Cool Summer Drinks
Take a break from the heat with a tall, cool fruit or ice cream drink. Our recipes—some with alcohol and some without—include frozen slushies you can make in a bag, fresh-fruit ice cream sodas, DIY soda syrups, watermelon lemonade and strawberry smoothies.
Smoky Peach-Bourbon Slushie
Coat the rim of a chilled glass with smoked sea salt and garnish this slushie with fresh basil and peach chunks on a decorative pick.
Sangria is usually made with red wine, but white just says summer, doesn't it? Choose an affordable light and dry variety, such as Spanish Albariño, Portuguese Vinho Verde or Sauvignon Blanc.
Piña Piña Colada
"Garnish with a pineapple leaf, an umbrella, a lounge chair, the sun and a pool," say the founders of Mean Mule, the KC distillery that concocted this crazy-easy summer drink.
Using the best chocolate and ice cream you can find ensures a super rich shake. You won't want more than a small glass!
Refreshing, zingy and just a little flamboyant, the fruity lemonade at Bramble Cafe at Elderslie Farm is a summer favorite. If you like, add a splash of vodka to the glass for a patio cocktail.
Frozen Strawberry-Mango Margarita
The fastest way to downgrade a margarita (or any drink) isn't cheap tequila; it's bottled lime juice. Dig out that squeezer and pull up your sleeves. It's worth it.
Spiked Blue Lemonade Slushie
You might associate it with college-era bar-hopping, but blue curaçao is actually more than 100 years old. Its orange flavor plays nicely with lemonade in this citrusy slushie.
Imagine a refreshing cross between a bloody mary and a beer. That's a michelada. Our version is inspired by the TJ Red Michelada served at Taco Joint in Chicago.
Rosy Stone Fruit Sangria
We raided both the fruit bowl and the liquor cabinet for this sparkling make-ahead party drink, marrying citrus and stone fruits with brandy, orange liqueur and rose wine. (You can use either a sweet wine, such as White Zinfandel, or a more dry variety, like a French or Spanish import.)
Garnish this twist on a classic tequila cocktail with some fringe: Peel a wide strip of grapefruit peel with a vegetable peeler, then snip along its length. Groovy!
Mixology doesn't get any easier than this! Whip out this easy version of a classic Mexican cocktail for Cinco de Mayo, or just your average Taco Tuesday. The recipe comes from Kansas City's Mean Mule Distilling Co.
Sparkling Vanilla Lemonade
This lemonade calls for less sugar than most recipes and tastes just enough like cream soda to make you smile. The recipe comes from The Watkins Company, a 151-year-old spice and extract company in Minnesota.
Fresh-Fruit Ice Cream Sodas
Puree berries, peaches or mangoes to make vibrant "syrups" for swirling with ice cream and sparkling water. (Or skip the ice cream to make refreshing fresh-fruit sodas.)
Rhu-Berry Gin Punch Slushie
Gin can be dry, piney, aromatic or any other style a distiller chooses. Go for a floral-tasting gin for this fruity slushie.
Any-Fruit Agua Fresca
Once you have the method down, you can improvise aguas frescas with almost any soft fruit.
Malty Chip Milkshake
Drink this thick, ultra-rich shake through an oversized straw or employ a spoon to eat it like ice cream.
Canned apricot nectar is the easy, fruity sweetener in this refreshing summer sipper.
Red Sangria Slushie
Make this slushie with a big, bold red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. It will have better color and a more well-rounded flavor than with a lighter red.
This water tastes just like drinking a strawberry - with no colors, flavorings or added sugar.Next time you cook with strawberries, skip hulling (carefully excising the leaves and cores with the tip of a paring knife), and just slice the tops right of, catching a big of fruit with the leaves. (Make sure the strawberries have been well-washed.) From there, the method isn't too scientific: Put a cup of water (or so ) of the strawbery tops in a quart (or so) of water in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (or up to overnight). Then strain it. The result: all-natural, rosy-hued, strawberry-flavored water. For a twist, add sprigs of mint or basil along with the strawberry tops.
Caribbean Milk Shake
Think of this recipe as a flexible formula for making boozy, fruity milk shakes. Substitute black raspberry or peach cooler, or make with lime sherbet and lime wine cooler.
Strawberry and Mango Smoothies
A little bit of honey sweetens a refreshing mixture of pineapple or orange juice blended with strawberries, mango and banana.
Cucumber White Sangria
Garden flavor infuses this refreshing make-ahead white wine cocktail.
Piña Colada Slushie
If you like piña coladas, you'll know that rimming the glass with chili seasoning is a rebel's move. Feel free to revert to a classic maraschino cherry garnish.
Cucumber Habanero Margaritas
David Fries, an amateur barbecue competitor from the Twin Cities, loves to serve this refreshing and subtly spicy margarita at family cookouts.
Traditionally, this sweet drink is made by soaking rice (and sometimes blanched almonds, too) overnight in water, then pureeing and straining the mixture. We kept the seductively sweet, authentic taste, but skipped the drawn-out process. Our shortcut version uses purchased rice milk, and we could barely tell it apart from the real deal in side-by-side tests.
Honeyed Lemonade Tea Punch
Using Darjeeling tea imparts floral notes beyond what you find in ordinary black tea, which makes it a more interesting base for this refreshing, honey-laced drink. Keep the punch virgin, or add a tablespoon of vodka, gin or bourbon to each glass.
Have you heard of limoncello? You can make the classic Italian liqueur with almost any citrus fruit. (Only lime doesn't work.) Serve the chilled liqueur with sparkling water, sip it chilled alongside chocolate truffles or try drizzling it over strawberries for a boozy pound cake topper.
It's no wonder people love smoothies. Not only are they great-tasting, but they're good for you, too. Try this one with a sliced strawberry garnish.
Raspberry Cheesecake Shake
Perfect for entertaining, this dessert-in-a-glass can be made with mixed berries rather than just raspberries, if you prefer.
The coffee-chocolate blend in this drink is refreshingly cool, especially when topped with scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream. The amounts we give will make about 10 individual floats.
This quick-and-easy blender drink, from the Michigan Cherry Committee, combines cherries, milk, yogurt, blueberries or raspberries, juice concentrate, honey and vanilla.
Here's a take on a summer staple, lemonade. Combine homemade lemon syrup with watermelon juice and serve with fun Kiwi Cubes or Watermelon Cubes (or with regular ice cubes). You can also use the watermelon-lemonade mix as the base for a Watermelon Martini.
Green Tea Soda
Brew this refreshing drink with green, ginkgo or ginseng tea mixed with honey. When the liquid cools, stir in your choice of fruit juices, such as orange or tangerine and lemon or lime. Add assorted fresh fruit and plain or flavored sparkling water just before serving.
Lime and Cucumberita
Cucumbers add a fresh take to a traditional summer-cocktail favorite. Just blend with tequila and triple sec and serve in a salt-rimmed glass and garnish with a lime, if you'd like.
Mix mint syrup with fresh lemon and lime juice for this zesty lemonade alternative. Our recipe also tells you how to use the blend to make Fizzy Frisky Whiskey.
Sparkling Berry Lemonade
This fizzy pink drink is a kid-friendly, real-fruit alternative to bottled pop. For an adults-only version, add two tablespoons of rum, tequila or citrus-infused vodka to each serving or 1 to 1 1/4 cups to the batch.