5 Unique & Delicious Summer Cocktails

As promised, here’s a follow-up to our mocktail article that suits the taste of those of you 21 and up! Rather than give the typical cocktails you may expect, we’ll introduce you to five that are a bit more unique. Our recommendation would be that you become very familiar with making your own simple syrup. It’s quick, easy and great to have around when you want to sweeten up any cold drink. You’ll find the recipe below.

The Jack Rabbit

We first discovered this one at Hillstone and have craved it ever since. It’s a personal favorite of the other half of Backyard Zest. You may recognize it as a variation of another popular drink called the Applejack Rabbit, first concocted in 1927. If you like the mix of sweet and sour, then you’ll love this drink that beautifully blends sweet with tart. Grab your shaker, and follow these steps:


  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 lime
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Herradura reposado tequila
  • Campari
  • 1 grapefruit


  • Start by making a simple syrup: ¼ cup sugar dissolved in ¼ cup water over heat. This will give you enough simple syrup to make more than one drink.
  • In your glass, add ½ ounce of the simple syrup with ½ ounce lime juice. You’ve now made your very own sweet & sour. Yum! If you’d like a short cut, you can buy sweetened lime juice or a sweet & sour mix from your local grocery, which lets you skip the first two steps.
  • Add 3-4 mint leaves to the glass and muddle them.
  • Add a handful of ice to the shaker and mix in the following for one drink:
    • 2 ounces Herradura reposado tequila
    • ½ ounce Campari (you’ll want to use Campari, rather than substituting other bitters)
    • ½ ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Shake to combine the above ingredients and pour into the glass with the sweet & sour + mint. Give it all a quick stir.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint or a spiral peel of grapefruit, and enjoy!

Frozen Peach Bellini

Who doesn’t like something frozen when summer starts to heat up! This is a great option that you could make in place of mimosas at your next summer brunch. It’s quick, easy and so refreshing. The recipe below will make four Bellinis.


  • 1 ½  cups frozen peaches
  • ½ cup mango nectar (you can find this on Amazon or your grocery store juice aisle)
  • 1- 750mL bottle of Prosecco (champagne can be substituted)


  • Blend the frozen peaches with the mango nectar until well combined.
  • Fill half of a champagne flute with the peach/mango blend.
  • Top off the glass with Prosecco.
  • Add a fresh slice of peach, or for a subtle flavor addition, you could garnish with mint or lime. Enjoy!

Watermelon-Tequila Delight

If you read our mocktail recipes, you may have noticed that we really enjoy watermelon, so of course, it has to be included here in our adult-friendly drinks. This is a fun take on a tequila cocktail, but you’ll want to be sure you prep it ahead of time so that you can get the maximum flavor infusion before guests arrive. This recipe will make eight drinks.


  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 8 cups seedless watermelon, diced
  • ¼ cup lime juice, fresh is ideal
  • 1 ¾ cup blueberries
  • ¾ cup mint leaves
  • 1 ¼ cup tequila
  • Ice


  • Make a simple syrup – ¼ cup sugar dissolved in ¼ cup water over heat. Let it cool.
  • Blend the watermelon until smooth, then strain out as much juice as you can into a pitcher.
  • In the same pitcher combine the lime juice, simple syrup, blueberries, and mint. Slightly muddle the berries and mint with a large wooden spoon or muddler.
  • Add the tequila and place the pitcher in the refrigerator. Allow to cool for 2 hours.
  • Serve over ice, and garnish with mint. Enjoy!

Tabernacle Crush

Since we’ve got a theme of summer fruit going, let’s keep it up with a refreshing drink that includes the sparkle of club soda, the uniqueness of Lillet, and the sweetness of fresh peaches. The recipe will make two drinks.


  • Large peach, sliced
  • 12 basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1-ounce lemon juice, fresh is ideal
  • 3 ounces of gin
  • 2 ounce LIllet – this is a French aperitif that has a distinct flavor, which is lightened up with the simple syrup and peach
  • 1-ounce simple syrup
  • Club soda
  • Ice


  • Start by making a simple syrup: ¼ cup sugar dissolved in ¼ cup water over heat.
  • Add half the peach slices to both glasses along with 6 basil leaves, and muddle them together.
  • Mix in ½ ounce lemon juice, 1 ½ ounce gin, 1-ounce Lillet, and ½ ounce simple syrup to both glasses.
  • Add ice cubes, and leave enough room to top with the club soda.
  • Garnish with fresh basil or a thin wedge of lemon.
sunset punch

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Sunset Punch

Here’s one that goes a long way! If you’re looking for something that folks can serve themselves but still tastes like a fancy cocktail, this is it. The recipe serves eight.


  • Bourbon
  • White vermouth
  • 3-4 medium lemons
  • Simple syrup
  • 12-ounces ginger beer


  • Make your simple syrup (see above for recipe).
  • Grab a punch bowl.
  • Combine 8 ounces of bourbon, 8 ounces of white vermouth, and ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice with ¼ cup simple syrup. Mix well.
  • Add 12 ounces of ginger beer and 8-10 lemon slices.
  • Serve with glasses full of ice.

There you have it folks, five delicious drinks to try this summer – maybe while you’re enjoying that pergola or watching your kiddos play an outdoor game. These are great for parties or if you just want to have a night in with something fancy to sip. If you like any of these recipes, let us know. Or throw out some of your personal favorites! We always like to try new things and would love to hear from you.

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