Summer cocktails: the 8 most refreshing cocktails

Summer cocktails: the 8 most refreshing cocktails

What could be better than lounging outside with the warmth of the sun beating down, the smell of a BBQ nearby and a delightfully cold cocktail in hand? 

With summer just around the corner, the craving for some refreshing cocktails grows stronger! From mouth-watering sweet berry flavours to invigorating minty beverages, our top picks for the most refreshing summer cocktails will whisk you away to a tropical paradise.

1. Margarita

Margarita Summer Cocktail 

While the Margarita is perfectly acceptable to drink all year round, it just feels that little bit extra special to enjoy it during the summer months. This classic cocktail mixes tequila, lime, Triple Sec or Cointreau, and can be served with a salt rim to enhance the sweet-tangy flavour. 

The Margarita is a bit of a mystery drink! Multiple stories circulate the drink’s industry on how and when the Margarita was created, but one thing is almost always was named after a beautiful woman. 

One story claims that the drink was first created by a Mexican restaurant owner in 1938 for a showgirl who was allergic to all kinds of alcohol except tequila. He created the cocktail just for her as she didn't like drinking tequila straight. Another popular tale insists that the cocktail was invented in 1948 by a Texas socialite, Margaret (a.k.a Margarita) Sames, at a house party. 

Various takes on the classic Margarita have since been created, with the most popular one being Tommy’s Margarita which replaces the Triple Sec with agave syrup for a delightfully sweet taste.

2. Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan Summer Cocktail

For those who enjoy sipping on a sweet cocktail in the summer, the modern classic Cosmopolitan is ideal! The refreshingly fruity taste and unique colour of the Cosmo is a popular combination for many, and a favourite for Instagram feeds! Blending vodka, Cointreau and cranberry juice, the Cosmo is a hugely popular cocktail!

The Cosmo was created by Cheryl Cook in the 1980s who was astonished by the number of people who ordered Martinis just to be seen with a Martini glass in hand. This gave her the idea to create a drink that looked visually pleasing in a Martini glass and appeal to more women. 

When the hit 90s TV show, Sex and the City, first aired, the Cosmopolitan quickly reached the peak of its popularity as it was the drink of choice for many of the characters on the show. This glamorous cocktail was loved by people all over the world and Cook herself served it to many celebrities on South Beach such as Madonna, John F. Kennedy Jr, Queen Latifah and Martin Scorsese. 

3. Garden of Russia

Garden of Russia Summer Cocktail

Our unique Garden of Russia cocktail is an unusual, fresh, and fragrant take on the Vodka Sour that's perfect for those gloriously warm, sunny days. Combining vodka, elderflower liqueur and organic citric acid, this bittersweet cocktail has become a firm favourite of NIO Patrons!

While most people aren't racing to Russia for their tropical summer getaways, our Head Mixologist’s inspiration for his signature cocktail came on a trip to St Petersburg. 

On a stroll around the stunning Summer Garden, a cultural treasure to St Petersburg that was founded in 1704, Patrick was dazzled by the beautiful early spring blooms. Intense, colourful and wonderfully perfumed, he set out to recreate the unforgettable experience in the form of a cocktail, thus the Garden of Russia was born.. 

4. Daiquiri

Daiquiri Summer Cocktail

Whether it's frozen or shaken the classic Daiquiri cocktail is a simple, easy summer cocktail to make that's sweet, fresh and utterly irresistible! Loved by many all over the world, the Daiquiri is combined from just 3 simple ingredients, rum, citrus juice and sugar. 

Originating in Cuba in the 19th century, the Daiquiri was created when a survivor of a sinking US vessel washed ashore in a village called...Daiquiri. Of course, the first thing he did was find a local bar. Shipwrecks can really make a man thirsty! While rum was a little too strong to drink straight, he added a splash of lime juice and sugar to sweeten the deal. 

Whilst the Daiquiri remained a Cuban speciality, it was eventually brought over to the US where its popularity steadily increased. After a mention in F Scott Fitzgerald's book, This Side of Paradise, which was published in 1920, the delicious yet simple cocktail became a huge hit and still continues to be the summer cocktail of choice for many. 

5. Mojito

Mojito Summer Cocktail

As one of the most popular summer cocktails around the world, we're certain that everyone has tried, or at least heard of, the iconic Mojito! Combining white rum, lime juice, soda water and fresh mint, this traditional Cuban cocktail is the perfect balance of sweetness with a delightful fizz.

While the history of the Mojito is somewhat unknown, some tales suggest it was founded around the 1500s and was originally used for medicinal purposes to curb disease in Cuba. When pirates invaded Cuba, the drink was then introduced to Sir Francis Drake who switched the original ingredient of Cuban moonshine to rum, therefore creating the cocktail we all know and love today! 

Since then the Mojito has grown in popularity and was said to be the favourite drink of Ernest Hemingway. It's also featured in several movies such as Die Another Day, which sees Pierce Brosnan casually sipping on the refreshing drink at a bar, and Johnny Depp's The Rum Diary. 

6. Mai-Tai

Mai Tai Summer Cocktail

A real tropical delight, the Mai Tai is simply summer in a glass that will make you feel like you're in paradise! While there are many variations, the fresh and fruity concoction is primarily made with rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup, and lime juice. Some also like to include pineapple and orange juice to make it even more exotic. However you like to mix it, the Mai Tai is perfect for summer parties!

The Mai Tai was invented by Victor J. Bergeron and was said to be so popular in the 1940s and '50s that it depleted the world's rum supplies! Originally it was supposed to be a simple drink to showcase the flavour of a particular rum, however, after adding a few extra ingredients and shaking it with ice, Bergeron presented the cocktail to some of his Tahitian friends who immediately claimed it was the best drink they'd ever tasted! In fact, the word ‘maitaʻi’ in Tahitian means 'good' or 'excellence'.

In 1953 the cocktail made its way over to Hawaii where it is now a staple drink. It quickly became the symbol of a tropical paradise and is a bit of a tourist attraction. No Hawaiian trip would be complete without sipping on a wonderfully refreshing Mai Tai on the beach! 

7. Tequila Sunrise

Not only does the Tequila Sunrise look incredible in a glass, but its sweet fruity flavour makes it all the more appealing and is perfect to enjoy on the beach or by the pool. With the perfect blend of tequila, orange juice and grenadine syrup this cocktail got its name because the colour mimics that of a beautiful sunrise. 

The modern Tequila Sunrise was created in a bar in California by Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice in the 1970s. This bar was known for being a restaurant/music venue that catered to the rock 'n roll scene. One day, The Rolling Stones came in for a private party and the young bartenders made the Tequila Sunrise for Mick Jagger. He liked it so much he decided to take it with him on the famous 1972 tour. 

The star-studded cocktail soared in popularity amongst the rich and famous, with The Eagles even recording a song called 'Tequila Sunrise'. Evoking summer in a glass the Tequila Sunrise is still just as popular today with its quick, easy and refreshing recipe.

8. Pina Colada

Pina Colada Summer Cocktail

It's impossible to go on a beach holiday, feeling the sand between your toes and the ocean breeze rustling your hair, without indulging in a Pina Colada, the ultimate summer treat! A tropical blend of white rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice, the Pina Colada is tangy and sweet and often served with a little paper umbrella to complete the look.

There are a couple of stories of how the Pina Colada was born. With the earliest known tale stating that it was created in the 19th century by a Puerto Rican pirate to boost the morale of his crew. A few historians have disputed this claim, however, and the most widely believed story is that it was invented in 1945 by bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Both residents and tourists of Puerto Rico loved the drink so much that it was declared the official drink of the country in 1978. It then very quickly rose to fame in 1979 when the popular song 'Escape (The Pina Colada Song)’ became a global hit! Sing it with us now "If you like Pina Colada..."

Want to enjoy more cocktails this summer? Have a read of our 10 classic Italian cocktails for inspiration.

Build a box of cocktails featuring all the classics as well as our signature house cocktails!