Easy Cocktails You Can Pack for Any Summer Picnic

Weather is warm, shorts have been pulled out of storage, and April showers have come and gone, which can only mean one thing…summer is finally upon us. Perhaps you find yourself wondering how it seemed to get so hot so fast, or where that pesky season between winter and summer went. To this I say, stop fretting the small stuff (you’ll need a light jacket, does that answer the question?) and focus on the big conundrum: what will you be sipping during this sunny, sweaty season? Wherever your summer takes you—beaches, picnics, festivals, poolside or anywhere in between—we’ve got plenty of easy-to-make drinks that you can take on the go.

For the most innovative drink holders, coolers and tools to help you  make these delightful beverages while out and about, check out Observer’s list of on-the-go cocktail accessories.

SEE ALSO: 16 Fresh and Fizzy Spring Cocktails to Shake Up for Your Next Alfresco Brunch

Malibu Lime Mojito. Courtesy Malibu

Malibu Lime Mojito

Personally, I could drink mojitos all summer long and never get sick of them. But I also know that they’re nearly impossible to make at the park, on the beach or, let’s face it, anywhere other than home. With no muddling required, this variation on the classic cocktail is the perfect solution for all your sudden mojito cravings.

2 parts Malibu Lime
3/4 parts fresh lime juice
3 parts club soda
10 mint leaves
Mint sprig, for garnish

Add mint leaves to a chilled highball glass and fill with ice cubes. Add Malibu Lime and fresh lime juice. Top up with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

E&J Peach Palmer. Courtesy E&J Brandy

E&J Brandy Peach Palmer

If you’re a superfan of the lemonade and iced tea hybrid (and let’s get real…who isn’t?), buckle up. This refreshing cocktail takes your favorite summer drink to a new level. Adding peach brandy to the classic Arnold Palmer combo, this drink has summer written all over it. And with only three main ingredients, it’s perfect for making in a batch to take with you on an adventure.

1 part E&J peach brandy
1 part iced tea
1 part lemonade
Lime wedge, for garnish

Add all ingredients together, shake, and pour into your favorite cocktail glass. Add ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

The Cenote Paloma. Courtesy Cenote

The Cenote Paloma

Though the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a tequila cocktail is the much-loved margarita, it’s time we talk about the paloma. One of the most popular drinks in Mexico (the motherland of tequila, so that’s saying something), this cocktail is super easy to put together and just as easy to drink as the margarita you love so much.

1 1/2 ounces Cenote Blanco tequila
6 ounces Jarritos grapefruit soda
1/2 ounce lime juice

Build the cocktail by placing all ingredients in a salt rimmed highball glass filled with fresh ice. Stir to mix.

Spicy Lady. Courtesy Ketel One

Spicy Lady

If you’re one of those people who has their life together enough to make your own infused water, kudos to youyou’ll love this cocktail. Ketel One Botanical vodkas are changing the game with their fresh, natural flavors, and this cocktail highlights their cucumber and mint blend perfectly. Though it requires muddling, it’s easy to make in a big batch and share with friends for an easy drink in the summer heat.

2 ounces Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint
1 ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon agave
2 slices cucumber
6 mint leaves
1 slice serrano or jalapeño pepper
1 1/2 ounces club soda to top

Muddle cucumber, serrano and mint leaves with lime juice and agave syrup in shaker tin, add Ketel One and lightly shake with ice for eight seconds. Strain into glass over ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime wheel.

Red Rum Punch. Courtesy Bacardí

Red Rum Punch

We can’t talk about summer cocktails without talking about rum punch and with three different kinds of rum, trust me…this is a rum punch worth talking about. With bright summer flavors like lemon and raspberry, this drink is perfect for mixing up in advance, throwing in a bag and drinking at your destination. Just add ice!

3/4 part Bacardí Limon
3/4 part Bacardí Raspberry
3/4 part Bacardí Superior
1/2 part grenadine
2 parts sweet and sour mix
1 part cranberry juice
Lemon wheel, for garnish
Fresh mint, for garnish
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Pour all ingredients into a glass or punch bowl that is filled with ice blocks and stir. Garnish the bowl with lemon wheels, fresh mint and raspberries.

The Finnish Mule. Courtesy Finlandia

Finlandia Finnish Mule

Over the last few years, the Moscow Mule has been gaining in popularity so quickly that I can’t remember the last time I went to a bar and didn’t see someone drinking out of the recognizable copper mug they’re served in. If the drink wasn’t already full of bright flavors, this recipe uses Finlandia’s grapefruit vodka (which actually tastes like fresh grapefruit, as opposed to artificial flavoring) to elevate it to a new summer level.

1 part Finlandia grapefruit vodka
3 parts ginger beer
1/4 part lime juice
Cucumber slice, for garnish
Lime wedge, for garnish
Ginger stalks, for garnish

Mix the ingredients in an ice-filled copper mug. Stir lightly. Garnish with a cucumber slice, lime wedge and ginger stalks.

El Color Rojo. Courtesy Milagro

El Color Rojo

With a splash of rosé and a hint of Crème de Cassis (a deliciously sweet blackcurrant liqueur), this tequila cocktail from the brain of National Milagro ambassador Jaime Salas is unlike any margarita or paloma you’ve had before.

1 1/2 parts Milagro reposado
1 part fresh lemon juice
1/4 part rosé
1/2 part light agave nectar
1/2 crème de cassis
Fresh blackberries and raspberries, for garnish

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake and strain over fresh ice into a red wine glass. Garnish with fresh blackberries and raspberries.

New Amsterdam Azalea. Courtesy New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam Azalea

If you’re wondering how you’ve made it this far in a summer cocktails piece without seeing pineapple, your wait is over. Using a splash of sweet grenadine to balance the acidity of the pineapple juice, this bright gin cocktail is perfect for sipping in warm weather.

2 ounces New Amsterdam gin
1 1/2 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce grenadine
Lemon peel, for garnish
Mint leaf, for garnish

Add ingredients into an ice filled shaker and shake together to combine and chill. Strain into a cold martini or coupe glass and garnish with a lemon peel and mint leaf.

Papa’s Partly Cloudy. Courtesy Papa's Pilar Rum

Papa’s Partly Cloudy

Lucky for your summer plans, this cocktail’s name has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with the fact that it’s a take on the classic Dark and Stormy. With notes of zesty ginger and bright lime, this is a perfect, easy-to-drink cocktail that you will want to be sipping all summer long.

2 ounces Papa’s Pilar Blonde rum
3 ounces ginger beer
1/2 ounce lime juice
Dash of bitters
Lime wheel, for garnish

Build cocktail over ice and garnish with lime wheel.

Rosé Spritz. Courtesy Three Olives

Rosé Spritz

Instagram hasn’t taught me much (other than that an egg can get more likes than Kylie Jenner while also advocating for digital wellbeing), but it has made me very aware that summer is undoubtedly rosé season. But this summer, buying a bottle of the blush pink beverage is no longer the only way to enjoy it. For rosé superfans and casual sippers alike, Three Olives has developed a rosé vodka that, topped with a bit of club soda, is an easy and effervescent cocktail for all your summer shenanigans.

1 part Three Olives rosé vodka
Top with club soda
Fresh strawberry, for garnish

Pour vodka into a glass with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.

Hemingway Daiquiri. Courtesy Papa’s Pilar Rum

Hemingway Daiquiri

If you’re of the mindset that if you’ve had one daiquiri you’ve had them all, this bright drink will prove you wrong. With tart grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur, it’s unlike any daiquiri you’ve sipped before and perfect for warm weather. And as an added bonus, it’s easy to mix in advance!

1 1/2 ounce Papa’s Pilar Blonde rum
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1 tsp maraschino liqueur
1 tsp sugar
Lime wheel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients into shaker. Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

Catalina Wine Mixer. Courtesy Sailor Jerry

Catalina Wine Mixer

I’m not a red wine person, but we all know someone who isthose die-hard red wine fans that have friends like me asking, “Red wine? Even this heat?” For our beloved oddballs, I present a new summer cocktail. Balanced with spiced rum and lemon, it’s far less fruity than sangria and easy to take on the go. Plus, Sailor Jerry has partnered with the USO for a limited edition summer bottle, so you can feel good about this drink in more ways than one.

2 parts Sailor Jerry spiced rum
2 parts red wine
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
Lemon-lime soda
Lemon wedge, for garnish

Build Sailor Jerry, wine and juice in a mixing glass filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into a wine glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Spicy Grapefruit Paloma. Courtesy Tres Agaves

Spicy Grapefruit Paloma

Now that you’re familiar with the Paloma—one of Mexico’s favorite drinks—here’s an elevated version brought to you by Jorge Lara, the beverage manager at Inside Park at St. Bart’s in New York City. Made with fresh grapefruit juice (as opposed to the traditional grapefruit soda) and jalapeño, this version is not only a bright and easy drink, but has a bit of kick as well.

2 ounces Tres Agaves organic blanco tequila
2 1/2 ounces grapefruit juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
1-2 slices jalapeño
Sliced lime, for garnish
Sliced grapefruit, for garnish

Salt the rim of your glass with smoked chili flakes. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake until combined and then strain into your prepared glass. Add a grapefruit peel and a slice of jalapeño if desired.

Hibiscus Summer Spritz. Courtesy Sugar Island Coconut Rum

Hibiscus Summer Spritz

If being surrounded by flowers all summer just isn’t enough, this cocktail should fulfill the rest of your floral desires. This drink is colorful thanks to the use of tart hibiscus tea, and well-balanced with sweet Cointreau and orgeat for flavors of orange and almond.

2 ounces Sugar Island coconut rum
1 ounces hibiscus tea
1 ounce Cointreau
1/4 ounce orgeat
1/4 ounce agave nectar
Splash of ginger beer
Blood orange wheel, for garnish

Pour all the ingredients over ice in glass. Garnish with a wheel of blood orange.

La Vanille Spritz. Courtesy Grey Goose

La Vanille Spritz

Though the thought of vanilla may not immediately conjure summer visions in your head, this fresh cocktail gives it new life with lemon and a splash of ginger ale.

1 1/2 parts Grey Goose La Vanille
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
4 1/2 parts premium ginger ale
Lemon twist, for garnish

Add Grey Goose La Vanille and fresh-squeezed lemon juice to an oversized cabernet wine glass with ice. Top with premium ginger ale, then stir. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Funky Monkey Punch. Courtesy Monkey Shoulder

Funky Monkey Punch

This cocktail is full of flavors you didn’t know you needed this summer, but won’t be able to go without once you try them together. Though it’s made with a myriad of ingredients, you can still take this drink with you on your summer outings. Combine everything but the club soda in advance, and have people wonder how you’re sipping something so fancy without a bar cart in sight.

1 1/2 parts Monkey Shoulder
2 parts coconut water
1/2 part fresh orange juice
3/4 part salted-cinnamon syrup*
1 splash club soda
Orange wedge, for garnish
Mint sprig, for garnish

Build in a highball glass or punch bowl over ice, lightly stir and garnish with the orange wedge and mint sprig.

*Salted-Cinnamon Syrup
1 quart water
1 quart granulated sugar
2 pinches kosher salt
2 cinnamon sticks

In a saucepan bring all items to a simmer. Pull off heat and let sit for 10 mins. Remove cinnamon sticks and store for use.

Easy Cocktails You Can Pack for Any Summer Picnic