Flavorful Cocktails for Summer

Drew Limsky, ReserveBar Contributor


Summer is the season when people who don’t typically enjoy stronger spirits want to join in the fun too. Even if you tend to have a more spirit forward cocktail in-hand or something simply on the rocks, the hotter months are a perfect time to venture into lighter drinks that offer something sweet and colorful to imbibe. Rum, which can drink more easily than most spirits, is a mainstay of both punch-like and blended drinks. Here are some ideas for how to mix up your summertime.


The origins of many iconic cocktails have been lost to history, but for some libations, the stories have endured. Several were born in hotel bars—for example, the Singapore Sling was invented at the Raffles Hotel, Singapore. A bit closer to home, the Blue Hawaiin came into the world in 1957 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, when barkeep Harry Yee devised the initial pour of rum, Blue Curaçao liqueur (to provide the distinctive color) and pineapple juice (as a nod to the Hawaiian version of pineapple—sweet and golden, with little acidity). It’s the perfect festive vacation drink. Sip on some sunshine with Empress 1908 Gin's Royal Hawaiian recipe.


Pineapple juice also makes a tropical appearance in this sweet standard—the quintessential poolside cocktail—which also contains white rum and coconut cream, the latter delivering the drink’s dessert-like quality. Whether on the rocks or blended, the Piña Colada is the official cocktail of Puerto Rico, even if its origin on the island remains in dispute. Most cite the Caribe Hilton Hotel (the first Hilton outside the continental U.S.) as the birthplace. Make summer's ultimate poolside cocktail with Blue Chair Bay Rum's Ultimate Piña Colada recipe.


The official drink of every tiki bar on the planet, the Mai Tai (Tahitian for “good”) was invented during World War II, at Trader Vic’s in Oakland, CA, during the period when GI’s were returning to the States with intriguing tales of the Sout Pacific. Fashioned from rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup and orange liqueur, the Mai Tai represents the mid-century fascination with exoticism, and endures at resorts and pool parties. Get tiki this summer with Appleton Estate's Mai Tai recipe.


If you ever find yourself at the seaside Rick’s Café in Negril, you must do two things: find a good spot to marvel at the fearless cliff-divers—and order up a Jamaican Rum Punch. It simple enough to make at home: pineapple juice, orange juice, Bacardi, dark rum, grenadine, coconut-flavored rum and lime juice. Add a slice of lime and an orange slice and you’re practically hearing the breeze slice through the palm fronds. For a rum that packs a mean punch, check out Mount Gay's Rum Punch recipe.


If you are looking for more flavors to enjoy poolside or share with friends, get to know these other unique and colorful cocktail recipes. Explore all our cocktail recipes.

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