When summer hits its peak, there’s nothing that can cool us down quickly enough. From jumping in the pool to sitting directly in front of an air conditioning unit, sometimes what we really need is an ice-cold cocktail. And what better way to chill your sipper than shaking it up?
Not only is shaking your cocktail one of the most effective ways to combine ingredients and chill your beverage; the practice also enhances the texture of the drink for a more favorable sip as aeration creates a more velvety mouthfeel. As shaking forces an increase of air into the cocktail, this texture cannot be achieved by stirring alone. Further, shaking a cocktail slightly dilutes its contents, which can be a blessing on the season’s hottest days. With the right recipe and technique, a summer cocktail not only offers a reprieve from the sun’s rays; its flavor will lock you in a summer state of mind you won’t want to leave any time soon.
Ready to shake things up? Here are 11 of the best shaken — not stirred — cocktails to try this summer.
Table Of Contents
Bourbon-Based Shaken Cocktails for Summer
Bourbon and Peach Punch
With average summer temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s — along with extreme humidity levels — the American South knows the summer season well. So it should come as no shock that the South’s resident spirit, bourbon, pairs so well with some of the season’s freshest ingredients. The semisweet and lightly spicy liquor enters a perfect marriage with fresh, juicy peaches. The acidity in the cocktail is balanced with the addition of lemon juice and pineapple juice, and a bit of black pepper as a garnish adds a welcome kick of spice to balance things out.
Gin-Based Shaken Cocktails for Summer
The Bee’s Knees
Invented during Prohibition, the original purpose of the Bee’s Knees was not only to be a tasty concoction — its use of bright lemon and honey was originally used to cover the taste of the era’s questionably made bathtub gin. It was delicious back then, but today — with the endless supply of great gins on the market — it remains a perfect summer cocktail. To make your own, combine gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey syrup to a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain, and enjoy all season long.
The Peak of Summer
As its name suggests, this riff on the classic Gimlet will instantly evoke memories of summer’s best moments. In the Peak of Summer, botanicals from gin intertwine with juicy strawberries, and both are balanced with the addition of freshly squeezed lime juice. The result is a cocktail that truly evokes the season’s finest days.
Liqueur-Based Shaken Cocktails for Summer
The False Alarm
Created by Ivy Mix, bartender and author of “Spirits of Latin America,” the False Alarm is a delicious summer cocktail perfect for those of us who love an Aperol Spritz but are looking for a change. A combination of Capurro Quebranta Peruvian Pisco, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, Campari, and Champagne, the False Alarm is fresh and floral with a bright and bubbly finish.
Rum-Based Shaken Cocktails for Summer
The Flower Power Sour
The Flower Power Sour’s name might entice you, but its flavor is what will keep you coming back for the next sip. A mixture of white rum, lemon juice, pineapple juice, simple syrup, red aromatic bitters, and egg white, the cocktail deftly walks the line between sweet and sour with the egg white creating a creamy finish. Plus, when it comes to aesthetics, the cocktail’s delicate ombre gradient has an undeniable Instagram appeal — an added bonus to its delicious flavor profile.
The Tiki Bonfire Cocktail
During the dog days of summer, a vacation to a faraway tropical island is often the only thing on the brain. Luckily, if you can’t swing a vacation this summer, you won’t have to travel far to find a tropical island of your own thanks to this Tiki Bonfire Cocktail. A combination of white and overproof rums, orange and lime juices, grenadine, Monin pineapple syrup, and Angostura bitters, this cocktail is an oasis in a glass.
The Venetian Sunrise
A delicate blend of sweet vanilla and tangy citrus, the Venetian Sunrise is practically summer embodied. White rum and Aperol blend together for a unique, bittersweet flavor that is balanced with pineapple juice and sweetened with rosé simple syrup and vanilla. A dash of orange bitters completes the cocktail, and the result is a delightfully light cocktail with a vibrant flavor and color.
Tequila-Based Shaken Cocktails for Summer
The Bubby’s Watermelon Margarita
Under the August sun, there’s nothing like a refreshing slice of watermelon; its bursting flavor dancing across your taste buds. A Margarita is also one of the best ways to relax and unwind after a hot day. For lovers of both the classic summer staples, Manhattan’s Bubby’s restaurant combines the two for a delectable, quaffable treat. To make your own, combine tequila, Cointreau, agave syrup, lime juice, and watermelon juice in a shaker. Shake, strain, and serve into a salted-rim Margarita glass with a watermelon slice for garnish.
The El Durazno
In the El Durazno, the classic pairing of tequila and citrus gets a fruity makeover with the addition of white peach puree and peach liqueur. The drink combines these ingredients with tequila, lime and orange juices, and simple syrup for a sweet and relaxed cocktail bursting with some of summer’s best flavors.
The Strawberry Fields
When creating the Strawberry Fields cocktail, Emily Vikre wanted to create a drink “that would celebrate the flavors of the woods or that feeling of being at your cabin and getting away.” As summer brings the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway, the Strawberry Fields is the perfect cocktail to accompany you as you enjoy the season’s long days and temperate nights. To try one for yourself, muddle one grilled strawberry in a shaker before adding tequila, lime juice, and St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Shake, and double strain into a cocktail glass to serve.
Whiskey-Based Shaken Cocktails for Summer
The Sailor Moon
A cross between two iconic summer cocktails, the Dark ‘n’ Stormy and the Kentucky Mule, the Sailor Moon is a savory sip with a ginger zing ideal for cooling off after a day in the sun. A mixture of Misunderstood Whiskey, Goslings Rum, fresh lime juice, Okinawa brown sugar syrup, and ginger beer, the Sailor Moon is rich, bold, and undeniably refreshing.