The Best Summer Cocktails You Have to Try

When the sun is shining and the days are long, nothing quite hits the spot like a summer cocktail. Made with fresh ingredients and brimming with unique flavors, these refreshing cocktail recipes are sure to delight at any backyard barbeque or rooftop happy hour. And they’re not just for summer, either—transport yourself to a tropical location any time of year with one of these bright, fresh cocktails. 

Our Flying Embers hard beverages are cocktail-inspired creations, so we had to put together a list of our greatest inspirations—as well as some twists to take them to the next level.

Aperol Spritz

A spritz is a simple Italian wine-based cocktail consisting of Aperol, prosecco, club soda, and a slice of fresh orange to compliment the Aperol’s zesty orange-vanilla-herbal liqueur.

These drinks were born during the 1800s when Venezia was under Austrian rule. The soldiers were looking for a way to dull the alcohol content of Venetian wine and asked bartenders to add water to their glasses. The drink evolved from there into the Aperol Spritz we know today.

Looking for a way to make this aperitif even better? Swap out the prosecco for a splash of Midknight Mimosa hard kombucha for a touch of tartness with all the lusciousness of Valencia oranges. Perfect for summer—or just about any time you feel like it. 

Piña Colada

If you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain...

Well, we’re not sure about the rain part (that just seems uncomfortable, TBH), but we definitely do love the sweet, creamy taste of a piña colada. 

A smoothie-like blend of pineapple, lime, coconut, and rum, this might be the signature summer cocktail. Spanish for “pressed pineapple,” this drink hails from Puerto Rico, where it was invented by a local bartender at the Caribe Hilton hotel in 1954.

It was served by the bartender for the next 35 years, eventually becoming the official drink of Puerto Rico in 1978. The Caribe Hilton continues to serve the drink and has even introduced new recipes to showcase twists on the classic cocktail.

To add a kick to your piña colada, swap the pineapple juice for Pineapple Chili hard kombucha. Juicy and sweet, with the perfect amount of kick, this drink is the escape you’ve been looking for. 

Sangria

Well, it’s not technically a cocktail, but sangria deserves a mention in any conversation about summertime drinks. 

This drink with Spanish origins essentially adds up to fruit punch with alcohol. Traditionally made with red wine and served in a pitcher, modern iterations have seen sangria made with white, rosé, and a wide assortment of fruits, including watermelon, peach, and strawberry.

Probably the oldest drink on this list, sangria’s origins can be partially traced back to the early Greeks and Romans. They mixed wine with sugars, spices, and whatever else they could find and heated it like mulled wine. So, yeah, your sangria is a piece of history. 

The Spanish were doing something similar with their coveted grapes. Their recipe eventually spread through parts of Europe, with individual variations on the original recipe. It wasn’t until the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City that the Spain pavilion featured the drink and brought the craze stateside.

Today, the recipe varies from bartender to bartender, but generally, sangria includes wine, fruit juice (usually orange juice), sweeteners like simple syrup, club soda, fruit, and a flavored liqueur. If summer is long gone, you can also make fall and winter versions of this classic by choosing seasonal fruits or subbing apple cider for the club soda. 

Bump up the fruit flavor by switching out the club soda for some Black Cherry Rose hard seltzer. The light floral notes of the seltzer will add that extra something you didn’t know your sangria was missing. 

Mojito

Since we love botanicals in all their forms, you probably guessed that we were fans of the mojito. An iconic summer cocktail, this herb-centric cocktail blends fresh lime juice, rum, and fresh mint. Raspberry and strawberry mojitos are also popular berry twists on the classic concoction.

The history of the mojito is a bit murky, but most at least agree that it originated in Cuba. Rum was not as smooth as it is today, and Cuban farmers had to find ways to make it more palpable. Lime, sugar, club soda, and mint became favorite additions.

When prohibition hit the States, Havana became a popular destination for those who wanted to kick back with a cocktail. The mojito migrated from the fields to the barrooms and became a hit with patrons. Rumors have swelled around Earnest Hemmingway’s love of the drink, which further pushed its popularity stateside.

More recently, James Bond can be seen sipping one in 2001s Die Another Day. Today, it continues to be one of the most popular drinks in the world. 

For a mojito with some extra oomph, consider using Clementine Hibiscus or Pineapple Cayenne hard seltzer instead of club soda. 

Moscow Mule

You can enjoy this fan-favorite any time of the year, but they’re especially invigorating on a warm summer day. A mule is vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice combined and served in the iconic copper mug. 

Mules are a classic for a reason, and it’s not just because of their fancy flagons. They are easy to make and perfect for hosting. Some other popular variations switch out the vodka for gin or mezcal.

We can trace the copper mug back to Sophie Berezinski, a Russian immigrant. She came to America with 2,000 copper mugs from her father’s copper factory to sell. Her quest led her to a bar on the Sunset Strip owned by John Martin, who had just bought a struggling distillery by the name of Smirnoff (yes, that Smirnoff). John’s friend, Jack Morgan, had also found himself in deep trouble after failing to introduce his brand of ginger beer stateside.

The trio worked together to make a drink that would solve all of their problems at once: the Moscow mule. Think about that next time you’re questioning fate. 

If you’re bored with the classic Moscow Mule, swap out the ginger beer for a Ginger hard kombucha to take advantage of the complex flavor of this sparkling hard tea. 

Paloma

The Paloma is the cousin of the margarita, which itself is another classic summertime cocktail. Mexican in origin, the cocktail features tequila mixed with grapefruit juice (or soda) instead of the lime you would expect with a marg.

It’s known for its tart and refreshing taste and distinctly summer vibe, which you can take to the next level with the inclusion of our Grapefruit Thyme hard kombucha. Aromatics, tart grapefruit, and the perfect amount of fizz make this a perfect match for the classic cocktail. 

Daiquiris

If you read daiquiri and picture a frozen cocktail, you are not wrong. Banana and strawberry daiquiris are blended drinks, but a classic is built, which means the alcohol is poured on top of each other in the stylish coupe glass.

Lime, rum, simple syrup, and sometimes a sugar rim, daiquiris are a perfect sour cocktail with just the right amount of sweetness. 

Hemmingway LOVED these cocktails so much he once drank 17 in one sitting. His version had double the rum and no sugar. If that version doesn’t sound appealing to you, consider adding a splash of Black Lime Mojito hard kombucha for some added complexity. 

Spur on Summer With Flying Embers

If you have trouble separating lemon juice from lime, tonic water from seltzer, gin from vodka, and would prefer someone did all the hard work for you and then put it in an easy-to-drink-from can, we’ve got you covered.

We made cocktail-inspired fermentations that are handcrafted with whole plant botanicals, superfruits, and adaptogens. From our Watermelon Basil Hard Kombucha to our Champagne-inspired Midknight Mimosa, we have all the summertime goodness you need, whether you’re spending the day at the pool or the warmer months are a distant memory.

 

Sources:

The History Of Sangria | Sangria Origin | Vinepair

This Is Where The Piña Colada Was Born | Forbes

John Martin | AP News

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