Perfect Memorial Day Pitcher Cocktails

Kick off your summer with these fuss-free and tasty cocktail recipes.

The key to maximizing the Memorial Day weekend is to minimize the time you spend mixing drinks in the kitchen. Pitcher cocktails are crowd pleasers, and because they’re easy to make, you’ll have more time to spend more basking in the sun.


Recipe courtesy Dan Long, bartender at The Tasting Kitchen in Venice, California

2 Ruby Red grapefruits
1 (750-ml) bottle of el Jimador Tequila Blanco
10 ounces fresh lemon juice
7 ounces grenadine
4 (12-ounce) bottles of Corona Beer

Using a vegetable peeler, remove long strips of skin from the Ruby Red grapefruits. Set aside the peels and discard the grapefruits. Pour the Tequila, lemon juice and grenadine into a 100-ounce glass pitcher. Add ice. Top with the beer. Holding the grapefruit peel over the surface of the drink with the pith side facing you, quickly squeeze the edges of the peel towards the drink to release the citrus oils. Repeat with the remaining peels, reserving the spent peels to use as a garnish. Stir the mixture with a non-reactive spoon. Rub the reserved grapefruit peel around the rim of a Collins glass, fill the glass with the cocktail and garnish with a grapefruit peel. Serves 12–16.

Posto 12 Piña Colada

Recipe courtesy Aisha Sharpe, cofounder and cocktail consultant of Contemporary Cocktails INC, New York City

15 ounces Leblon Cachaça
10 ounces pineapple juice
15 ounces coconut water
5 ounces fresh lime juice
5 ounces simple syrup
Star fruit and pineapple, for garnish

Pour the Leblon Cachaça, pineapple juice, coconut water, lime juice and simple syrup into a 60-ounce glass pitcher. Add ice and stir with a non-reactive spoon. Pour the cocktail into tall Collins glasses. Garnish the drinks with star fruit and pineapple. Serves 10.

Whiskey Americano

Recipe courtesy Joe Raya, bartender/owner of The Gin Joint in Charleston, South Carolina

Zest of 2 lemons
4 ounces sugar
8 ounces Aperol
18 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
3 ounces fresh lemon juice
12 ounces water
Lemon slices, for garnish

Combine the lemon zest and sugar in a sturdy glass bowl and muddle well to extract the oils. Transfer the mixture to a small pitcher and add the Aperol, whiskey, lemon juice and water. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Fill a highball glass with crushed ice and fill with the cocktail. Garnish with lemon slices. Serves 8–12.

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