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The MUNCHIES Guide to Summer Cocktails

But what do you do if you can't decide between a piña colada and a margarita? You make them both.
Photo by Janelle Jones.

Photo by Janelle Jones.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. Especially if you're laying by the pool or chillin' on a boat with a frozen cocktail in hand. Preferably something with a colorful little umbrella sitting on top. Yes, friends, day-drinking season has officially begun.

And here's the thing about day drinking: Like bacon or an adorable puppy, it manages to take something that's already good and make it better. What would that pool be without an ice cold ? How much fun would sitting in the sun actually be if you didn't have a stiff cocktail to cool you down?


And we're not just talking about any cocktail. We're talking about cocktails that look like tropical jungles and English flower gardens, cocktails that transport you from your Brooklyn fire escape overcrowded with too many of your friends who want to take advantage of your "outdoor space" to the deserted island you wish you were on. And these summer cocktails are exactly what you need to make life grand.

But what do you do if you can't decide between a piña colada and a margarita? You make them both.


Photo by Janelle Jones. Food styling by Eleanore Park.

The piña colada is the ultimate summer cocktail, and it usually comes with a pineapple slice, a few cherries stuck on a tiny pirate sword, and a twinge of regret halfway through, because piña coladas are almost never as good as they look. That's why you'll be making this piña colada from New Orleans restaurant and tiki bar Cane & Table, whose version of this beachy classic calls for a whole young coconut, a half cup of frozen pineapple chunks and 12-year El Dorado rum instead of the cheap booze and atrocious mixers you're used to.

Photo by Rebecca Ratliff

Photo by Rebecca Ratliff

Want a frozen drink, but don't feel like taking your blender out? This frosé recipe from Kelly Fields of New Orleans restaurant Willa Jean is the answer to your dreams. If there are two things at which New Orleanians excel it's classy drinking and calmly dealing with oppressive humidity while classily drinking. And this frosé is easy, it's classy, it's damn delicious, and it'll cool you down.


Photo by Brayden Olsen

The official cocktail of New Orleans is the sazerac, but the most ubiquitous drink is arguably the daiquiri, which tumbles around in slushie machines throughout the city 24 hours a day. This recipe for a pink daiquiri from the gloriously divey Saint Bar and Lounge employs generous amounts of fresh herbs, watermelon, cucumber, and light rum. Never has something so fresh been served in a giant styrofoam cup.


Photos by Janelle Jones. Styling by Eleanore Park.

If delicious frozen cocktails aren't you're thing, well, you've probably got some deeper issues and could use some childhood healing. But we don't have time for personal work at the moment, so for now we'll just move on. This Pimm's Cup is every bit as refreshing as any of these frozen cocktails, but this classic English cocktail is infinitely more posh—it's basically a fruit salad in a glass, topped off with booze. Plus, it's relatively low in alcohol, so you can drink your way through the day and well into the night.

Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

England not exotic enough for you? How about transporting yourself to the tropical climes of Brazil? This prata punch is an exotic vacation in a glass. Just mix up cachaça, violet syrup, strawberry purée, fresh lemon juice and shake, shake, shake (preferably while you samba, to add a little extra Latin flavor). Then top it off with sparkling wine to give it that crisp summer effervescence.


Maybe you just want something classic and stiff, without any damn flowers or berries or decorative accessories in your drink. Whatever happened to the days when a day-drinker could just get a cocktail without any fruit? We get it. You want a margarita. This Tommy's margarita has a secret ingredient that will take your drink to the next level. Hint: It's agave syrup.

Or try this summery take on a year-round classic. This mint bols old fashioned substitutes whiskey for genever (basically gin with shit ton of juniper) and adds in a bunch of fresh mint.

Photo by Brayden Olson

Image by Brayden Olson

Alright, we thought of one way to make day drinking better: start in the morning, and wake up with this sexy mama by your side: Aperol Betty. It's like a mimosa's extra sassy little sister, or a more citrusy version of an Aperol spritz, with fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice.

Now quit reading this and go make cocktails for you and your friends. Preferably one that will make them forget they're not at the beach.