Budget Travel

June 2, 2009

5 Great Summer Cocktails

By Meg Hoppe

The summer is a great time to just kick back with some good friends and good drinks for a night. So many of my best memories from years past revolve around lawn chair conversation with a pitcher of my favorite margarita being passed from friend to friend. This summer, I’ve picked some of my favorite cocktails to accompany any summer night party.

Habanero Margarita

Mango Habanero Margarita

Mango Habanero Margarita

  • 2 parts tequila
  • 2 parts mango puree
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 2 dashes habanero sauce

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled glass then enjoy.

This recipe is my new summer favorite. I had a great variation of this for the first time at a FlatTop restaurant near my house. When I got home I scoured the Internet for recipes to this great drink and they had ones that seemed close but never necessarily hit the mark for me. I almost gave up when I stumbled across this one that I found on NibbleDish.com. I experimented some with the fruit puree and found that it’s a great drink to mix and match with. So if you’re looking for something a little different with a kick, give this amazing drink a try!


  • 1 ounce Midori
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • Lemonade
  • Club soda
  • Sprite

Pour Midori and vodka into a highball glass. Fill with lemonade and float a splash of club soda and a splash of Sprite on top. Garnish with a lemon twist.

I first discovered this recipe a few summers ago during a July 4th party with friends. The sweet Midori mixes so well with vodka and some lemonade. In fact, it was such a hit at the party that it’s become a staple at any Hoppe party. The mixture is easy enough to make for a large group or small one.


  • 1/2 ounce peach liqueur
  • 1 ounce peach juice or nectar
  • Chilled champagne or sparkling wine

Pour liqueur and juice into a chilled champagne flute. Slowly top up with champagne or sparkling wine.

I have always been a huge fan of the Bellini. The peach mixed with champagne or sparkling wine is a great way to top off a warm evening with a few close friends. The recipe is simple enough to replicate and alter [if you so wish] easily enough.


Mint Mojito

Mint Mojito

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 8 mint leaves
  • Half a lime, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce sugar syrup; club soda
  • Ice cubes

Mash up mint, lime, and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, then the rum. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled tumbler 1 inch from the rim; top up with club soda.

I remember trying a Mojito at the behest of one of my close friends. While I wasn’t automatically sold on the combination of rum and mint, the drink quickly grew on me. What’s so great about the Mojito is that it’s such a universal drink that can take so many forms. You can easily add a great ingredient like pineapple or pomegranate to make your own twist on a Cuban classic.


  • 5 small chunks watermelon
  • 1 lime, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce sugar syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces gold tequila
  • Apple juice
  • Ice cubes

Mash up watermelon, lime, and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, then the tequila. Shake vigorously and strain into a tall, chilled glass 1 inch from the rim; top with apple juice.

This recipe is an old favorite of mine because it is a great summer party drink. I made Chapala for the first time for a large group at a BBQ and it went over brilliantly. I love experimenting with this drink keeping the fruit in for a very Sangria feel while introducing other flavors to the mix.

The best thing about these recipes is the versatility in their enjoyment. It is easy to translate these drinks to “mocktail” status for friends who prefer non-alcoholic nights and add different flavors and feelings with the addition of fruit. Enjoy the recipes and never be scared to experiment every now and then with your cocktails!

*Meg Hoppe is a freelance writer and marketing professional from Chicago. Visit her other blog here.


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