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The Best Summer Cocktail Recipes for a Crowd

Summer is officially here and between the sizzle of the grill and that sweet, sticky Kentucky humidity, it’s the season for chilled cocktails. Now, anyone can grab a cold beer – but let’s say you’re in the mood for entertaining a few friends, and you want to serve a refreshing cocktail.

With these summer cocktail recipes designed for a group, you won’t have any reason to run back and forth inside (unless it’s to get a blast of air conditioning)! Mix and stir it once, pour in a pitcher or drink dispenser, and you can sit back and enjoy the party. 

A Few Tips for Batch Cocktails

Before we dive into the actual drinks recipes, let’s review a few universal tips that will help your batch cocktails really shine…and not melt.

  1. Take the time to make a few large ice balls. They will last longer than traditional ice cubes, and won’t dilute your beverage. The other option is to keep the ice out of it and house your cubes in an ice bucket near the glasses. Then everyone can chill their drink to their own taste, and no one has to drink that last watery pour.
  2. Throw in a few garnishes. Gather your inspiration from the ingredients in the cocktail. Grapefruit? Slice a few rings and float them in your pitcher. A handful of torn mint leaves or even some frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, etc) can dress up your drink just enough to show them, “I know what I’m doing here.”
  3. How long will a batch cocktail last? Well, that depends on how many people you invite. We recommend you make your cocktail a day in advance and store it in the fridge, so you can focus on other party details, or simply relax. If your favorite summer cocktail recipe calls for a carbonated ingredient (think Prosecco, Sprite, club soda, etc.) simply wait to add that ingredient until just before everyone arrives. Then, simply stir!
Now, let’s move on to the summer cocktail recipes that look good, taste great, and keep your glass full!

Spiked Strawberry Lemonade

Juicy, ripe strawberries call for tart lemons. Add your favorite vodka to the mix and this becomes the perfect adult lemonade. If you have memories of strawberry picking as a kid, think of this as your adult self enjoying the harvest.

Recipe (makes 12 drinks):
  • 8 oz simple syrup
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (cut off the leaves)
  • 1 Tbsp mint leaves
  • 8 oz lemon juice (about 5-6 lemons, squeezed)
  • 32 oz (4 cups) cups water
  • 12 oz (1 ½ cups) vodka
  1. Blend your strawberries and mint together in a food processor or blender, until you have a smooth puree.
  2. Pour your puree, simple syrup, lemon juice, water, and vodka into a pitcher and stir.
  3. We recommend rocks glasses (and ice!) for serving. 

Peach Vodka Punch

This is not your grandmother’s punch recipe (although that might be delicious too). Elderflower liquor is easy to find these days and adds a summery, floral note that gives this special punch a breezy, layered flavor. While bourbon and peach cocktails have become popular, we like to use peach vodka in this easy punch that comes together in less than 10 minutes.

Recipe (makes 8 drinks):
  • 16 oz peach vodka (we like Smirnoff, Svedka, or Absolut)
  • 4 oz elderflower liqueur
  • 4 oz lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 8 oz orange juice (about 3 oranges)
  • 4 oz club soda or lemon-lime soda
  • 1 peach, sliced for garnishes
  1. Add all of your ingredients in a pitcher, and stir!
  2. Serve with rocks glasses and plenty of ice

White Wine Mojito

Even easier than sangria, this is a perfect cocktail recipe for bridal showers – it has an elegant look, clean and crisp flavors, and the lower alcohol content means it isn’t too potent for an afternoon event.

Recipe (makes about 8 drinks):
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle of white wine (we like to use a Pinot Grigio, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc), chilled
  • 16 oz sparkling lemonade (we like San Pellegrino), chilled
  • 2 oz lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • ½ oz (1 Tbsp) simple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 cup fresh mint, chopped or torn
  • 1 lime, for garnish
  1. Stir the wine, sparkling lemonade, lime juice, and simple syrup together in a pitcher.
  2. If serving right away, add the chopped mint. (Otherwise, wait until you’re ready to serve – that fragrant mint will turn brown a while after it’s chopped.)
  3. Serve in rocks glasses, or in champagne flutes garnished with lime and mint.
Whether you sip these on a patio, porch, balcony, backyard, or poolside, we hope you savor the slower days of summer, the friends around you, and the feel of a cool drink in your hand. Cheers!