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Technique

11 Summer Cocktails for Every Mood

Pick your (ice-cold, refreshing) poison.

By Rachel Baron
Sep 4, 2023
watermelon margarita
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We’re stubbornly hanging on to the last days of summer, filling our evenings and weekends with as many barbecues and al fresco dinners as possible. The thing we’ll miss the most, though? The cocktails. Ranging from bitter and fizzy to savory and spicy, the list of summer-friendly cocktails is endless.

To help you find your new favorite—or an updated take on an old one—we’ve rounded up some of our most refreshing sips, from laidback sparkling wine cocktails like the Bicicletta to a classic Aperol Spritz. All of these recipes come from our in-house culinary staff or chef partners, and lean heavily on simple, good-quality ingredients.

Tinto de Verano

tinto de verano in wine glass

Tinto de verano literally translates to English as “wine of summer,” and the name couldn’t be more spot-on: Consisting of a light-bodied, fruity red wine mixed with citrus-flavored soda and ice, this drink is simple, refreshing, and easy to prepare on the fly. In Spain, tinto de verano is commonly made with lemon or orange Fanta, but it’s just as delicious with 7UP or Sprite—and looks as good as it tastes in our redesigned Red Wine Glasses.

Kalimotxo

kalimotxo in wine glass

Much like tinto de verano, the kalimotxo mixes soda—in this case, Coca-Cola—with red wine and ice for a refreshing, low-key summer drink. While the drink traces its origins back to 1920s Spain, it reached mainstream popularity in 1972, when a group of Basque country festival organizers needed a way to salvage 2,000 liters of subpar red wine. By mixing the sour wine with Coke, they didn’t just make it drinkable—they created an instant hit.

In keeping with the impromptu vibes of this inexpensive, low-ABV summer cocktail, we kept our kalimotxo recipe simple: all you need is Coke, a bottle of fruity red wine, and a couple dashes of orange bitters. You can also swap in club soda or sparkling water for some of the Coke if you prefer something less sweet.

Aperol Spritz

aperol spritz in wine glass

Sometimes it’s better not to mess with the classics. This recipe makes a simple, refreshing Aperol Spritz, perfect for sipping out of an ice-filled wine glass (preferably with Paolo Conte playing in the background). If you like Aperol but prefer a sweeter drink, make sure to try out the Italian Sparrow.

Texas Sun Cocktail

texas sun cocktail

This sparkling, herbaceous cocktail combines a bay leaf and basil-infused simple syrup with sotol, a Mexican distilled spirit known for its vegetal notes. Holiday co-owner and Beverage Director Erin Ashford adds brightness and acidity with lemon juice and charred grapefruit.

Strawberry Margarita

strawberry margarita

Forget the bottled mixer: this juicy, outrageously summery strawberry margarita uses exclusively fresh berries, which the Made In Kitchen purées with sugar and a chunk of beet for a more vibrant red color.

Tomato Caprese Cocktail

caprese cocktail

Equal parts cocktail and appetizer, this savory drink is perfect for using up the very last of peak-season tomatoes. A surprisingly simple list of ingredients—juiced tomatoes, basil simple syrup, vodka, lemon juice, and a dash of balsamic vinegar—create this tasty, shrub-adjacent beverage, perfect for the Bloody Mary brunch set. Don’t skip out on the caprese garnish.

Bicicletta

bicicletta cocktail

With a name that evokes a leisurely bike ride through the Tuscan countryside, this sunset-hued sparkling wine cocktail is about as summery as it gets. Melding Campari and dry white wine with sparkling water (starting to sense a theme here?), this fizzy, bittersweet drink is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or pre-dinner cocktail.

Dew Respect

dew respect cocktail

This pretty green cocktail tames the candy sweetness of melon with Luxardo Bitter Bianco, Chartreuse, and gin. Like many of the cocktails on this list, this one gets a kick of effervescence from club soda.

Italian Sparrow

italian sparrow cocktail

Created by Brian Sandahl of Heavy Muddle, this tropical drink is basically a Tiki cocktail by way of Italy (it’s even named after the country’s national bird). Sandahl cuts the bitterness of Aperol with spicy-sweet ginger syrup and pineapple rum before topping with soda and sparkling wine. A fresh pineapple garnish and some mint would do nicely here.

Grilled Watermelon Margarita

watermelon margarita

We’ll try grilling anything at least once—watermelon included. This ingenious recipe combines the concentrated sweetness of grilled fruit with the typical trappings of a classic margarita —tequila, lime, and orange liqueur—for a powerfully refreshing summer cocktail.

The Made In Michelada

A person is pouring a brown liquid from a bottle into a cocktail glass containing a red drink, with the rim of the glass coated with a brown substance.

Salty, spicy, and just a tad boozy, the Michelada is exactly what you need on a hot, hazy day. With all the flavors of a Bloody Mary, we might even swap it in for our usual brunch cocktail.

Ready to Drink?

While we’ll happily sip cocktails year-round, some drinks just hit better on an 80-degree (or higher) day. Hopefully, we’ve helped you find your new favorite summer cocktail, whether that’s a frosty pitcher of red wine and Coke or a tropical take on the Aperol Spritz.

Whichever one you pick, however, just make sure you’re serving it in the right glass. Our ultra thin Crystal stemware makes every cocktail—from a frosty margarita to a tinto de verano—taste just a little more refreshing.