30 Days of Summer Drinking
Day 1: Bourbon Blackberry Collins
Summer is prime blackberry season and you should take advantage. Yes, bake a pie and eat them for a snack, but blackberries belong in cocktails too. “You can mix and match a multitude of spirits and fruits or herbs in this recipe,” says bartender Marcos Tello. In place of the blackberries and bourbon, try raspberries and vodka or cherries and rum in the same proportions.
Day 2: Tequila-Watermelon Aguas Frescas
Summer definitely calls for something fresh, bright and fizzy. These agua frescas will be your barbecue or summer dinner party go-to this season. In this refreshing cocktail, Prosecco adds a lively spritz to a light, watermelon-forward margarita. If you happen to have a juicer on hand, you can certainly use it here.
Day 3: Cholo Fresco
At his pisco-themed bar in Cuzco, Peru, Hans Hilburg uses local slang to name his cocktails. Cholo fresco means "somebody who is fresh in every sense," he says. "Light, saucy, naughty, audacious . . . And what's fresher than cucumber, melon, mint and lime?" This bright green cocktail even looks fresh — and refreshing. What more could you ask for?
Day 4: Thai-Basil Sangria
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. We love sipping on it during beautiful summer sunsets.
Day 5: PDT/Crif Frozen Piña Colada
Jeff Bell of PDT in Manhattan says a piña colada is his guilty-pleasure drink. He makes this superfresh, pineapple-y version in a slushie machine at Crif Dogs, the hot dog joint that hides his bar in the back. In place of the typical overly sweetened cream of coconut, Bell blends coconut water and coconut puree (available frozen at specialty markets).
Day 6: Tabernacle Crush
Day 7: Frozen Curry-Banana Daiquiri
Embrace the curry in this frozen drink from Liam Odien at The Corner Door in Culver City, California; it adds subtle intrigue without going too far into savory territory. Fresh, ripe banana and rum fill out the base notes without getting too sweetly rich.
Day 8: Redhead in Bed
You must drink strawberries during strawberry season. One of chef Chris Yeo's first jobs was bartending. "But that was many, many, many years ago," he says. So he left it to his bar team to create this vibrant strawberry-and-vodka cocktail topped with a splash of white wine, which is on the menu at Straits Atlanta.
Day 9: California Caipirinha
Day 10: Blanca Julep
Bar manager Jennifer Zerboni likes to tinker with the classic mint julep during horse-racing season. She used to flavor this julep with a mint granité, but that proved "too sticky and messy." Now she makes the drink with mint simple syrup. It's light and easy, which is just what you want when you're hot and sweaty.
Day 11: Colonel Beach’s Plantation Punch
According to mixologist Jeff Berry, this cooler is great for summer parties. Multiply each ingredient by the number of guests you're expecting, mix everything except the ginger beer and garnishes in a punch bowl and chill. Add a large block of ice (or ice cubes) and the ginger beer just before serving.
Day 12: Watermelon-Tequila Cocktails
In the summer when watermelon is in abundance, a delicious, refreshing cocktail is the best way to use it. Bobby Flay purees seedless watermelon chunks, then strains the sweet juice through a sieve and mixes it with silver tequila, sugar syrup, blueberries, mint and fresh lime juice. It is ideal.
Day 13: Mango Margarita
At the Casa Noble estate, bartender David Yan created this margarita to showcase the property's own tequila. He coats the rim of the glass with citrusy Tajin-brand chile powder, but any powdered chile will work to give the drink a fun kick. This is the perfect frozen cocktail to sip on by the pool.
Day 14: Fresh Tomato Bloody Marys
Take advantage of juicy summer tomatoes with this one. The ingredients for Andreas Viestad's fiery Bloody Mary all come from his garden. Like a classic Bloody Mary made with tomato juice, it's a delicious summer brunch cocktail—with or without vodka. For a savory flavor, make sure to add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce to each drink.
Day 15: Chasing Summer
Chai tea, passionfruit and balsamic vinegar come together for this unlikely yet delicious mocktail. "I love this drink so much that it seems like my glass is always empty," says Lacy Hawkins, bartender at The NoMad in New York City. Her favorite part is the balsamic vinegar. "It adds wonderful acidity to the drink and creates a caramelized finish."
Day 16: Porch Crawler
Don’t forget about another one of our favorite summer fruits: cherries. The red cherry is a perfect focus for this seasonal cocktail. Franks Falcinelli and Castronovo of Prime Meats and their friend Travis Kauffman concocted this terrifically refreshing cooler one hot summer night with ingredients from Falcinelli's rooftop garden.
Day 17: Watermelon Sangria
Day 18: Blackberry-Mint Julep
Everyone knows the mint julep, right? That minty bourbon cocktail everyone sips on at the Kentucky Derby? Well we've just summer-fied the traditional julep and we promise you’ll like the change. Adding blackberries to your regular mint julep adds fruity flavor to the classic warm-weather cocktail for true summer perfection.
Day 19: Minted Blueberry Lemonade
Day 20: Mango-Peach Sangria
Everyone loves a good sangria, right? Well, we have another great, summery one for you. New Orleans Chef John Besh New Orleans serves this lightly sweet, fruity white-wine sangria over plenty of ice cubes. "Use Viognier—it has a nice balance of fruit and acidity," he says. Listen to the man!
Day 21: Descanso Beach Smash
While vacationing in 2008 with his wife's family on a boat near Catalina Island, California, John Coltharp was dismayed to see that all the beach bars focused on sweet drinks like piña coladas. Back on his father-in-law's boat, he came up with this pleasantly bitter and refreshing concoction—with Aperol from the well-stocked bar.
Day 22: Indian Summer Cup
This is the ultimate party punch and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Master bartender Wayne Collins prefers using premium, naturally sweetened tonic water in this punch. Q Tonic, made with agave nectar, and Fever-Tree, sweetened with cane sugar, are both excellent brands. Ready, set, party!
Day 23: Grilled Strawberry-Rhubarb Sangria
This summery sangria from Barano chef Albert Di Meglio gets a subtly smoky kick from fruit that's grilled until perfectly caramelized. And we all know strawberry and rhubarb are the perfect pair. Feel free to use this recipe as a template: Pair grilled peaches with fresh basil or grilled watermelon with sliced cucumber and mint.
Day 24: Tom Terrific
The ideal drink to sip on while you're grilling some delicious hot dogs and hamburgers, this slightly spritzy cocktail features India Pale Ale and Old Tom, an 18th-century-style of gin that's a little sweeter and less juniper-forward than modern versions. Since just takes a quick shake and a beer float on top, it's also super easy to put together on a whim.
Day 25: Georgia on My Mind
Peaches are another summer fruit we truly cannot live without. While this cocktail doesn't feature fresh peaches, the peach liquor brings the summery flavor you're craving this season. Beer, an increasingly popular mixer, adds carbonation and a pleasant funkiness to the cocktail. The apricot ale here offers great fruitiness, too.
Day 26: Emerald Palmers
Whether you're drinking alcohol or not, we've got the freshest green drink of the summer for you. Susan Feniger’s refreshing green tea–based mocktails would also be great spiked with gin. Important entertaining tip: While the ingredients can be prepped in advance, it’s best to blend everything together just before serving for the most vividly green drinks.
Day 27: Isle of Islay Swizzle
Are you trying to find a good use for your single-malt Scotch in the summer? Even though smoky single-malts are almost never used in tropical drinks, Julie Reiner was sure that one would taste great with passion fruit juice. At Lani Kai, she garnishes this swizzle with grilled pineapple, to play up the Scotch's smokiness.
Day 28: The Palomaesque Cocktail
The Paloma is a classic Mexican cocktail made with lime juice, tequila and grapefruit soda. Scott Baird, the mixologist who created this drink for Comal in Berkeley, makes his version with smoky mezcal, fresh grapefruit juice and Cocchi Americano, the sweet Italian aperitif wine. It's a summery, creative version of the original and we can't get enough.
Day 29: Pineapple-Sake Sangria with Jalapeño
We're obsessed with this tropical sangria that has a serious kick. This sake-based punch from chef Helene Henderson is refreshing and spicy thanks to an easy-to-make jalapeño syrup. You'll want to sip on this cocktail by the pool or during a hot weather happy hour. We won't blame you for having seconds.
Day 30: Beaujolais Cobbler with Raspberry Shrub
Summer raspberries truly shine in this inventive cocktail you must make this season. This sangria-esque drink is a cobbler—a classic cocktail combining a spirit or wine with sugar and fresh fruit. John Salas spikes his with a vinegar syrup called a shrub, for a tart, refreshing and complex edge.