happy girls with beverages on summer party near the pool
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Despite occasional overcast skies and slightly cooler weather, Arizona’s monsoon season doesn’t herald the end of summer. Plenty of time remains to host a summer barbecue or just cool off poolside. And what goes better with a party and lounging than cocktails? (Hint: Nothing)

Of course, maybe you feel a lack of skill when it comes to whipping up cocktails, or want to expand your horizons. Check out our collection of essential recipes for refreshing, fruity and fun cocktails. Then kick back, soak in the sun and celebrate the remainder of the summer.

Don’t drink alcohol? Don’t worry; we included a non-alcoholic option as well!

Before we start:

Poolside cocktails don’t need to contain expensive alcohols or fancy blenders and mixers. You can switch all the beverages we mention to cheaper versions. Plus, bottled fruits like lime may be used instead of fresh fruit.

Warning: Please stay hydrated and provide water to all your guests. When playing in the pool, you can become dehydrated without realizing it, especially when drinking alcoholic beverages. Make sure you know the danger signs.

OK, on to the drinks.

1. Key Lime-tini (Martini)

martini with lime and green olives on a yellow background.
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Widely known as the drink of choice for fictional spy James Bond—”Shaken, not stirred”—martinis are one of the most popular mixed drinks for non-fictional people as well. However, many versions, including the one below, take the “martini” name from the martini serving glass, not the original recipe of gin and dry vermouth at a 2:1 ratio.

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice

Directions:

Pour into a cup, shake with ice and strain into a martini glass with sugared rim. Garnish with lime.

2. Baja Sangria (Sangria)

homemade delicious red sangria with limes oranges and apples
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Sangria traces its history back to the Romans, but the version we drink today hails from Spain. In fact, “Sangria” comes from the Spanish word for “blood” thanks to its dark red color. It actually wasn’t well-known in America until its debut at the 1964 World’s Fair, but now we wonder how we lived without it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 parts Cabernet Sauvignon (or other red wine of your preference)
  • 1 part apricot brandy
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • 1 part orange juice
  • Assorted chopped fruits (pears, berries, apples, grapes, melon)

Directions: 

Adjust ratios to taste. Mix ingredients in punch bowl and serve.

3. Bloody Houston (Bloody Mary)

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homemade bacon spicy vodka bloody mary with tomatos, olive and celery
Copyright: bhofack2 / 123RF Stock Photo

The origin of the Blood Mary remains shrouded in mystery, with several competing claims for who invented it and what the name means. You don’t need to know who created it to enjoy it, however. Thanks to the included tomato, it makes a great base for a full meal as it pairs well with meats, veggies and anything else you want to put on a skewer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Absolut Texas
  • 3 oz. Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix
  • 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 splash of pickle juice

Directions:

Shake with ice and serve over rocks. Garnish with bacon, celery stalk and skewered block of cheese, olive and lemon wedge.

4. Momma’s Lemonade (Margarita)

The margarita is a cocktail consisting of tequila mixed with orange-flavoured liqueur and lime or lemon juice, often served with salt on the glass rim.
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Despite this drink’s disputed origin, we do know that in 1971 restaurateur Mariano Martinez made the first frozen margarita machine based on a 7-Eleven Slurpee dispenser. At home, you can crush the ice in a blender or, for an easier preparation, use frozen lemonade or limeade, which includes the ice already perfectly ground for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Sauza Tequila Gold
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 3 oz. can frozen limeade (Minute Maid)
  • 1 oz. cold water
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions:

Salt the rim of your glass. Shake all ingredients except for Grand Marnier with ice and pour over rocks. Float Grand Marnier on top allowing it slowly mix into the rest of the beverage. Garnish with lime wedge.

5. Sparkling Peachtree (Mimosa)

glass of mimosa cocktail on the pool nosing at the tropical resort. horizontal, cocktail on right side
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Named after the bright yellow mimosa flower, the inclusion of champagne makes this citrus cocktail a drink for classier situations, such as at weddings or first-class travel. Speaking of classy, it reputedly got its start in 1925 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris courtesy of bartender Frank Meier. That pedigree means you can use it to help give your event an upscale atmosphere.

Ingredients: 

  • Champagne
  • Peachtree peach schnapps
  • Peach vodka
  • Orange juice

Directions:

In a champagne flute (or other glassware), fill 3/4 of glass with champagne. Next, splash in equal parts orange juice, peach schnapps and peach vodka to taste until the glass is full.

6. Razzle Dazzle (Mojito)

raspberry mojito in a glass with mint and lime
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Hailing from Cuba, this popular highball cocktail answers Captain Jack Sparrow’s question, “Why is all the rum gone?” Actually, the alcohol content stays fairly low per glass—only about 10 percent—which means you can down several over the course of an afternoon by the pool without a hangover the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. Bacardi white rum
  • 1 oz. Razzmatazz raspberry liqueur
  • 1 splash Sprite
  • Club soda
  • Mint leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime

Directions:

Muddle (i.e. gently mash with a muddler or other blunt utensil) mint leaves at the bottom of glass. Add, in order: ice, rum, lime juice, raspberry liqueur, Sprite, and then fill remainder of glass with club soda. Stir thoroughly and garnish with raspberries.

7. Watermelon Cooldown (Non-alcoholic)

watermelon cocktail on table, close-up
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We realize not everyone drinks—check out 5 fun bars you can visit when you DON’T want to drink—and those people shouldn’t be left out of the mixed-drink fun. This watermelon-based non-alcoholic cocktail could be just the thing. And nothing says “summer” like watermelon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Part ice
  • 1 Part fresh watermelon
  • 1 Part lemonade
  • 1 oz. simple syrup

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a blender. If the result is thicker than desired, blend additional ice to water down your drink to preference. Serve with fresh watermelon slice.

– Tuesday Mahrle and Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org

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