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The Five Best Cocktails You Can Make at Home for Summer 2017

Updated on June 30, 2017

Start with the Right Music

What's the best way to throw a memorable party? Serve killer drinks. Instead of falling back on the same-old margaritas and daiquiris or simple pleasures like screwdrivers and cranberry vodka, add some flair. Truly unique and delicious cocktails don't come around every day. With thousands of recipes to choose from, how do you know what your guests are going to like? Simply put, you don't. What one person may love, another may loathe. Make sure you have the old standbys on hand, but offer up these ridiculously tasty cocktails for a splash of something different.

Sip like a world class literary genius
Sip like a world class literary genius

Pro Tips

  • Garnish the cocktail with a lime wedge to give it a finished look.
  • Add a few drops of Angostura Bitters to get the traditional two-tone flavor.
  • Use a coconut or pineapple rum for added variety.


The Mojito isn't a new invention - in fact, it's been around since at least the 17th century. It has always been a popular drink in Cuba, but made its way to the mainstream because it was the drink of choice of one Ernest Hemingway. There are literally hundreds of versions of the Mojito across the globe. This recipe is for a ginger ale infused version that adds a bit of bitter to the natural sweetness.


  • 2 oz. Rum
  • 1 oz. Lime Juice
  • 2 Wedges Lime
  • 2 Mint leaves
  • 1 ½ oz. Sugar Syrup
  • Ginger Ale

The Mix:

Place the lime juice, mint leaves and sugar syrup in the bottom of a sturdy glass. Gently muddle the mixture with short, clockwise strokes. Fill the glass with ice. Slowly pour your rum into the glass and fill to the top with ginger ale. Either stir the concoction or shake it in a tumbler to get the ingredients fully mixed.

it's the next best thing to the real thing
it's the next best thing to the real thing

Pro Tips:

  • Grenadine can be used in place of cranberry juice making it a touch sweater.
  • Sex on Fire is Sex on the Beach with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Goldschläger or Hot Damn in place of the vodka.
  • Top the glass with a splash of cream for a smooth sex on the beach with a blanket.

Sex on the Beach

Sex on the Beach is one of the most popular cocktails with younger crowds, both for the smooth taste and the provocative name. It started making its rounds in the early 1980s when DeKuyper introduced Peachtree Schnapps to the market. As an offshoot of the Fuzzy Navel, Sex on the Beach became a standard in clubs on the West Coast before spreading like wildfire across the country and the globe.


  • 2/3 oz. Schnapps, peach
  • 1 1/3 oz. Vodka
  • 1 1/3 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • 1 1/3 oz. Orange Juice

The Mix:

Place all ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker, cover, and shake until well blended (10 seconds should do it). Filter the mix into a highball glass over ice.

a little color with a little punch
a little color with a little punch

Pro Tips

  • Slice halfway through a marshmallow and use it as a garnish. After all, no smurf would be caught dead without his hat!
  • Substitute any lemon-lime drink for the Sprite, and use cranberry flavored ones for a Bloody Electric Smurf.

The Electric Smurf

Have you ever wondered why Smurfs are so happy all the time? They had the secret recipe for a drink called the Electric Smurf. Unfortunately for Grouchy, he is allergic to pineapple (which explains why he is never quite as happy as everyone else). Put a little smurfiness in your night with this electric blue-green cocktail.


  • 1 oz. Blue Curaco
  • 1 oz. Coconut Rum
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Sprite

The Mix:

Fill a large tumbler halfway to the top with ice. Pour in the rum, followed by the Curaco. Pour pineapple juice down the side of the glass until it is half full. Finish the cocktail by topping it off with sprite. The bottom of the glass will be a light to muddy green color depending on the pineapple juice, while the top will become a vibrant, almost fluorescent, blue.

yep - it's the classic bombastic
yep - it's the classic bombastic

Pro Tips

  • Add 1 oz. of Bacardi 151 or Everclear to the top of the glass and serve it with a straw. Instruct your guests to drink it from the bottom up.
  • Garnish the drink with fresh fruit spears. Pineapple and strawberry are popular and melon balls add an unexpected twist.
  • Increase the volume of the ingredients to create a cocktail punch and serve it in cheap plastic cups to get that college party feel.

Jungle Juice

Not to be confused with Jesus Juice, the Jungle Juice cocktail has several different recipes. It was first developed as a drink in the deep south where Blues men would ask for a cocktail made from a mix of the hardest liquors available. It's not quite a trashcan type beverage because it is confined to only hard liquors and typical cocktail additions. This particular recipe is the basic nuts and bolts. See the Pro Tips section for ways to spice it up even more.


  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 2 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime
  • ½ oz. sugar syrup

The Mix:

Put all the ingredients in a large cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Pour out over a tumbler filled with crushed ice.

this one is great on hot and humid summer nights
this one is great on hot and humid summer nights

Pro Tips

  • Garnish with a lime wedge or mint cluster. For a more sophisticated look, only serve in hurricane glasses.
  • If there are children present, make a non alcoholic version by omitting the gin.
  • Try using cantaloupe, honeydew or other melons for a full series of melon fizzes.

Watermelon Gin Fizz

Here's a cocktail that harkens back to the old days of bathtub gin. There is nothing fancy about it, but the pure parity between watermelon and gin is magic. This is a warm-weather drink for sure. Don't be surprised if grandma makes more than one trip back to the bowl.


  • 5 cups diced watermelon, divided
  • 6 oz gin, divided
  • 4 oz lime juice, divided
  • 1 1/3 cup ginger ale, divided
  • Lime wedges for garnish

The Mix:

Start by freezing 1 cup of diced watermelon. Puree the rest of the watermelon and strain it. Add this to a large crystal serving bowl and mix with 6 oz. of gin, 1 oz. of lime juice and 1 cup of ginger ale. Bring out the frozen watermelon just before serving. Fill guest cups ¾ of the way up with fizz and add two watermelon cubes, a dash of lime juice and top off with ginger ale.

Now Learn How to Make the Drinks with Flair

What is your favorite go-to drink? Let me know how you like to party below.


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    • dappledesigns profile image

      dappledesigns 3 years ago from In Limbo between New England and the Midwest

      The watermelon cocktail looks tasty!

    • Bob Go profile image

      Harry Baldwin 3 years ago from New England (various locations)

      Nice list - I haven't tried them all (yet)

    • M K Paul profile image

      M K Paul 4 years ago from India

      ohhh great..i'll try all of them very soon