18 Summer Cocktail Recipes & Hacks You Need To Try

18 Summer Cocktail Recipes & Hacks You Need To Try

Every weekend should be a three-day weekend.

I don’t know about you, but I really love a great cocktail or a delicious glass of wine any time…but especially on a warm summer night. And with Memorial Day Weekend right around the corner, I figured I’d share some of my favorite tried-and-true boozy hacks. Whether you’re planning a summer gathering or just looking for fun ways to upgrade your cocktail repertoire, I hope these tricks will come in handy. Cheers!


Turn Trader Joe’s $2 coconut smoothie into a knock-off piña colada.

Hannah Loewentheil

I am so obsessed with Trader Joe’s coconut smoothies. I drink them all the time because they’re so tasty, but I recently discovered that they make an amazing cocktail mixer. My favorite use: Add a bottled coconut smoothie, fresh or frozen pineapple (or pineapple juice),  and rum to a blender. Add ice and pulse until the drink reaches your desired consistency. 


Use frozen grapes to chill wine without watering it down.

Hannah Loewentheil

I’m certainly not above adding an ice cube or two to white wine or rosé, but adding ice does actually water down your drink. The solution: keep a bag of frozen grapes in the freezer and add a few to your wine to chill it without diluting the taste. In fact, you can really use any frozen fruit. 


If you’re hosting a crowd, do your bartending in advance by batch-prepping cocktails and serving them on ice.

Hannah Loewentheil

Whenever I have friends over, I find myself constantly making drinks. So when I discovered make-ahead cocktails, they were a game-changer. You can get creative and make your favorite concoctions like a summertime sangria or easy margarita. Although you can serve them in any cup or glass of choice, Mason jars make these extra handy because you can just screw on the lids and toss them into a big bucket of ice. They’ll stay delightfully cold for hours.


Make a low-maintenance spritz starting with your favorite sparkling water.

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These sparkling cocktails are ideal for sipping on a warm summer day. Grab your favorite flavored sparkling water — like La Croix or Spindrift — and get creative. Some of my favorite combinations are tangerine sparkling water with gin and Aperol, lime water with tequila, cointreau, and fresh lime juice, and pear water with Lillet blanc and sliced stone fruit. 


Use wet paper towels or a dish towel to chill warm beer or wine bottles in a hurry.

Hannah Loewentheil

Just wrap a wet paper towel or dish towel around each beer or wine bottle and stick them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. When you take them out, they’ll be freezing cold.


Turn a bottle of Corona into an extra cute, fruity cocktail.

Sugar and Soul / Via sugarandsoul.co

We can thank TikTok for this adorable Corona Sunrise Drink, which is made right in the bottle. First, grab a bottle of Corona beer (or similar: Modelo, or even Bud Light Lime) and drink several sips. Then add back in a shot of tequila, a bit of orange juice and grenadine for sweetness, and fresh lime juice for acidity. Give it a good shake and enjoy straight from the bottle. You can follow this recipe from Sugar and Soul.


Turn summer sangria into a frozen dessert.

Hannah Loewentheil

Mix together wine, simple syrup and orange liqueur. Add the liquid to popsicle molds and drop a bunch of chopped fruit into each. You can use any type of wine and play around with different liquids from peach schnapps or flavored vodka to fruit juice, depending on how boozy you want your pops to taste. Let them sit in the freezer over night and the next day, you’ve got adorable sangria popsicles.


Or while you’re at it, make sangria Jell-O shots.

Hannah Loewentheil

All you need is wine, unflavored gelatin powdered, fruit juice (or liqueur), and your favorite fruit. Simmer some wine (I’d go for rosé or white wine here) and add it to the gelatin. Then, add even more wine and the fruit juice of your choice and pour it over chopped fruit in small plastic cups. Refrigerate the Jell-O cups over night.


Turn just three ingredients into the most refreshing and boozy raspberry vodka lemonade.

Hannah Loewentheil

Freeze lemonade into ice cube trays until solid. Once frozen, place the lemonade ice cubes in a blender with frozen raspberries and vodka. Blend it all up, adding more ice or lemonade if necessary to reach your desired consistency. Be careful though: this stuff is so tasty, you could probably add an entire handle of vodka and still not really notice it.


Make some adult Capri Sun for the sake of nostalgia.

Hannah Loewentheil

Let’s be honest: There will be moments this summer where you’re going to want a portable cocktail. That’s where this homemade, adult Capri Sun comes into the picture. Just whip up your favorite cocktail, pour it into plastic baggies (or these reusable drink pouches), and bring it anywhere. You can make them in five minutes. I can recommend this recipe for three-ingredient kiwi-strawberry-vodka cocktails, but you can get creative.


Put old school flavored powdered drink mix packets to use in the best way possible.

Walmart, Winzent / Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you’re in a pinch for simple syrup or another sweetener, know that drink flavoring packets or mixers (like Crystal Light or Mio) can pull double duty when added to things like cranberry vodka sodas or spiked lemonades.


Use your favorite hard seltzer as the base of a seriously refreshing boozy slushy.

Hannah Loewentheil

Grab your favorite hard seltzer — like White Claw or Truly — a cup of fruit, a handful of ice, and any additional alcohol or mixers you want to add. Blend it all up and serve. I would actually recommend using frozen fruit instead of fresh because it makes the slushy a better consistency, and adding a bit of your favorite spirit with take things up a notch without drastically changing the flavor.


Soak gummy bears in booze for a chic summertime aperitivo-inspired snack.

Hannah Loewentheil

You’ll need orange-flavored gummy bears, gin and Campari (you could add red vermouth, but the gummy bears already add plenty of sweetness). In a large bowl of baking dish, soak the gummies in equal parts gin and Campari for at least six hours until plump and firm. Don’t let them sit for so long that they get mushy. You can refrigerate them, but I find boozy gummy bears taste best when left at room temperature.


Make easy alcoholic beverages with a common kitchen staple: Jam.

Hannah Loewentheil

If you want a fancy cocktail but don’t want to go through the motions of making simple syrup, look no further than the jar of jam in the back of your fridge. Both sweet and fruity, any jam can replace any fancy juices and expensive sweeteners.

Have some fun with it and play around with different concoctions. I’ve made jam cocktails with gin + triple berry jam + lime; tequila + raspberry jam + lime; and vodka + peach jam + lemon. I personally like topping mine with a bit of club soda at the end.


Upgrade your spicy margaritas with Tajín seasoning.

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Pour a generous amount of Tajín chile lime seasonining on a small plate. Grab a glass and dunk the rim into a bowl of water. Then place the rim of the glass onto the plate of Tajín seasoning and dab it until evenly coated. Pour your margarita into the glass and rejoice. Or if you’re feeling extra lazy, just opt for this.


Infuse cheap vodka with Jolly Ranchers for a colorful and festive party drink.

u/psybermonkey15 via Reddit / Via reddit.com

I’ve seen this hack with Skittles, but the issue is that Skittles dissolve and the vodka needs to be filtered. Instead, try infusing your vodka with Jolly Ranchers. Unwrap the Jolly Ranchers and sort them by color, then add the candy to pitchers of vodka. Shake or stir the pitchers to evenly distribute the candy and let them sit over night. In the morning, you have a fun and vibrant party drink (and not to mention, your cheap vodka won’t taste so terrible anymore). 


Soak some boozy melon balls for the ultimate refreshing snack.

Hannah Loewentheil

Using a small spoon, ice cream scooper, or melon baller if you happen to have one, scoop little balls out of watermelon, cantelope, honeydew, or a combination of all three. Cover the melon in a mixture of vodka or tequila and some fruit juice for a little sugar. Add some fresh basil and mint if you’re feeling fancy (or don’t), and let them soak covered in the fridge for a few hours. These taste delicious on their own or added to a cocktail for double the booze.


Minimize your inevitable hangover by remembering to prep something for yourself for the night or morning after.


Hangover “cures” are a dime a dozen — we’ve highlighted many that readers swear by, as well as tried several of our own. Everyone has a different way of trouble-shooting the morning after, but the important thing is that you think (and hopefully prep!) ahead.

Personally, I’ve tried everything — pedialyte, Liquid IV hangover patches, etc — and my favorite, most effective thing so far is BIOLYTE, a hydrating electrolyte drink. What works for you? Tell me in the comments!

What’s your favorite cocktail hack or a fun boozy trick other should know about?