7 Porch-Perfect Summer Cocktails
Life + Money

7 Porch-Perfect Summer Cocktails

What goes better with a patio or porch, a salty sea or country breeze and a few plates of hors d’oeuvres than a fresh and exhilarating summer cocktail?

The trick is to find a concoction that is light enough for the afternoon and sympatico enough to match up nicely with a variety of finger foods (of course, at a certain point, your palette won’t care that much what’s washing down with what).

Mixologists have been creating new cocktails at such a dizzying pace that sometime you want to say, “Just give me a gin and tonic with a squeeze of lime and call it a day.” But if you’re feeling adventurous, we did a bit of scouring and found seven refreshing recipes that will liven up any garden party or simply add to the delight factor as you and a good book loll in a hammock.    

For a few of the drinks, some prep work is involved, but the syrups and strawberry-infused vodka will last for a week or longer.



2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce lemon juice

3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur.

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into chilled coupe glass.

Source: The New York Times Image: Flickr/Chodhound


1 oz strawberry-infused vodka*

2 oz San Pellegrino Aranciata Rosso

2 oz Prosecco

A splash of lemon simple syrup**

Combine chilled ingredients in flute glass and serve.

Source: Chris Hills, Wild Olive, Charleston, SC 

Strawberry Basil Mojito

1 1/2 oz strawberry-infused vodka*

1 1/2 oz lemon simple syrup**

3-4 Basil Leaves

1 oz strawberry sorbet (optional)

Soda water

Muddle vodka and basil in rock glass, add lemon syrup and ice, top with soda, and add 1 oz scoop of strawberry sorbet.

Source: Chris Hills, Wild Olive, Charleston, SC 

Dizzy Oaxacan
1.5 oz. mescal

0.75 oz. Amaro such as Amaro Lucano (a bitter-sweet Italian liqueur)

0.5 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice

3 oz. ginger beer

Shake all but ginger beer with ice and pour into a tall glass. Fill with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

Source: Tad Carducci, The Tippler, NYC. Carducci is co-author with partner Paul Tanguay of Tippling Bros. A Lime and a Shaker: Discovering Mexican-Inspired Cocktails

Passionfruit Cilantro Caipirinha 

1.5 oz Pitu Cachaca 

1oz passion fruit purée

.5oz simple syrup

Squeeze fresh lime

Pinch of fresh cilantro 

Shake all ingredients, pour over ice in a Collins glass 

Source: Verde at Perez Art Museum, Miami 

Lemongrass Cooler
1 handful cilantro

1 stalk lemongrass

2 lemon wedges

Muddle, add ice to mixing glass, then the following:

1 oz. lemongrass syrup***

2 oz. Bacardi light rum

Shake, strain into a Collins glass, top with club soda, garnish with lemongrass stalk

Source: Makoto at Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour, FL

Punto Pomelo

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice

2 tablespoons spiced simple syrup****

1/4 cup silver tequila

Cherry, for garnish (optional)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add lime juice, grapefruit juice, tequila and 2 tablespoons of the spiced simple syrup. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with a cherry, if desired.

Source: Food & Wine; Cyrus Keyhari

*For strawberry-infused vodka: Combine 2 pints of very ripe strawberries, hulled and halved, with a liter of vodka in a large sealable container. Store in a cool, dark place (like your pantry) for 3 days or up to a week, agitating daily. Strain with coffee filters or cheesecloth. (Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics)

**For lemon simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature, then stir in 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice. You may make ahead; the syrup keeps indefinitely. (food.com)

***For lemongrass syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar and five stalks of lemongrass, bring to a boil until sugar is fully dissolved, let stand for one hour and remove lemongrass.

****For spiced simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cinnamon stick (broken), 3 whole cloves, pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool, then strain. It can be refrigerated for up to a week.