Summer drinks ideas
1. Iced coffee
When it comes to getting your caffeine hit in summer, iced coffee is king as far as we're concerned. But how do you ace it at home? First of all, start with a generous amount of ice in the glass, then pour over 30-50ml of espresso, topping with milk or your favourite dairy-free alternative. Filter and pour-over coffee lovers should make a strong 250-300ml batch, then let it cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge to chill. Once cold, add lots of ice to the glass and drink black or with a little milk. Read our guide to how to make iced coffee for more tips and tricks – including how to make cold brew coffee, the best plant-based milks for iced coffee and how to make a boozy Baileys iced coffee.
Crisp, bubbly and refreshing, spritzes are the ultimate summer tipple. A wine-based cocktail typically featuring a sparkling wine, an Italian bitter liqueur and a splash of soda water – spritzes are easy to make at home as long as you follow a simple ratio of 3:2:1 (wine, bitter, soda water). They're also super versatile and adaptable. As well as Aperol you can try any Italian amaro – try using earthy Cynar or Campari for a more grown-up, bittersweet flavour, or make a Venetian-style spritz with Select Apertivo, garnished with a green olive.
Feel free to experiment with other liqueurs – limoncello makes a lovely spritz or try making a hugo spritz with elderflower liqueur and fresh mint. Prosecco is classic in a spritz but you can try other sparkling wines. Go luxe with champagne or budget-friendly cava, both give a drier, more biscuity end result. Only have still white wine? No problem, try our delicious bicicletta recipe.
Try more of our wine cocktails, including iced tea sangrias and negroni sbagliatos.
This iconic holiday tipple is perfect for summer – fruity and refreshing, and less boozy than other cocktails which is perfect for when it's really hot. It's also simple to make – sangria is essentially a punch made with wine, chopped fruit and a mixer like lemonade, orange juice or sparkling water. It's a great way to use up any leftover wine or seasonal fruit you might have that's past its best.
A traditional sangria is best made with a light, dry red (no need to spend lots). We start with a base of chopped oranges – which we muddle with the wine and a little brandy and leave for an hour in the fridge to let the flavours develop, adding the fruit and lemonade to top up.
We used brandy in this recipe, but you could also try orange liqueurs like Cointreau or elderflower, ginger and berry-flavoured liqueurs. You can also make sangria with other types of wine – like sparkling, rosé or white wine – our white wine sangria uses stone fruit like nectarines and peaches along with a little elderflower liqueur. Feel free to experiment with mixers as well – we used floral chamomile tea in this iced tea sangria.
Make the most of a glut of summer produce by turning seasonal fruit into delicious cordials and syrups. They're quick to make with minimal ingredients, and they're seriously versatile – mix with sparkling or tonic water for a grown-up soft drink. They also work really well in cocktails. Our cucumber and lime cordial and strawberry cordial are perfect for fruity margaritas or daiquiris, while rhubarb cordial is delicious in a G&T. Try our blackcurrant cordial to make a next-level mojito.
This fermented tea is becoming popular as more and more of us fall for its funky, fizzy charms. While there are many different brands of ready-made kombucha available, it's actually easy to make at home (and often tastes better than shop bought). We like keeping a mason jar of it chilled in the fridge – perfect for when you want something refreshing but would prefer to avoid sickly sweet soft drinks. It also makes a good ingredient for mocktails like this kombucha spritz.
Our kombucha guide has everything you need to make your own kombucha from scratch. Once you've got the hang of it you can start experimenting. We like playing around with different tea varieties, from ordinary breakfast tea to earl grey, oolong, green tea and more. You can also add fruit, herbs and spices to freshly made kombucha – we love pineapple, raspberry, and lime and ginger.
If you're making drinks for a garden party or barbecue then a jug cocktail is your new best friend. Fuss-free and simple to make, our recipes include low-ABV cider mimosas and white port and grapefruit coolers; tropical Jamaican rum punch; spicy jalapeño-infused cucumber margaritas; and icy frosé.
When it comes to cooling summer drinks simplicity is key: enter the highball. With just two ingredients – spirit and a mixer – classic highballs include a moscow mule (vodka and ginger ale), cuba libre (rum and cola) and whisky and soda. Served with plenty of ice in a chilled glass, they're seriously refreshing.
As they're so simple to make it's easy to get creative with highballs. Our recipes include a negroni highball which lengthens the Italian cocktail with blood orange soda; a floral and smoky mezcal and elderflower highball; and a zesty paloma with tequila and grapefruit juice.
8. Iced tea
A quintessential summer tipple, at its most basic iced tea is just sweetened tea (usually black), chilled in the fridge and served over ice. But you can dress it up with all sorts of extra ingredients, from lemon, lime and orange slices to herbs, fruit juices and even booze. Our easy iced tea uses mint and apple, while this peach iced tea features a syrup made from fresh peaches. Ice tea works really well in alcoholic drinks – we love adding bourbon or dark rum to ours, or try this iced tea cocktail.
Tangy, tart syrups of fruit, vinegar and syrup, shrubs make a delicious non-alcoholic drink when lengthened with sparkling or tonic water. You can use lots of different fruits, from seasonal summer berries to tropical fruit like pineapple. Try our pomegranate and rosemary shrub or this hibiscus, pomegranate and rose shrub. Our top tip? Use raw apple cider vinegar for extra funky flavour.
Ice-cold juices in hot weather are hard to beat, plus they're a great way to pack in your five-a-day. Try our green juice to boost energy, summery watermelon juice with lime or a super nutritious beetroot juice.
11. Bubble tea
Whip up a batch of Taiwanese bubble tea, complete with chewy tapioca pearls.
Make the most of the short elderflower season by making this fresh cordial – serve it with sparkling water, mix with gin over ice or toss with fruit for a salad.