Be Your Own Bartender With NYC’s Best Summer Cocktails

Featured image by Asia Coladner

If you’re anything like us, you believe that summer and booze go together like peanut butter and jelly. Kicking back with a refreshing cocktail is arguably the best way to enjoy long nights or a leisurely brunch. Besides, we sweat it out in the heat (or at least that’s what we tell ourselves). We can’t always justify the price tag of an $18 cocktail—sorry, wallet—and sometimes, it’s just better to stay in. Luckily, you can DIY the best summer drinks from around the city.

We’re bringing you the NYC cocktails that will have you saying ros-yay. You have no excuse not to recreate these refreshing recipes and enjoy your summer Friday—you earned it!

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gg's pitcher cocktails

Photo via Mona Creative

East Village’s comfort food spot GG’s knows how to make a mean drink. Their fresh, seasonal flavors get a boozy update in their signature pitcher cocktails.

Cucumber Margarita
10oz silver tequila (use 100% agave like El Jimador)
5oz cucumber purée or cucumber juice
3 3/4 oz simple syrup
3 3/4 oz fresh lime juice

Grapefruit Gimlet
10oz Vodka
5 oz fresh grapefruit juice (see recipe below)
3 oz fresh lime juice
3 3/4 oz grapefruit syrup

Bourbon Lemonade
10oz bourbon
4 oz fresh lemon juice
4 oz honey syrup (see recipes below)
Club soda (about 8oz)

Grapefruit syrup
Peel the skin of 2 grapefruit using a vegetable peeler. Muddle the peels in 1 cup of granulated sugar. Add to 1 cup of water simmering in a pot and stir to dissolve. Strain out peels and refrigerate. Can be made ahead of time up to 1 week.

Honey syrup
Combine 1 cup organic honey and 1/2 cup of hot water. Stir to dissolve. Keep refrigerated.

To mix the drinks, stir everything in a glass pitcher with lots of ice until the ingredients are combined and the drink is cold. Each pitcher serves five.

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Photo courtesy of Hail Mary

Photo courtesy of Hail Mary

Nothing says summer like a classic American root beer float. The timeless drink gets a grown-up update from Greenpoint’s eclectic Hail Mary diner.

Hail Mary’s Rye Root Beer Lift
1.5 oz rittenhouse rye
1 oz sweet vermouth
0.5 oz cream
0.5 oz root beer syrup (house-made if possible)
3 dashes Angostoura bitters
2 dashes acid phosphate (a traditional soda fountain addition that gives a drink a dry, tart flavor)

Dry shake all ingredients together – once emulsified, shake with ice. Strain into a Collins glass and top with seltzer.

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streets cocktails

Photo courtesy of Streets

Taco Tuesday isn’t complete without a couple of margaritas. Streets Brooklyn’s drinks with fresh, unique flavors will become your new go-tos for Mexican night.

Margarita Amazonas
1.5 oz house-infused habanero tequila
0.75oz agave nectar
1 oz passion fruit nectar
0.75oz freshly squeeze lime juice

Stir together; top with a dash of cherry juice and rim with brown sugar & tajin.

Apricot Shandy
1.5oz gin
0.5oz apricot brandy
0.75 fresh lime juice
0.5oz thyme infused simple syrup

Shake, strain and top off with Brooklyn Lager.

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garrett cocktails

Photo by Vanessa Granda

The Garret East is our ride or die, and their Tried & True punch is no exception. The tropical flavors and turmeric spice give it a unique kick. Serve this summer-ready punch bowl at your DIY brunch or your next nighttime gathering—your guests won’t be able to get enough.

Large Format Drink
3 oz of coconut ciroc
2 oz of aloo gin
2 oz lime juice
2 oz tumeric infused dolin dry
0.5 oz St Elizabeth All-Spice Dram 2 oz passionfruit syrup
2 cans of yellow Red Bull

Add everything except Red Bull to a shaker and shake, strain over ice into a big bowl. Pour Red Bull on top and leave the cans for garnish. Garnish with edible pansies.

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rose cocktails

Photo courtesy of La Pecoria Bianca

Sangria is our happy hour staple, so it’s no surprise that we’re loving this rosé sangria recipe from La Pecoria Bianca. Bevi!

Rosé Sangria
1.5 cup cut peaches
1/4 cup oj
3 Tb brandy or orange liqeuer
1 bottle rose
2 Tb honey or simple syrup

Combine all and let sit overnight; top with a splash of Prosecco or club soda. Garnish with strawberries and lime.

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ruschmeyers cocktail

Photo via Collective NY

Maybe your days of sipping on fruity cocktails in Montauk are over, but that doesn’t mean summer is. Recreate Ruschmeyer’s signature watermelon cocktail to bring that poolside feel all summer long.

The Ruschmeyer’s
1 ½ oz Vodka
2 oz fresh Watermelon juice
1 slice of jalapeno
½ oz Fresh Lime
Dash of Simple syrup

Shake and strain over ice in a tall glass; garnish with a wedge of watermelon.

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beach cocktails

Photo by David Jacobson

The Beach at Dream Downtown is your city-based getaway. But whether you’re laying out in the sun or at home, you can sip on their grown-up frozen drinks.

Frozen Moscow Mule
1.5oz vodka
Splash ginger beer
Tangy Citrus Organic Kelvin Slush

Add the vodka and a splash of ginger beer to a glass. Top with Tangy Citrus Organic Kelvin Slush and serve.

Frozen Margarita
2 oz. Milagro Silver Tequila
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
Fresh fruit, 2-3 slices (or to taste)

In a blender, blend together Milagro Silver Tequila, fresh lime juice and ice. Add fresh fruit, or a fresh fruit puree, of your choosing. Blend once again for smooth consistency. If desired, add agave to taste.

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ruby's cocktail

Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Cafe

Tucked away in Murray Hill, Ruby’s newest location offers refreshing options and healthy fare. Their Prosecco- and grapefruit-infused house cocktail is perfect for your at-home brunch spread.

Ruby’s Spritz
2oz Mauro Vergano Americano Vermouth
2oz Prosecco
1oz Sparkling San Pellegrino
1oz grapefruit juice

Serve over ice, garnish with half a grapefruit wheel.

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Smokin Sunset

Photo courtesy of Union Fare

Union Fare may be known for their Instagram-worthy croissants, but their summery drinks are just as buzzworthy. The Smokin’ Sunset is tart with a bite, and their Smartass cocktail puts a twist on a classic Moscow Mule—you’ll want to recreate these recipes, stat.

Smokin’ Sunset
1.5 oz Ilegal Joven Mezcal
0.75 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz chipotle pineapple agave
Pineapple Slice

Combine all ingredients directly into tin. Shake thoroughly. Double strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice.

1oz Plantation Rum
0.5 oz root beer syrup
0.25 oz lime juice
2oz ginger beer
Lime wheel

Combine all ingredients directly into a collins glass. Add crushed ice and garnish.

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Photo via Yes Way Rosé

Photo via Yes Way Rosé

Rosé is the ultimate summer drink, so naturally, we’ll be sipping on El Rey’s Rosé Slushy alllll summer long.

Watermelon Rose Slushy
Serves two, double to serve four.

1 cup frozen seedless watermelon chunks
12 oz rosé ( 1/2 bottle)
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 Tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve.

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Photo courtesy of The Bowery Hotel

The Bowery Hotel will forever be one of our favorite places to hit on a night out, but you can just as easily make their green tea and herb-infused Owl’s Brew cocktails at home, thanks to these simple recipes.

Wicked Owl
2 oz. Owl’s Brew Wicked Green (blend of fresh-brewed green tea, with lemon, lime, and habanero peppers)
1 oz. VIVA Tequila
1/2 oz. Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur
1/4 oz. Green Chartreuse

Tear up basil and place into a mixing glass. Add ingredients and ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a basil leaf.

El Amor
3/4 part Owl’s Brew Wicked Green (blend of fresh-brewed green tea, with lemon, lime, and habanero peppers)
3/4 part Woodford Rye
3/4 part Aperol
3/4 part Montenegro

Place all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.


Featured image by Asia Coladner

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