With the start of August, we reach that halfway point in summer where we realize we haven’t done, like, any of the things on our “Must Do During Summer!” lists and at first feel overwhelmed but then realize, phew, we’ve still definitely got time. And anyway, summer is supposed to be the season of kicking back and recharging, so anything on that list doesn’t emphasize “fun” and “easy” should get crossed right off.
This summer has felt especially rich in savor-every-moment vibes, being Hot Vax Summer and all. We hope you’ve been getting to take road trips, reunite with friends, hit the beach, get a hike in, linger at a barbecue, spend a lazy afternoon in the park--and if you haven’t yet, there’s still time, so just take a deep breath and think about the things that would truly make you stoked to do right now.
There’s also still time to shake up your adult beverage game, and this is the fun summer activity that actually pairs so well with so many other summer activities. A beach day, for example, is going to be a good time no matter what. It gets better with a beer, hard seltzer, hard tea, or cocktail, and we’d argue it gets even better with a new-to-you cocktail that’s a kick of excitement. So, just in time for all that getting out there and soaking up summer, we’re rounding up a few of our favorite fresh cocktail ideas--these are definitely worth adding to that list and making sure you try before the season ends.
Let’s kick this off with a cocktail made for the most exciting thing about this vaccinated summer: party time. While we’re not exactly throwing caution to the wind here--the opposite, actually; we swear, partying with a little caution is just as fun!--we are wholeheartedly embracing the opportunity to gather with friends, friends we maybe haven’t been able to see much of. Some conversations about masks and distance mean getting to revel in all the good things about summer: warm days, breezy nights, sunsets, picturesque settings (or you know, your shared 10’ x 10’ patio, whatever!), and lots of laughs over a few drinks. And for those drinks, we are loving the idea of beer punch, because it’s something fresh and fun to shake up the ol’ imbibing repertoire, but it’s irresistibly easy.
We found one--again, so easy--recipe on Miss in the Kitchen. Really, rather than a recipe, it’s more of a guide to proportions. And what’s cool about that is you can scale up or down based on how many people you have, and you can even change up the ingredients, like switching the juice or the beers. Miss in the Kitchen’s pineapple take sounded like a little tropical vacay, so we’re going ahead with that, and adding Ross Brewing’s Tio Velero Mexican-Style Lager. It’s light, crisp, and versatile, but has a kick of lime, salt, and agave that will really drive home the slightly complex, “cocktail” vibe.
You could also play with punching (pun intended) up the pineapple factor via other, non-beer drinks. Add a little spice with Two Robbers’s Pineapple & Ginger Hard Seltzer; a little sweetness with SUNBOY’s Pineapple Spiked Sparkling Coconut Water; or a little heat with Flying Embers’s Pineapple Chili Hard Kombucha.
- 1 part pineapple juice
- 1 part ginger ale
- 36 oz. of the beer, seltzer, coconut water, or kombucha you chose
Step 1: Pour your alcohol component into a pitcher.
Step 2: Top with half pineapple juice, half ginger ale.
Step 3: Stir and serve over ice.
Step 4: Optionally, you can garnish with fresh pineapple or really whatever fruit you want.
The Brass Monkey
The Brass Monkey is a dream of a brunch cocktail, even though it can absolutely be enjoyed any time of day, too. We found this one on VinePair, and it instantly got visions of long, leisurely al fresco brunches dancing in our heads. You know those patios have that the perfect balance of sun and shade, and those hangs when you and your friends are just talking and laughing away every one of life’s problems? This is that kind of brunch, complemented by this easy-drinking cocktail.
The Brass Monkey calls for a wheat beer. You could go with something classic and straightforward like Founder’s All Day Vacay Session Wheat Ale, or you could bring even more flavor and a touch of complexity to this cocktail with something like Jackalope’s Lovebird, a wheat ale with strawberry and raspberry.
- 4 oz. orange juice
- 12 oz. wheat beer of your choosing!
- Angostura bitters
Step 1: Pour orange juice into a chilled pint glass.
Step 2: Add beer slowly.
Step 3: Top with a few drops of bitters.
Step 4: Pair with breakfast tacos. (Okay, that last step is optional. But a pro move, tbh.)
The Afternoon Siesta called to us because it includes different beverages that each scream “vacation.” This cocktail is not just full of flavor, but it’s also bursting with serious vibes of far-flung destinations, easy living, and good times. Whether you’ve even been to these places or not doesn’t matter--Campari stirs up scenes of Amalfi Coast sunsets while tequila conjures up taco feasts on a beach in Mexico and an IPA brings it all home, reminiscent of relaxed afternoons on brewery patios with friends.
Here’s the recipe from Bon Appetit. For the beer, we’re going with the HBCU West Coast IPA from Crowns & Hops. It’s got a balance of tropical fruit and citrus flavors with bitterness that will complement the bitter and fruity components of the cocktail’s other ingredients really nicely.
- ¾ oz. Campari
- ¾ oz. tequila blanco
- ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
- ½ oz. agave nectar
- 8 oz. chilled IPA
- Lime slice for garnish
Step 1: Combine Campari, tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker with ice. Cover and shake until you can feel the shaker is cold, about 20 seconds.
Step 2: Strain into a pint glass.
Step 3: Top with beer.
Step 4: Garnish and serve.
The Cowboy Margarita
Apparently, if you add beer to a margarita, that makes it a “cowboy margarita.” Hey, we’ll take it. Margarita? Good. Beer? Good. Together? Yee haw.
This cocktail successfully combines two eternally beloved and essential drinks, both of which happen to go especially well with summer fare from fish tacos to barbecue, into one holy grail of a sunny-season indulgence. Here, a classic plus a classic equals a total game-changer. Thanks to the ingredients, you’re going to get a beautiful balance of sweet, tart, and bitter, and all around refreshing finish. Because of all the big flavors at hand, we recommend keeping the beer crisp, clean, and light--try the Crispy Business Kolsch-Style Ale from Mayflower Brewing. It’s got a little fruitiness and a little bitterness that will play into this cocktail really well, with an overall easy-drinking, versatile character.
- 1 (12 oz.) container of frozen limeade concentrate
- 6 oz. tequila
- 3 oz. raspberry liqueur
- 12 oz. beer
Step 1: Blend the limeade concentrate, tequila, and raspberry liqueur together in a blender.
Step 2: Slowly stir in the beer.
Step 3: Enjoy! You could also serve this frozen, and can add any fruit you want as a garnish.
Radlers are time-honored icons in the beer cocktail game, and it’s no wonder why. It’s hard to think of any drink both this easy and this delicious. Seriously, on those scorching days when the humidity is approximately one million percent, this drink will actually cool you down and cheer you up--and it’s effortless enough even when you barely want to move.
It’s just half beer and half lemonade here, folks. It’s like a shandy, but German. And because--according to PureWow--the radler has these classic German beer roots, the traditional way to go would be a wheat beer. But of course, we can do whatever we want, can’t we? And that includes totally having fun with the grapefruit twist.
The Virginia Beer Company’s Saving Daylight feels tailor-made for the Grapefruit Radler. It’s a wheat beer brewed with grapefruit and orange peels, so basically checks all the boxes. You could also up the bitterness factor with Ghostfish Brewing’s Grapefruit IPA, lighten things up with the Grapefruit & Lime Hard Seltzer from Willie’s Superbrew, or lean even more into all that fruity flavor with the Grapefruit Supreme, a tart ale from Surly Brewing.
- ½ cup grapefruit juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 12 oz. beer--or seltzer!
- Grapefruit wedge for garnish
Step 1: Add the grapefruit and sugar together in a tall glass and stir.
Step 2: Top with beer.
Step 3: Garnish, and voila!
Passion Fruit Mint MAKKU Mule
Moscow mules are a legend in the cocktail game. Made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer, they’re refreshing and easy, and ubiquitous from bars to parties. These characteristics make them ideal summer sippers, great for elevating a dinner or gathering of friends without distracting from the good times with complicated techniques or crazy ingredients.
MAKKU’s makgeolli, like unfiltered rice beer, is already a breath of fresh air for your adult beverage portfolio, but the brand continues to innovate by reimagining crowd-pleasing cocktails with its varieties that bring a new level of crushable complexity--sweet, tart, funky, thirst-quenching--to any recipe. Here, the Moscow mule goes MAKKU, with bright passion fruit and herby mint. This one is sure to impress. MAKKU recommends its Original flavor, though it’s also good to know they have a Passion Fruit variety that would emphasize that note even more.
- 3 tablespoons passion fruit puree or scooped insides of passion fruit, “seeds and all”
- 2 oz. vodka
- Juice of 1 lime
- Several mint leaves
- 4 oz. MAKKU
- Lime wedge or mint sprig for garnish
Step 1: Fill a copper mug (or whatever you’re using) with ice.
Step 2: Add passion fruit, vodka, and lime juice.
Step 3: Twist and squeeze the mint leaves in your hands to release their oils into the mug.
Step 4: Add the MAKKU and stir gently.
Step 5: Garnish and enjoy.