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Lakes make us thirsty. It’s ironic, we know, given that you’re skirting along on a boat, suspended above deep, cool waters. The mist on your arms or the swoosh sound of the water beneath the boat should be enough moving liquid to keep us feeling quenched…but it doesn’t. Nope. Whether we’re lounging on a pontoon or cheering on friends as they tumble off their water skis, we want to sip thirstily on our favorite drinks for a lake day.

That begs the question — what are the best drinks for a lake day?

Sure, it will depend on who you ask. But we think there are a few key elements that make a drink ideal for packing in the cooler and taking up valuable real estate on the boat. Drinks for a lake day need to be…

  • Easy. Whether that means easy to make, easy to open, or easy to keep from spilling, it’s a simple word that sums up our general outlook on all things lake related.
  • Cold. If that sounds obvious, forgive us, but frankly, it’s easier to keep some drinks colder than others. We love a frozen margarita as much as anyone, but even frosty coolers can let frozen drinks turn less than slushy. Which makes us less than happy. So we want a drink that can stay chilled with little effort.
  • Varied. If you’re like us, you’re often on the boat all day. What we want to drink at 9 AM is often different than what tastes refreshing after a swim, lunch, and maybe a sun nap. 

With those three metrics in mind, here’s our lineup for the what and why of your next lake day cooler!

Twisted Tea

It’s a gold standard for our lake-day cooler. Refreshing, with just enough of a kick to make it a party. Twisted Tea uses real brewed tea and natural flavors to balance the subtle malt base, which is made from beer. The Original flavor has a citrusy lemon twist, and we’re also partial to Peach, the subtly tropical Pineapple, and the Half & Half, which mixes in lemonade with the iced tea for the perfect summer quencher. Variety packs make it easy to appeal to everyone’s tastes, and the classic cans are an easy grab-n-go approach.

High Noon Tequila Seltzer

We know hard seltzers somehow became the thing over the last two summers. There are enough varieties now to make you go cross-eyed, and we've probably tried them all. That's why we gravitate toward a select few, and High Noon Tequila Seltzers make the cut. They're easier than making your own margarita for one thing High Noon Tequila Seltzers use actual blanco tequila from Jalisco, Mexico. They squeeze in fresh fruit juice, unlike some of their hard seltzer brethren, they don't pack in added sugars. The grapefruit flavor gives us serious Paloma cocktail vibes, white lime, strawberry, and passionfruit all make it into our rotation too. It's 100 calories, it's sparkling, and it's exactly what we want to drink on a boat after... well, noon.

Cocktail for 6 People: The Brown Derby

We’re a Kentucky-based liquor store, so you knew there would be bourbon here. Hot tip: Use a clean, empty milk gallon to store your batch cocktail. It’s plastic, seals tight, and can be kept cold in your cooler. Perfect for this summery sipper, which blends bourbon with puckery grapefruit juice and honey, which smooths out the flavors, topped with sparkling water to lighten everything up to “day on the lake” level.

9 oz bourbon

6 oz grapefruit juice

3 oz honey

3 oz hot water

16-oz bottle sparkling water

Prep: Mix the hot water and the honey and stir (you're making a honey syrup so the honey doesn't get clumpy). Combine your honey syrup, bourbon, and grapefruit juice in your empty gallon jug (or other container) and stir everything together. Refrigerate or pop in the cooler surrounded by ice until ready to go. When you're ready for a Brown Derby on the boat, top your drink from the jug with some of the sparkling water. Crisp, effervescent, this is bourbon that's boat-worthy.

As always, we're here to source your favorite drinks and cocktail fixings. Enjoy the water, enjoy your people, and enjoy a day of drinks on the lake. Cheers.