5 Easy Summer Cocktails You Should Be Drinking

Looking for easy summer cocktails? We have your list right here. Take it from our in-house cocktail whisperer – Ellyn Cook! Ellyn has helped us find the perfect summer recipes to up your cocktail game. Get started on these refreshing takes on classic cocktails.

Cucumber Gin



  • 2 oz Gin
  • 2 cucumber ribbons
  • 1 lime
  • 2 oz tonic
  • Garnish with Cucumber and Lime wheel

There has been a debate going around about what to garnish a Gin and Tonic with. Lime has been the garnish of choice until recently. Cucumber has been taking over as the new go to fresh and flavorful addition to this classic cocktail. Why you ask? Many gins (Hendricks most notably) have distilled their gin with not only botanicals, but cucumber as well. The addition of cucumber brings out the best flavors.

  • Take one cucumber ribbon and a half of squeezed lime and muddle.
  • Add two ounces of your favorite gin (we are going local with CH gin).
  • Shake.
  • Strain into glass and top with ice and tonic.
  • Garnish with a cucumber ribbon and lime wheel. Enjoy!


Recommended local spot: CH Distillery

Not only do they distill their own Gin, but they have a house made tonic to serve with it!


Spiked Arnold Palmer

You are going to need some friends for this one!


  • 8 Green tea bags
  • 1 cup basil simple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (roughly 8 lemons)
  • 1 ½ cups of Vodka
  • Basil leaves and lemon rinds to garnish

The perfect afternoon patio pounder. Let’s get started with the prep work:


  • Boil 5 cups of water and pour into heat resistance pitcher and throw in 8 bags of green tea. Let brew for 10 minutes and remove bags. Let chill. Use half of the tea mixture to make green tea ice cubes. Perfect way to not water down your drink!


Basil Simple syrup

  • Boil 1 cup of water. Once boiling – turn the heat off –
  • Add 1 cup of sugar.
  • Good handful of basil.
  • Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Strain basil and set aside to chill.


Now the fun stuff. Grab a pitcher and get to mixing!

  • Add 2.5 cups of chilled tea
  • 5 cups of cold water
  • 5 cup vodka
  • 1 cup of basil simple syrup
  • 1 cup lemon juice


Garnish each glass with a lemon ribbon and a basil leaf – drink up!


Recommended local spot: CINDY’S ROOFTOP

Known for their unbeatable views of Millennium Park and out of this world cocktails. Featured on their menu are Jasmine Pearl Tea, lavender, and Kombucha – a tea and floral lover’s dream.


Ginger Peach Mule

This is a great one to have some fun and put some love into your drink. Let’s start by making your own ginger beer if you are up to it (feel free to buy it as well).

Making ginger beer can be a simple process (people love to make their own spice blend as well), but it boils down to making ginger simple syrup and adding lime juice and club soda!


  • Finely chop and muddled ginger (about 10 inches).
  • Zest two limes.
  • Add 3 Sprigs of Rosemary.
  • Add to 3 cups boiling water (off the heat).
  • Add 2 cups sugar – stir until dissolved and leave overnight and strain the next day.



  • Muddle two peach wedges in a copper mug.
  • Add 1 oz ginger syrup.
  • Add 1 oz of lime juice.
  • Add 2 oz of vodka.
  • Top with 4 oz club soda.
  • If you didn’t have time to make your own ginger beer, there are more than enough delicious ones out there.
  • Muddle two peaches.
  • Add .5 oz of lime juice.
  • Add 2 oz vodka.
  • Top with ginger beer – Enjoy!
  • Garnish with rosemary and (if you are feeling fancy – grilled) Peaches!

Recommended local spot: ADA STREET

Their craft cocktails and infusions are out of this world. Known for taking chances on new flavors and liquors combination. DMK group is also one of the first places I tried (and brewed) Homemade ginger beer and I was hooked. The cocktails and atmosphere won’t disappoint.


Greyhound Pop-TAILS

This might be the easiest summer cocktail listed yet! But so refreshing!

  • 6 Cups fresh squeezed Grapefruit
  • 6 cups fresh squeezed Orange Juice
  • 8 oz Vodka
  • 2 whole grapefruit segmented
  • 2 whole oranges segmented

Place segments in popsicle molds and pour mixture over. Freeze!

Recommended local spot:


Not too often do you see a popsicle on the menu, but Nacional 27 does not disappoint! Dance the night away and cool off with a Boozy Paleta!


Watermelon Sangria

  • 1.5 oz watermelon Juice
  • 1.5 oz Lemonade
  • .5 oz Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz Mint Simple
  • .5 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Prosecco

Let’s start with prep work. You can either buy fresh squeezed watermelon juice or feel free to puree yourself (blend watermelon + strain). Make mint simple syrup (see Strawberry Margarita).

Now the fun part!

First step: Add puree, lemonade, lemon juice and mint syrup with a half ounce of vodka. Stir. Top with Prosecco. Garnish + enjoy!

Recommended local spot: CAFE BA-BA-REEBA!

Love sangria? Check out Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! For their authentic Spanish sangrias with delicious tapas.



Strawberry Basil Margarita

Step by step instructions to make your own margarita!

Want a way to up your cocktail game without spending a ton of money on liquor? Infusion simple syrups are here and they might be the easiest thing you’ve ever made. The best part? The sky is the limit. Here is the base equation along with great substitutions to get you started on your way!

Take equal parts boiling water and sugar for the base. Stir until dissolved. Throw in herbs to make flavored syrups! Some of my favorites:

  • Rosemary (pairs great with Grapefruit)
  • Thyme (Delicious with Lemon)
  • Basil (Strawberries)
  • Mint (Watermelon)
  • Jalapeno (Pineapple)
  • Sage (Peaches)

For the purees – feel free to pick them up from a local juice bar or grocery store or do it yourself!

Add a cup of strawberries to a blender and add ½ cup of water (note that some fruit will contain more juice, add water as needed to ensure the best puree) Strain or leave in for texture.

Use the recipe for our Strawberry Basil Margarita and swap out your own combinations!

  • 2 oz Tequila
  • .5 oz Basil Simple syrup
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 2 oz Strawberry puree
  • Strawberry and basil leaf to garnish!


Some fruits tend to be sweeter – so less is more is always a good bet when trying your own combinations. A good rule of thumb is the acidity and sweetness should be balance. If one is screaming out add a little of the other to balance.



Location in Logan Square, they know all about funky flavors and awesome cocktails set around a triangle shaped bar. Best part? Dogs allowed.


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