Embrace summer laziness while you still can.

By Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy
Updated August 31, 2018
Carey Jones

Whatever else you have planned for Labor Day—whether it’s barbecuing or backyard-lounging or just savoring the three-day weekend—here’s what you don’t want to spend time doing: Making elaborate cocktails. There’s a time and a place for mixology-caliber drinks; this is not one of them.

So go simple this Labor Day, with two- or three-ingredient cocktails that require no juicing, no shaking, just a few bottles and maybe a little ice. All party-friendly, all easy to make four or six at a time. You’ve got the rest of the year to try your hand at more complex drinks. Embrace summer laziness while you can.

Apples & Rhubarb

Carey Jones

There’s nothing wrong with a two-ingredient cocktail, especially when you find an amazing mixer. Cawston Press Rhubarb and Apple Sparkling Juice is one of our favorites— a British brand we’re starting to see all over the States. It just happens to be perfect with apple brandy, one of our favorite all-season spirits.

Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine an ounce and a half of Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy and three ounces of Cawston Press Rhubarb and Apple Sparkling Juice. Stir briefly and garnish with a few very thin apple slices.

Cappelletti and Bubbles

Carey Jones

Have you been drinking Aperol Spritzes all summer like the rest of us? Give Cappelletti a try — a juicier, redder, and frankly more delicious Italian aperitif still very much in the Aperol model. Add Prosecco and boom: Cocktail.

Instructions: Pour an ounce of Cappelletti into a flute, followed by three ounces of sparkling wine. Give a quick stir, then garnish with a long orange peel.

Pineapple-Coconut Sparkler

Carey Jones

Piña coladas: Lovable, but not exactly simple. So if you’re after the same pineapple-coconut profile, grab a pineapple liqueur and coconut water instead. This guy has “day-drinking” written all over it.

Instructions: In a wine glass or similar large glass, combine two ounces of pineapple liqueur, two ounces of coconut water, and three ounces of sparkling wine over ice. Give a quick stir and serve, garnishing with a bunch of little pineapple wedges.

PX, Vodka, Soda

Carey Jones

We know you can make a vodka-soda; up for adding one more ingredient? Adding sherry to the mix adds layers of rich complexity, while a quick squeeze of lemon keeps things from getting too heavy. Tastes like a mixologist’s ingenious creation, but takes about ten seconds to make.

Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine an ounce of vodka, 3/4 ounce of Pedro Ximenez, and three ounces of club soda. Give a quick stir. Squeeze in a lemon wedge as a garnish.

Blue Bubbles

Carey Jones

It’s still summer; let’s have a little fun. A high-quality blue Curaçao is a perfectly respectable cocktail ingredient — there’s no reason a bright blue drink can’t be sophisticated. There are any number of ways to doctor it up, but a big pour of bubbles is the way to start.

Instructions: Pour half an ounce of blue Curaçao into a flute or cocktail glass, followed by four ounces of sparkling wine. Give a quick stir, then garnish with a long, thin lemon peel, and a candied cherry if you have a jar handy.