The Best Summer Cocktails for a Healthy-ish Beverage

Grapefruit and cucumber cocktails
Photo: Maren Caruso/Getty

Craving a cocktail, but not the cloyingly sweet, syrup-loaded drink you find at lots of bars and restaurants? Instead, shake (or stir) up some of these best summer cocktails, featuring fresh fruits and herbs, courtesy of creative bloggers and mixologists.

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Blueberry Ginger Margaritas


A DIY ginger agave syrup provides the just-right amount of zip in this remarkably light twist on one of the best summer cocktails: margaritas. This drink is made from muddled blueberries, fresh lime, and mint, plus a splash of orange liqueur and tequila. The only thing that's missing is a side of street tacos.

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Grapefruit Mint Vodka Spritz


Unlike most spritz drinks, this beverage gets its bubbly side from calorie-free club soda. That makes it one of the best summer cocktails if you're keeping an eye on calories or are craving a second round later in the day. Vodka, fresh mint, and a drizzle of honey round out the cool cocktail ingredient list.

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Vanilla and Fresh Cherry Bourbon Cocktail


This best summer cocktail proves brown liquor can be fitting and fresh. The cherry cream soda-flavored mixed drink features a half cup of fresh cherries, a few drops of vanilla extract, and a shot of bourbon, which is paired with a few ice cubes and a splash of club soda.

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Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri


Take a break from frosé recipes and blend up this four-ingredient, low-calorie daiquiri for your next patio party. Instead of shaking or stirring, simply combine the frozen watermelon, rum, lime juice, and sugar in a blender and give it whirl. And don't feel like you need to finish every ounce of these best summer cocktails. Since leftovers last well in the freezer (just store in an airtight container) you can extend the sweet, spirited fun to another day.

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Strawberry Shrub Cocktail


Shrubs, a flavorful concoction of fruit, sugar, and something acidic (often vinegar), are all the rage in upscale cocktail bars. They add instant complexity to any drink and are surprisingly simple to make — and put to good use. Spike this shrub with gin, top with ice, club soda, and mint, and voila: a totally Insta-worthy drink you'll keep on the top of your best summer cocktails list. (If you prefer craft brews to cabernet or cocktails, consider these low-cal beers.)

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Cilantro Cucumber Margaritas


Think of this emerald best summer cocktail as green smoothie with a kick. Cucumber, cilantro, and lime are blended with tequila and triple sec for a just-sweet-enough south of the border sip.

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Strawberry Lime Popsicle Spritzer Cocktail


You've likely seen snaps of ice pop-infused cocktails from a fancy rooftop bar. But you don't need to drop $20 per drink thanks to this ridiculously easy best summer cocktail, which is sure to impress at your next al fresco party. It calls only for a strawberry ice pop, fresh berries, lime sparkling water, and your liquor of choice. (

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Melon Ball Mojitos


Have a ball by dressing up your rum and seltzer drink with fresh melon balls (think: cantaloupe). Not only do they look showy, but they also add a pleasant hint of sweetness to this best summer cocktail. Garnish with fresh basil and mint and raise a glass to incorporating an extra serving of fruit into your meal plan.

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Berry Mint Vodka Slushie


Frozen berries, lime juice, vodka, and ice team up to give this summer cocktail its lusciously icy texture, while mint freshens things up. While you can rinse and freeze fresh berries to use here, don't just reserve this recipe for your "best summer cocktail" file. Freeze some extra berries now for later — or stock up on some at the store — to enjoy a taste of summer any day of the year. (Following the keto diet? Yes, you can imbibe! Here are the summer cocktails that fit the low-carb plan.)

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Pina Colada Mule

Cupcakes and Kale Chips

If you like pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain) then this best summer cocktail is designed for you. With pineapple juice, ginger beer, coconut rum, and lime, it's like a mash-up of the tropical drink and a classic Moscow mule. For a mocktail version, simply swap coconut water in for the rum.

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Feeling Bubbly

Feeling Bubbly cocktail
Caitlin Bensel

This best summer cocktail, created by Tom Garvin, the beverage manager at Tribeca's Kitchen in New York, is a mix of homemade guava cordial, vodka, rose water, and lemon juice, all topped off with some sparkling wine. Don't like guava? Try passionfruit — or any other fruit that mentally transports you to a beautiful beach, he says.

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Green Day

green day cocktail
Caitlin Bensel

A concoction of tequila, aloe liqueur, lime juice, matcha syrup, and mint, this drink isn't for the faint of heart. But if you're feeling adventurous and want to give your tastebuds an experience they won't forget, definitely add this best summer cocktail, courtesy of Gavin, to your rotation.

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Summer Sunset

Summer Sunset cocktail
Caitlin Bensel

If you're beyond tired of drinking Aperol spritzes night after night, use up the rest of your bottle with this best summer cocktail. The drink features dark rum, lime juice, orange juice, and agave, so it tastes like a grown-up version of the punch you drank in college. Don't forget to chill your glass before pouring for the best drinking experience, says Gavin.

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