The best thing to have in your arsenal after a sweltering day working in the yard are a few delicious summer cocktails. I love to have cocktail parties on my deck and look forward to the party season every year!

A  few of summer cocktail tips:

If you have herbs growing in your garden, planted in a few pots on your deck, or even bought at your weekly farmer’s market – use them liberally. Fresh herbs really make a drink special. Go beyond the typical mint and boldly try rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon, lemon verbena, even cilantro.

Take advantage of berry season. There is nothing more decadent than a perfectly ripe berry in your sunny summer cocktail. Try mixing fresh fruit and fruit infused liquors. If you are feeling adventurous go ahead and infuse some of your own vodka or gin, even make some limoncello or a rhubarb cordial.

Try making a few of your own creations. Muddle your favorite fruit in a glass with your favorite fresh herb. Add simple syrup, fruit juice, or other sweet mixer. Squeeze some citrus in it if you like. Top with whatever spirit you have on hand. Pour over ice in a glass or put in a shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a piece of fruit, a sprig of the herb, or a fancy umbrella or candy-colored mermaid.

I love a blackberry smash which uses the formula above with blackberries, mint, lime juice, simple syrup, bourbon and a spritz of soda water. It’s so good that it’s better go light on the gin so you can have more of them!

Wine Based Cocktails

Traditional Drinks (Some with a Twist)

Tiki, Tropical and Frozen Drinks

Popsicles with a Kick

Mocktails