The best 10 cocktails for summer

In the summer – some evenings are all about a great cold beer, but  some evenings its very much about cocktails  (and we won’t judge you if you want to drink both) but when its hot what are the top cocktails we recommend – 

Whether or not you are a cold beer man, or a neat whisk

The Classic Mojito

First off – you know we need to include a Mojito, and not just any mojito – an original classic, none of this strawberry mixed in, straight as it comes (which isn’t typically a good description of a mojito – nothing quite beats an original.

The classic mojito

Lime Juice (somewhere between quarter and half a lime) good white rum (Bacardi is a popular choice, but I’d go with a Havana Club – or for something a little stronger, Appleton Estate is a good choice), soda water, and served in a Collins glass, or the hipster jamjar. Add in a little sugar, top with mint leaves (I like mine crushed slightly, so they actually add a little more than decoration), of course in the summer, a fair bit of crushed ice.

If you are going to want to try a variant, the chilli mojito is an acceptable choice.

The Moscow Mule

When I was a lad, Smirnoff was making these in bottles, but not seemingly anymore – this is a classic American cocktail from the 1940s – loving the taste and when the popularity of the premixed copper bottles diminished in bars, I learnt it wasn’t too difficult to make myself, of course in most pubs and bars I have worked in, getting a copper mug that it classically would be served out of is a challenge! A fresh Moscow Mule beats a can every time.Ginger Beer + Vodka + a Lime + a couple of cubes of ice … Ideally in a copper mug, but that part frankly is optional. The rest? Less so …  I tend to make them longer with about two shots of vodka, and about the same again of lime juice, the rest topped up with most of a can of ginger beer, if you are worried about your weight, the sugar free Old Jamaica Ginger beer is actually very good now.

Tasting note – Some folks do prefer the less intense ginger ale instead.

Tequila Sunrise

Adding a bit of colour (and vitamin C,) the Tequila Sunrise is ever popular as it is quick to make, tastes rather wonderful and has an awesome colour – the only limitation is that some bars (in fact far too many bars) don’t have the required Grenadine Syrup (if you really want to go to town fresh orange juice tastes far superior) with a slice of orange after – that’s the best summer drink…

To make a tequila sunrise it is  incredibly simple – tall glass – Ice, Add in Tequila, Orange juice, DO NOT STIR (or shake) add in an orange slice, serve.

Dark and Stormy

Probably one for later in the evening – the Dark and Stormy is a classic into the night drink, dark rum based, and ginger beer, dashes of bitters  (this is basically a Moscow mule with dark rum and bitters). Again on the rocks (so larger ice cubes) topped off with a wedge of lime.

A quick drink to make, but is absolutely one of the best cocktails around (side note, I like rum and ginger).

Long Island Ice Tea

This one can be lethal, so be careful with these, mixing in vodka, tequilas, white rum, gin and triple sec, what could possibly go wrong. It is a surprisingly drinkable, in addition to the alcohol, Gomme syrup (not always available in every bar, which is a shame as it rally does add to the texture), a dash of lemon juice and topped off with coke… (plus surprisingly with the name, ice, however no tea).

In this list, the Long Island Iced tea is relatively new, dating back to the seventies, but it’s a standard classic today.


Honestly, I am not sure this belongs on the list – this doesn’t feel like a cocktail, but it is a definite classic summer drink, and like any cocktail the better it is made, the better it tastes, you can top it off with a drop or two of gin … Pimm’s is gin based, only about 25% when bought, so when mixed with lemonade – it’s quite a good drink for the summer. Best mixed not just with lemonade, but strawberries, orange, cucumber and a mint garnish – and, like all these summer drinks over ice. In my head, Pimm’s somehow feels like a drink for boating, barbecuing and wearing a classical English panama hat, or watching a long cricket match.


Another absolute summer classic – made with tequila and Cointreau, I am not a fan of the ice on the rim, but its certainly up there with my favourite summer drinks.

Lime juice, tequila, Cointreau over rocks, lime slice garnish – and serve, a popular addition is of course the ice on the rim – wet the rim of the glass with lime juice before dipping into a little course salt and serve. Another cocktail that can be served up quickly in a bar.

Cuba Libre

Debatable if this is a cocktail or not, its still a popular summer drink its just rum and coke … lime garnish, is this really a cocktail or a spirit and mixer – over ice tho, it is rathe drinkable, the better the rum, the better the drink.

Singapore Sling

This is one of the ones that is recognised by the International Bartenders Association, so there isn’t wiggle room in the ingredients to do this properly, this one is just over a hundred years old (1915 is its birthday) and this one has origins in the Raffles Hotel, Singapore – and I think that DrinksPal should go over to check out the origins of this classic summer cocktail –

  • 3 cl Gin
  • 1.5 cl Cherry Liqueur (cherry brandy)
  • 0.75 cl Cointreau
  • 0.75 cl DOM Bénédictine
  • 1 cl Grenadine
  • 12 cl Pineapple juice
  • 1.5 cl Fresh lime juice
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Served in a hurricane glass, topped with a cherry, this one is served without ice, but prepared in a shaker with ice, but if it’s a hot summers evening, no one will complain if you drop in a cube or two.

The Woo Woo

Our head of design (Evies) favourite, the woo woo, never to be said while doing the double pump when out on a hen night (please!) – this drinks rather sweet, but quite strong due to its mix of vodka and peach schnapps … topped off with cranberry juice served over ice, with a lime wedge for garnish – typically served in a tall (highball) glass.

So that is it – those 10 cocktails that can be enjoyed in bars, beachside or in the pub of your choice, if they have the right ingredients – but let us know which cocktail we missed, and what cocktail you think is better for a longer winters evening.

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