There's a reason most summer barbecue pairs best with lighter beers: It's hot outside and you want a thirst-quenching and cool beverage, something that you can drink for hours. Summer cocktails should also follow this rule. So at your next outdoor party, offer up refreshing concoctions that pack a little less punch, and also be sure to make use of the season's fresh fruits and herbs. Here are 21 recipes to get you started; make them to individual taste or tinker with the recipes and serve them in a punch bowl (or, for big bashes, a trash can).
A go-to wine cocktail in Venetian bars, the Spritz was little known in the U.S. before the last decade, but the American debut of Aperol, a nearly century-old neon-orange Italian aperitif, transformed the drink into a Yankee bartender's staple. Consisting of three parts Prosecco, two parts Aperol, and one part soda water, the Spritz is an ideal way to start a lazy weekend day.
"You get this really pleasant tingly buzz from it," Macy says. "You can put back two of them and get on with your day."
It's also a conveniently customizable cocktail. Prefer the stronger wallop of Campari to the brighter, less boozy Aperol? Go ahead and swap it in. Have a half-full bottle of Cava sitting in your fridge? No problem. Substitute it for the Prosecco. Just don't break the bank on sparkling wine. "You can get a value bottle and the Aperol will dress it up really nicely," Macy adds. "There's so much going on in it, you don't need a top-shelf bottle." For a savory counterpoint to the sweetness of the Aperol and sweet wine, Macy recommends finishing off the drink with an olive.
Pour the following ingredients into a Collins glass:
• 3 oz Prosecco (or other sweet wine)
• 2 oz Aperol (or other Italian liqueur)
• 1 oz soda water
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Stir. Garnish with an olive.