When it comes to summer entertaining, we're all about recipes that we can make ahead of time, and that goes for drinks too. Yes, beer and wine are low-effort beverages, but a signature cocktail takes even the smallest backyard dinner party to a new level.
That's why we love a good make-ahead pitcher cocktail. Whether it's a seasonal blend of strawberries and basil or a classic negroni, all you have to do once guests arrive is pull a pitcher from the fridge and add any club soda or sparkling wine and give it all a stir.
Yes, this is called breakfast sangria (because it most closely resembles a mimosa), but you can really serve it at any hour of the day. Just be sure to load it with whatever citrus fruits you can find.
Layered cocktails might seem intimidating, but this bomb pop pitcher cocktail is surprisingly easy to make. And it's stable enough to be transferred to the fridge once it's layered. Just be sure to stir it after you show it off to your guests and before serving.
The make-ahead portion of this cocktail is really squeezing the blood oranges — although when they aren't in season, a fresh juice will do. Serve it as more of a sangria if you want — just add a liqueur and some orange slices the night before — then simply combine with sparkling wine and you're all set.
Want to make this sangria really sing? Give the melon plenty of time to soak up the limoncello. Don't forget to save some mint to garnish each glass as well.
Combine your berries, red wine, vodka, and pomegranate juice the night before, then top with a bit of ginger beer just before serving for a refreshing, sparkling tingle.
It's hard to improve on a classic like the margarita, but we think this one will win over your guests' taste buds. And the best part? It's made with frozen limeade concentrate to make it easier on you.
Pineapple and citrus make this pisco-based punch a summer favorite. Make it the night before to allow all the flavors to really meld. Add fresh ice before serving.
You don't normally see watermelon used in sangria, but that will change once you've tried this recipe. Combine the watermelon, white port, and Moscato ahead of time, then top with lime seltzer just before serving.
Make the blueberry-lavender simple syrup ahead of time to allow it to cool before you mix up a batch of this refreshing cocktail. It's the perfect recipe to make after you've gone berry picking.
10. Sparkling Cojito
This sparkling pitcher cocktail is related to the mojito, but is made with coconut rum for a decidedly tropical feel. It's the perfect way to pretend you're on an island vacation — no matter where you are.
Of course, if coconut isn't quite your speed you can make a pineapple mojito instead. Grill the fruit and make the simple syrup ahead of time, then assemble everything day of.
To make this drink a bit more summery you can swap out the cranberries for raspberries and use mint instead of rosemary. It will change the flavor profile a bit, but it will be much more refreshing for the summer months.