Looking for a cocktail to cool off with over the Fourth of July weekend? Something simple and not too fussy that can help max out your chillaxing time? Here are 20 quick-and-easy ones from our archives, each made from no more than three simple ingredients. Perfect for these lusciously lazy days of summer.
Just a shot of spirit, a couple of glugs of soda, and a squeeze of citrus - these brightly bubbly combos can be thrown together in a snap. Exact measurements optional. No shaking or straining required.
- Dark and Stormy - rich, dark rum, spicy ginger beer, lime
- Gin and Tonic - crisp gin, tingly tonic, and a tart squeeze of lime
- Moscow Mule - vodka, ginger beer (or ginger ale), lime
- Campari and Soda - bitter, grapefruity Campari, fizzy water, and a slice of citrus
- Cuba Libre - a classic rum, cola, and lime combo recently featured in the Washington Post
- Paloma - tequila, grapefruit soda, lime (and, okay, just one more ingredient - a dash of salt)
Sleep in, then fix yourself one of these.
- Greyhound/Salty Dog - gin/vodka and grapefruit juice. Add a salt garnish for a Salty Dog
- Bloody Mary - vodka and Bloody Mary mix (or tomato juice plus seasonings)
Blended with Beer
Beer lends some light, bubbly booziness to these summertime coolers.
- Margaritas Made with Beer - frozen limeade blended with tequila and light beer
- Campari and IPA - a grapefruity, hoppy "offhand work of genius" recently featured in the NYTimes
- Shandy - mix equal parts beer and lemonade for a thirst-quenching, low-alcohol refresher
These beautifully balanced 3-ingredient combos feature a base spirit, fresh-squeezed citrus, and a dash of something sweet, and can be served straight up in a cocktail glass.
- Whiskey Sour - bourbon or rye, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup
- Daiquiri - rum, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup
- Margarita - tequila, fresh lime juice, and triple sec
- Gimlet - gin or vodka and sweetened lime juice (use the bottled stuff, Rose's Lime for an authentic old-school version, or go the more modern route with fresh-squeezed juice and sugar)
Short and Strong
In the mood for something a little more bracing? These potent classics are the perfect finish to a day.
What will you be drinking this holiday weekend?
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC’s Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
Related: Summer Entertaining: How to Build a Basic Bar
(Images: Paloma, Elizabeth Passarella; Campari and IPA, Anjali Prasertong; all others, Nora Maynard)