It's springtime, the air is fresh, the sun is out. Time to sit out on the balcony (or patio, or fire escape...) with a glass of something cold in hand. This is the time of year when we like to begin dinner parties with an easy, crowd-friendly drink — perhaps a pitcher of strawberry-basil margaritas, or a simple whiskey sour. Here are a few more drinks in that line: Cucumber-rosemary gin and tonics, Pimm's Cup for the gardener, a blueberry rum smash, and three Champagne cocktails inspired by the lovely ladies of Downton Abbey.

Each of the cocktails in this roundup is relatively easy and quick — no fancy infusions or too many types of liquor. Just simple, refreshing spring sipping, with flavors of herbs and fruit. Cheers to spring!

• 1 Strawberry Basil Margaritas - A crowd-pleasing favorite! And so easy — just stir up a pitcher-full.
• 2 Pimm's Cup - The classic gardener's cocktail, light and refreshing and very British.
• 3 Lady Mary Lillet-Champagne Cocktail - Inspired by the first lady of Downton Abbey, sweet with Lillet and bracing with basil.
• 4 Lady Edith Ruby Red & Rosé Champagne Cocktail - Ruby bright, and refreshing.
• 5 Lady Sybil St. Germain & Champagne Cocktail - A beautifully simple and sweet cocktail for spring.

• 6 Icy Cold Green Tea Mojitos - Iced green tea and white rum — so thirst-quenching!
• 7 Spicy-Cool Blood Orange-Jalapeño Margaritas - A sweet margarita with a spicy kick.
• 8 Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher - Watermelon isn't quite in season, but the watery, hothouse melons that are trickling into markets actually do quite well for this juicy, refreshing cocktail.
• 9 The Blueberry Rum Smash - Blueberries, rum, ginger ale. Simple!
• 10 The El Diablo Cockail - Limeade, creme de cassis, tequila. A gorgeous color.

• 11 The Original Hurricane - Mardi Gras is over, but the classic Hurricane makes great sipping all summer long.
• 12 Whisky Sour - Four takes on the classic whiskey sour, an easy and delicious drink for parties.
• 13 Kachumber Cooler - A garden cocktail, with cucumber, gin, cilantro and lime.
• 14 Cucumber-Rosemary Gin and Tonic - A refreshing twist on a classic.
• 15 The Americano - A juicy Italian classic, just Campari and vermouth with a splash of seltzer.

What are your favorite cocktails and mocktails for spring?

More Cocktail Advice

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Whiskey vs. Whisky: What's the Difference?
Does Liquor Ever Expire?
Buying Liquor: State vs. Private Stores
Bar Basics: 12 Bottles Any Bar Should Have

(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)