Summertime Happy Hour: A Cocktail for Every Palate


I don’t know about you, but the warmer weather and longer days have me longing for afternoons on the back patio, sipping adult beverages. To me, there is nothing more relaxing than my after-work cocktail. It allows me time to catch up on the day with my husband and soak up the warmth of the day while the kids giggle and run in the yard.

I’m generally a vodka and tonic gal, occasionally sipping white wine. This summer, I decided to step up my game and change my repertoire. In the mood for adventure, I invited some girlfriends (and their husbands) over try some new recipes that are perfect for an al fresco summer evening.

These are our favorites:

Colorado Sour

Makes two

  • 6 oz. Whiskey (your preference)
  • 1 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz. maple syrup
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Combine whiskey, lemon juice and maple syrup into a shaker. Light the rosemary on fire and add it, smoking end up, to the shaker and immediately seal your shaker. Let the smoke infuse the drink for about 30 seconds. Fill the shaker with ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain and serve over ice.

This drink was universally the favorite. It’s really just a whiskey sour, but the addition of maple syrup adds sweetness and the infusion of rosemary smoke is remininsent of summer nights sitting out by a fire. 

The Pollinator

Makes one

  • 2 oz. of Tequila
  • 1 oz. of honey syrup (recipe below)
  • ¾ oz. of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 dashes of bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds. Strain and serve in a lowball glass over ice.

Honey Syrup

Combine equal parts honey and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer while stirring. Let cool and store in an airtight jar in your refrigerator.

If you like margaritas, but the sour mix doesn’t sit well with you, try this tequila alternative. It’s sweet and refreshing! 

Fizzy Paloma

Makes two

  • 3 oz. Tequila
  • 3 oz. Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 oz. Simple Syrup
  • Club Soda

Combine tequila, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice.  Shake 15 seconds. Strain and serve in a highball glass over ice. Top with club soda to fill to the top.

I love grapefruit juice and adding the club soda makes this drink perfect for a warm summer afternoon!

Purple Haze

Makes 1 gallon

  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 cups cranberry juice (I used light)
  • 1 cup blue curacao
  • Club soda

Combine vodka, cranberry juice, blue curacao in a 1-gallon pitcher and stir. Fill with club soda and pour over ice.

We all thought this drink tastes like a grape popsicle and goes down very easily. The addition of the club soda helps, so you don’t drink too much too fast!

Summer Daiquiri

Makes two

  • 2 slices watermelon
  • 5 oz. white rum
  • 1.5 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup

Muddle the watermelon and simple syrup in a shaker. Add ice, rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake 15 seconds. Strain and serve. 

This is really just a traditional (non-frozen) daiquiri with the watermelon added to mellow the strong flavors. You could add any fruit you wish and still have an excellent tasting cocktail! 

I hope you’ll try some of these fun recipes and discover a new go-to summer cocktail! Cheers!! 

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Dana has lived in Colorado for the last 17 years. She met her husband, Ben, in Boulder and they made the move to Colorado Springs. Together, they are busy raising two children. Dana is the Director of Meeting the Challenge, Inc., a national disability compliance consulting firm. She is an active community volunteer and has served several boards. When she is not working, Dana can be found cheering on her son and daughter's travel hockey teams at area ice rinks. She enjoys spending time hiking in the mountains with her Vizsla, raising backyard chickens, and cheering on her Alma Mater's Michigan State Spartans!