin. Top off with club soda, stir, and garnish with lemon slice or twist. Twists are cute and only a little more complicated. Cut a lemon slice so it opens like a Pac-Man. Pull the fruity part out, hold the remaining rind at both ends, and gently twist over the finished cocktail. Gingerly place the resulting curly-q on the glass edge. Say ciao to thirst.

Cheap & Easy

White Wine Spritzer

white wine

club soda

Fill glass ¾ full with chilled white wine. Top off with cold club soda. Like it weaker? Use less wine. Like it stronger? Don’t drink a white wine spritzer. Used flavored soda for a fun twist. Garnish with a lemon or lime slice if you want to appear fancier than you are.

Crowd Pleaser



triple sec

frozen limeade concentrate


coarse salt


optional: Sambuca

Empty the frozen concentrate into a pitcher and use the empty container to measure the other ingredients. Add a can full of tequila, then half a can of triple sec and half a can of water. Add a dash of Sambuca if you have it and are feeling adventurous, and mix until thoroughly combined. Moisten the rim of large glasses and dip in salt. Pour margaritas into glasses, squeeze a fresh lime wedge over it to give it that fresh lime flavor, and drink!


Salty Dog

2 oz vodka

grapefruit juice

coarse salt


Moisten the rim of a tall glass and dip in coarse salt. Sugar could be used if the juice is very tart, but then you’d have to call it a Sugary Dog and that doesn’t sound as manly. Fill glass with ice, add vodka and grapefruit juice, stir, drink, repeat. Don’t like salt? Leave it off and you’ve got a Greyhound.

And don’t forget: drink responsibly.

By Lana Jones


Editor’s Picks

Being a great college town, I thought I’d add a few entries to the list that would appeal to those looking for a little function over form.

cocktailThe Day Off


12 cans of Simpler Times pilsner (found at Trader Joe’s)

2 gallons lemonade Kool-Aid

Mix together with a 50 / 50 ratio to make an Americanized version of what the German’s call Radler. Enjoy slowly over the course of the entire day, starting at breakfast. You go back to work tomorrow, so get your money’s worth.

Desperate Ian

Gross Infusion

1 bottle of Smirnoff Ice (or similar)

3 shots of Jagermeister

Pour it all into a glass and stir. Rumor has it that this will taste like a very boozy root beer of sorts.

By Johnny Beaver