Five Beach-Ready Cocktails
Here’s your chance to grab those sunglasses and enjoy the best of beach life, even if your toes are far from the sand. Sourced from resorts and seaside cities around the world, these cocktails make the most of abundant sun and surf. From a frozen rum delight to a cucumber-accented coupe, they’re ideal to sip while you soak in the rays, relax with friends after dark or just dream of your next beachy getaway.
What makes an ideal summer cocktail? Bartenders gravitate toward crisp, often unaged spirits like vodka, mezcal, white rum and gin, accented by plenty of fresh fruit and colorful, eye-catching presentations. Other rum styles also take prominence, like spiced selections or aged bottlings with gentle brown-sugar tones. These concoctions are perfect to enjoy by the shore, lake, pool or wherever else summer happens to lead you.
Jump Straight to a Recipe
Courtesy Nico de Soto, for Experimental Beach, Ibiza, Spain
Rays all day, rage all night—that’s how Spain’s notorious party island rolls. Ibiza is known for its boho-glam vibe, and boasts plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants that exude an upscale feel alongside trendy food and drink offerings.
This cucumber-spiked cocktail from Experimental Beach, part of the Experimental Cocktail Club empire that extends to Paris and London, is a perfect example. An egg-white drink may seem like an unusual summer choice, but it gives luxurious froth to this cooling, sophisticated sipper, especially ideal as a sundowner.
- 1½ ounces Hendrick’s Gin
- ¾ ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- ¾ ounces lime juice
- 1 teaspoon cucumber juice
- 1 egg white
- Cucumber slice, for garnish
In cocktail shaker, add all ingredients. Shake to froth egg whites. Scoop in ice, and shake again to chill. Strain into coupe glass, and garnish with cucumber.
Courtesy José Cárdenas, bartender, Ketsi, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico
Just northwest of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, the Punta Mita peninsula is known for white-sand beaches, surf culture and snorkel-worthy marine life. In fact, undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau famously launched a movement to protect the nearby Marietas Islands back in the 1960s. Agave-based spirits like Tequila and mezcal are, of course, the thing to drink when in Mexico, and this cocktail is mixed accordingly: Mezcal is combined with plenty of fresh guava in a chili pepper-spiced glass rim.
This popular seasoning is a mix of ground dried red chili peppers, dehydrated lime juice and sea salt. In Mexico, a bit of Tajin is often sprinkled on fresh fruit for an extra citrusy zing.
- Tajin Seasoning, to rim glass (optional)
- Lime wedge, to rim glass (optional)
- 1 cup guava, diced
- 5 mint leaves
- 1½ ounces mezcal
- ½ ounce Aperol
- ½ ounce agave nectar
- 1 ounce lime juice
- Lime wheel, for garnish
If using, pour seasoning into shallow dish. Rub lime wedge around rim of mason jar or rocks glass to moisten, then roll outer edge of glass in powder to coat. Set aside.
Place guava and mint in cocktail shaker. Gently crush fruit with muddler or wooden spoon to extract juices. Add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake well, strain into glass over large piece of ice and garnish with lime wheel.
The Blue Hawaii was created in 1957 by Waikiki bartender Harry Yee, when a sales rep for Dutch distiller Bols asked him to design a cocktail that featured its Blue Curaçao liqueur. (Yee also popularized tiny umbrellas in drinks.) So it only makes sense to sip a reimagined version while in Waikiki. Whether you enjoy the original recipe or this riff, “you should be able to hold the drink up against the ocean in the distance, and both should be the same shade of deep blue,” says Joey Gottesman, CSS, spirit specialist and mixologist for Young’s Market Company.
- ¾ ounce PAU Maui Vodka
- ¾ ounce Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
- 1 ounce Bols Blue Curaçao
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- 1 lemon wedge
- Pineapple wedge and cherry, for garnish
In cocktail shaker, combine spirits and pineapple juice. Squeeze lemon wedge into shaker, then drop in wedge. Scoop in ice. Shake to combine, then pour contents (including ice and lemon wedge) into your favorite tiki tumbler, poco grande or hurricane glass. Add ice to fill glass. Garnish with pineapple wedge, cherry and a parasol.
Adapted from Rock Bar at the Villas, AYANA Resort and Spa, Bali, Indonesia
Beloved for lush jungles, waterfalls, volcanic mountains, striking temples and meditation retreats, Bali is also known for arak, a white spirit similar to rum. This riff on the classic Caipirissima, typically a white rum-based cocktail muddled with lime and mint, adds arak, lime leaf and ginger for a distinctly Asian accent.
Not to be confused with arrack, an anise-flavored spirit popular in some Middle Eastern countries, arak from Indonesia is distilled from coconut palm sap or other raw materials like rice, coconut milk or sugarcane. Some liken fiery, homebrewed versions to moonshine, but upscale bars and resorts tend to employ arak suitable to mix with abundant tropical fruit into cocktails. Bali’s arak is often hard to find in the U.S.
- 3 lime wedges
- 1 ounce arak or white rum
- 1 ounce aged rum
- 1 tablespoon tangerine marmalade
- 2½ ounces ginger ale, or more to taste
- Wild lime leaves, for garnish
Squeeze 2 lime wedges into cocktail shaker. Add arak, rum, marmalade and ice. Shake well, then strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with remaining lime wedges and leaves.
Courtesy Tyler Beckstead, co-owner, The Longboard, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
The smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John’s is known for the pristine national parkland that occupies two-thirds of its surface. There’s also great diving to take in the abundant sea life around its neighboring coral reefs. While St. John isn’t recognized for rum production, it’s still an excellent place to indulge in a frosty rum drink like this blended version of the classic Painkiller.
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 ounces cream of coconut
- 2 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 4 ounces Pusser’s Rum
- Fresh-grated nutmeg, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1½ cups ice. Purée until smooth. Pour into highball glass. Garnish with nutmeg and serve with straw.
- 1The St-Germain des Pres Cocktail
- 2Xamán Cocktail Recipe
- 3The Blue Hawaii Cocktail Recipe
- 4The Jimbaran Caipirissima Cocktail
- 5The Frozen Painkiller Cocktail