With summer upon us, it’s time for long days spent with friends having a drink at your local sandy paradise. In preparation for those blue sky days that last forever (but somehow still end too soon), we chatted with a few beach-side bartenders to put together a list of the best mixed drinks to make with your toes in the sand.
Of course, taking alcoholic drinks to the beach is always a tricky gig. Before you decide to get boozy, make sure that the beach where you’re headed allows for buzzy beverages. And stick to unbreakable cups and containers, because no one wants to deal with broken glass on the beach.
The bartenders we talked to all agreed that the key to a great beach cocktail is to keep it simple (you don’t want to be lugging around a shelf of ingredients). You should also aim for something that has a fun-in-the-sun taste to it. The ingredients in the drinks below fit well into small tote-able containers and are ideal for seaside sipping.
Ready to hit the beach with your cooler? ‘Cuz we sure are.
Nikki Grillo, who works behind Dogfish Head Restaurant’s bar in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, suggests an orange crush. Here’s her recipe:
- 1 1/2 oz. vodka
- 1 1/2 ounce triple sec
- Sprite, to taste
- Fresh orange juice, to taste
- Place ice in a cocktail glass. Pour in vodka and triple sec, then stir in Sprite and fresh orange juice, to taste.
There’s one important tip Grillo says not to miss: “Be sure that you don’t shake it. Remember, you never want to shake a drink where soda is an ingredient. If you want to, go ahead and ‘roll’ the drink. For a different taste, try alternating the citrus — grapefruit juice makes another great crush.”
Grillo also recommends a blood orange cosmo. This one is a little more complicated and requires some prep work — but when you’re lying there staring into the sunset with cosmo in hand, it’ll all be worth it.
- 1 blood orange
- 2 c. vodka
- 1 c. fresh lime juice
- 1 c. cranberry juice
- Triple sec
- Slice blood orange and let it sit in a container of vodka in the refrigerator for about 1 week. In a separate container, mix fresh lime juice and cranberry juice. Transfer both mixtures to a cooler you can take to the beach.
- When ready to assemble, fill a glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, shake together 1 1/2 oz. blood orange-infused vodka, 1/2 oz. triple sec, and lime-cranberry juice to taste.
- Pour into glass.
Scott Gruse, who bartends at The Lazy Pirate in Carolina Beach, North Carolina recommends a Blue Hawaiian. “It’s pretty refreshing,” he says, “without a ton of ingredients to carry around with you.” Here’s his recipe.
- 2 oz. coconut rum
- 1 oz. blue Curaçao
- Pineapple juice, to taste
- Fill a glass with ice. Shake remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker, then pour over ice.
The North Carolina bartender also suggests a mai tai, explaining, “It’s a good drink if you wanna kick your feet up and relax in chairs and watch the sunset. It’s refreshing but also has a kick with the Myers rum.” Here’s how he makes it.
- 1 oz. silver rum
- 1 oz. Myers rum
- 1/2 oz. triple sec
- 1/2 oz. lime juice
- Cranberry juice, to taste
- Fill a glass with ice. Shake remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour over ice.
We’re going to plug one of our own recipes here too — this mostly make-ahead cocktail is a great option for picnics, parks, and beaches.
- 13 oz. Lillet Blanc, chilled
- 7 oz. limoncello, chilled
- 3 1/2 oz. elderflower syrup
- 1 3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 lemon twists (optional)
- 1 (10-ounce) bottle club soda, chilled
Wherever your beach happens to be — even if it’s the kiddie pool in your backyard — you can take the edge off the summer heat with these delicious drinks. Or take it easy and try something ready-made. We say you can’t go wrong with a spiked seltzer or a summery low-carb pale ale for summer sipping.