With summer making land upon the beaches, it will soon be 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, Chowhound chatted with a few beach-side bartenders and 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 alcoholic beverages. And stick to unbreakable cups and containers, because no one wants to deal with broken glass on the beach.

The bartenders who 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. These ingredients fit well into small tote-able coolers and are ideal for seaside sipping.

Nikki Grillo, who works behind Dogfish Head Restaurant’s bar in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware suggested an Orange Crush; here’s her recipe:

  • Ice
  • Vodka (1 ½ ounces)
  • Sprite
  • Triple Sec (½ ounce)
  • Fresh orange juice

She says: “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.”


Nikki also recommended a Blood Orange Cosmo. This one is a little more complicated and requires some prep work. First you want to slice fresh blood oranges and let them sit in a pitcher of vodka for a week—put the pitcher in the refrigerator to keep it chilled. Then move it into a cooler and head to the beach. You’re going to want to shake this drink. Here are the ingredients:

  • Blood orange-infused vodka (1 ½ ounces)
  • Triple Sec (½ ounce)
  • Ice
  • Fresh lime and cranberry juice—mix it before you hit the sand

Scott Gruse, who bartends at The Lazy Pirate in Carolina Beach, North Carolina recommended a Blue Hawaiian, saying “it’s pretty refreshing, not a ton of ingredients to carry around with you.” Here’s his recipe:

  • Coconut rum (2 ounces)
  • Ice
  • Blue Curaçao (1 ounce)
  • Pineapple juice

Shake it all up and enjoy.

The North Carolina bartender also suggested 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 had a kick with the Myers.” Here’s how he makes it:

  • Silver rum (1 ounce)
  • Myers rum (1 ounce)
  • Triple Sec (½ ounce)
  • Ice
  • Lime juice (½ ounce)
  • Cranberry juice

Shake, pour, and sip.

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 ounces Lillet Blanc, chilled
  • 7 ounces limoncello, chilled
  • 3 1/2 ounces elderflower syrup
  • 1 3/4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 lemon twists (optional)
  • 1 (10-ounce) bottle club soda, chilled

Simply mix everything except the club soda (and the lemon twists) together in a 3-cup container that’ll fit in your cooler alongside the bottle of bubbly water. When you get where you’re going, pour yourself a glass of the chilled cocktail base and top it off with the club soda.

Enjoy these delicious drinks wherever your beach happens to be! Or take it easy and try something ready-made; see our picks for the best spiked seltzers and best low-carb beers for summer.