Dangerously easy 3-ingredient summer cocktails

Summer is the perfect season to sit back, relax, and soak up the sunshine. But with all of that sunshine and relaxation, this warm season is also the ideal time to enjoy sipping on a refreshing cocktail or two.

Summer cocktails typically evoke feelings of being whisked away to beautiful island destinations or sitting by the pool, bringing plenty of light and fruity flavors into the mix. But what are you to do when you can't quite make it to a cabana on the beaches of Mexico or to a trendy poolside bar in the desert? You play bartender at home.

Luckily, there are plenty of summer cocktails that can be put together in minutes, and each only requires a few ingredients to pull it off. Sounds like a dream, right? Simple and delicious, these are the dangerously easy three-ingredient summer cocktail recipes you'll definitely want to have on hand for that mid-week pick-me-up.

Aperol Spritz

If you've ever tried an Aperol Spritz, then you know why it's considered the unofficial drink of summer. With its light, slightly bitter taste with a hint of sweet orange, Aperol is an Italian liqueur. It's typically enjoyed as an aperitif, meaning it's served before a meal to stimulate a person's appetite. Aperol also boasts the most stunning bright orange hue, making it ideal for Instagrammable summer moments.

Aperol came on the market in 1919, but it took a few years for the Aperol Spritz to make its claim to fame. The official recipe was born in the 1950s, immediately catching the attention of those looking for a light and refreshing summer sipper.

To make an Aperol Spritz, all you'll need is equal parts Aperol and your favorite Prosecco. Mix the two in a wine glass, or some other tall glassware, and add a splash of soda water on top for extra fizz. Add an orange wedge to finish it off.

Daiquiri

The blended daiquiri definitely has its own time and place, with its frothy texture and sugary taste. But the original daiquiri isn't quite the same, offering a lime-focused beverage in a simpler form.

The daiquiri started showing up on bar menus after an American engineer, Jennings Stockton Cox, came up with the concoction in the town of Daiquiri, Cuba in 1898. At the time, it was the simple mixture of rum, lime, and sugar that made a perfect beverage, and the recipe has lived on ever since.

This easy 3-ingredient cocktail recipe is light and refreshing and perfect for summer on the patio. Combine two ounces of white rum with one ounce of fresh lime juice and 1/2 ounce of simple syrup. Simple syrup can be bought at the store, or it can easily be made at home by combining one-part boiling water and one-part sugar and stirring until all of the sugar is dissolved. Add all of your ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake vigorously, strain, and serve your daiquiri up in a chilled glass with a wedge of lime.

Moscow Mule

Moscow Mules, served up in alluring copper mugs, are a summertime staple on any bar patio. But you can definitely make the same classic drink at home.

A traditional Moscow Mule is served in a copper mug all because of the way copper conducts temperature. It's the most conductive metal, so it keeps your drink colder for longer, creating an overall experience. Copper also has a unique way of interacting with the ingredients in the drink, leading way to an even fizzier drink, paired perfectly with a lime wedge.

Copper mugs are pretty simple to get your hands on if you want to make a Moscow Mule at home, but they're not a necessity for recreating this 3-ingredient cocktail. Sure, it helps with the experience, but making a mule in a glass will suffice. To make a Moscow Mule, add two ounces of vodka and 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice in a mug. If you're really a fan of lime, feel free to muddle (aka crush up) lime wedges on the bottom of your mug. Add a few ice cubes, and then top your bevvy with four ounces of ginger beer.

Tequila Sunrise

If there was ever a cocktail to capture the essence of summertime, it's the Tequila Sunrise. Debuting in the 1970s, the tequila sunrise got its claim to fame in California, and its popularity caught on when Mick Jagger began sipping on this summertime staple. 

The beauty of the Tequila Sunrise is definitely its gorgeous hue, mimicking a sunrise as the colors go from yellow to orange, but it's also one of the simplest cocktails to recreate. So, if you can't make it to the poolside bar, you can still whip up a gorgeous drink on your backyard patio instead. 

To make this easy 3-ingredient cocktail, grab a glass, add a few ice cubes, and then add two ounces of tequila and six ounces of orange juice. To create the sunrise effect, pour 3/4 ounce of grenadine on top of the mixture in the middle of the glass. The grenadine will rise slightly, creating the ombre sunset pattern the beverage got its name for. Add a cherry on top of your Tequila Sunrise for good measure.

Watermelon Margarita

Let's face it, sipping margaritas is pretty much perfect for any time of year, no matter the flavor, and can range from classic lime with salted rim margarita to strawberry, pineapple, and everything in between. But when it comes to summer, watermelon is the name of the game, and putting it in a margarita just makes sense.

Mentions of the margarita date back to 1938, pairing the unique flavors of tequila with lime juice and salt. Since then, it's transformed into the ideal summer beverage, offering customization options from adding sugar, orange liqueur, and serving it blended or on the rocks.

One of the simplest ways to make a margarita, amplifying it with the summer flavor of watermelon, is by combining the juice from a fresh watermelon with lime juice and tequila. Juice the watermelon in a juicer or add it to a blender to get the liquid. Combine two ounces of silver tequila, four ounces of watermelon juice, and two tablespoons of lime juice in a shaker. Shake with ice, grab a glass, and pour the 3-ingredient cocktail over ice.

Piña Colada

Is there any other drink that screams palm trees and white sandy beaches more than a piña colada? With the perfect blend of tropical flavors, it's not likely. 

The piña colada was born in Puerto Rico, boasting the most perfect blend of rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple. And while you'll often find a blended piña colada at a Mexican restaurant or a seaside bar, and the ingredients may seem a bit intimidating or too indulgent, you can easily make this paradise 3-ingredient cocktail all on your own at home. 

A piña colada can be made by either shaking it or blending the ingredients. Add two ounces of white rum, two ounces of pineapple juice, and one ounce of cream of coconut into a shaker or blender. Shake or blend with ice until frothed and pour into a glass. Feel free to add a mini umbrella or a wedge of pineapple to make it extra special.

Sea Breeze

We've all heard of a Vodka-Cranberry — the simple mixture of vodka and cranberry juice is a go-to for many at the bar. But changing up that simple recipe with just one more ingredient can elevate the cocktail and even change its name entirely.

The Sea Breeze cocktail has been around for decades, and even with its sheer simplicity, it produces a gorgeous hue. It's incredibly refreshing for a hot summer day, and really, pretty crushable for an afternoon on the beach.

To make a Sea Breeze, all you'll need is vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice. Grab a glass and fill it with ice. Pour in two ounces of vodka, three ounces of cranberry juice, and one ounce of grapefruit juice. Stir your drink, and add a fresh lime or grapefruit slice to top it off. This is also a great 3-ingredient cocktail that can be made as a batch, offering the option to multiply the measurements and serving it up in a punch bowl for a party.

Gimlet

The Gimlet might just be one of the simplest 3-ingredient cocktails on the bar, and it certainly has a fascinating history. The drink first debuted in Raymond Chandler's novel, The Long Goodbye, which published in Europe in 1953 and made its way to the U.S. in 1954. Two characters in the book sit and sip Gimlets in a bar, noting that the bartender didn't know how to make them correctly, leading way into listing off the recipe ingredients.

Since its literary debut, the drink has caught on, serving as the ideal sipper for any season. But of course, when summer comes along and you're looking for something refreshing with a splash of lime, it makes for a great addition to a warm afternoon.

To make a Gimlet, all you need is good gin, fresh limes, and simple syrup. Add two ounces of gin, 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, and 1/2 ounce of simple syrup into a shaker with ice. Shake it, strain it, and serve your cocktail with a lime wedge.

Raspberry Gin and Tonic

We know, a Gin and Tonic is definitely an all-year-round cocktail. But let's face it, they're perfect for easy sipping on a summer day, especially with a spritz of fruit such as lime or lemon. But what if you switched up the fruit component to totally change the flavor?

Gin and Tonics have been around since the 19th century. At the time, quinine, found in cinchona bark, was recognized to have healing and preventative properties in the fight against malaria. Schweppes harnessed the bark's powers into an easy to drink soda, and eventually, tonic was paired with gin to compliment the flavor. Winston Churchill played a role in making this concoction so popular after he was quoted touting the drink's ability to save the lives of Englishmen, and people were encouraged to enjoy it daily.

To make this summery 3-ingredient cocktail, start off by muddling raspberries in the bottom of a glass and then add ice cubes. Add two ounces of a good gin and four ounces of tonic water on top. Give it a gentle stir to combine.

Creamsicle Screwdriver

Aside from a gin and tonic, or a whiskey and coke, a Screwdriver is amongst the simplest of drink orders at the bar. The Screwdriver, a simple mixture of orange juice and vodka, was mentioned in a 1949 edition of Time Magazine as the latest Yankee concoction at the time, and it's certainly held strong ever since.

And while you can definitely order this drink at any bar, you can also easily make a Screwdriver at home during any season. But what if you switched up the classic plain vodka to elevate it for summer?

To mix this summer-inspired drink, simply add two ounces vanilla or whipped cream vodka to a glass, top it with six ounces of orange juice, and add a few ice cubes. The vanilla in the vodka will shine through, adding a creaminess to the acidity of the orange juice, making a balance reminiscent of an orange creamsicle.

Lemon Drop

Martinis are an absolute classic cocktail, served up in a stemmed glass, evoking a sense of elegance. And while a good martini can be enjoyed year-round, when it comes to summer, it's all about the citrus.

The Lemon Drop Martini has been around since the 1970s. Debuting in California, the lemon drop is jampacked with fresh citrus flavor, accompanied by a punch of sugar. The drink was first made in a bar called Henry Africa's in San Francisco, and the recipe has caught on ever since. Sweet, with a bit of a sour pucker, lemon drops mask the flavor of alcohol, and quite frankly, they really do taste like lemon drop candies. And while the traditional recipe calls for vodka, triple sec, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice, there's a simple way to make this delicious drink with three ingredients. 

Add two ounces of citrus vodka, two ounces of limoncello, and two ounces of lemonade to a shaker with ice. Shake the mixture well, and then pour into a glass over ice. If you really want to up the ante of this easy 3-ingredient cocktail, serve it bar-style and prep your glass ahead of time before pouring. Using a slice of lemon, rub the rim of the glass, and then dip it in sugar to get that classic lemon drop look and taste.

Vodka Sunrise

Part of choosing summer cocktails may boil down to the cocktail's ability for easy sipping. For some, choosing tequila or rum can feel a bit heavy for a summer drink, especially if you plan to enjoy a few drinks while relaxing poolside or on the beach.

That's where the beauty of vodka comes in. The first vodka distillery dates back to 1174, making it pretty obvious that we've been enjoying this distilled beverage for a very long time. It's an easy liquor to shoot straight — if you're choosing high-quality options — and it now comes in a huge variety of flavors. Vodka is also the perfect base to pair with any mixers, especially when you want to swap it for something else.

The Vodka Sunrise takes the Tequila Sunrise cocktail and lightens it up a little bit. It's a great option for those who just can't stomach tequila. To make a Vodka Sunrise, add ice cubes to a glass, and pour two ounces of vodka and six ounces of orange juice on top. Pour 3/4 ounces of grenadine over the top of the mixture in the middle of the glass to create the sunrise effect for a beautiful summer cocktail.

Vodka Berry Smash

Summertime cocktails can really be anything you want, and with so many choices for fresh, in-season produce, the options can truly be endless. Most cocktail recipes allow you to swap a fruit component to completely change the flavor, or you can opt to make fresh summer berries the star of the show.

Summer is the season for fresh berry picking, so if you have blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries needing to be used up, this 3-ingredient cocktail is the perfect way to do it.

To make a Vodka Berry Smash, add berries to a glass and smash, or muddle, them until the berries are broken up and the juices are released. Feel free to opt for one type of berry, or add a mixture. Pour two ounces of vodka on top of the crushed berries, and top with four ounces of lemon-lime soda. This is the ideal combination of fresh berries with a splash of sweetness for summertime sipping.

Lavender Vodka Lemonade

Summer is certainly the season for lavender. And while we tend to think about lavender for its popular uses in skincare products, essential oils, or even teas, lavender is also the perfect addition to a light, summery cocktail. 

Lavender's sweet floral scent is often used as a calming agent when it comes to anxiety or to improve sleep, but it has been known to have anti-inflammatory properties and help with pain relief too. It's a gem of an herb and truly offers the most stunning purple hue. 

To harness the power and beauty of lavender in a cocktail, just add fresh lemon. The citrus of the lemon cuts through the strong floral notes of the lavender to create balance. To make a Lavender Vodka Lemonade cocktail, add two small sprigs of washed lavender to a cocktail shaker. Add in two ounces of vodka and four ounces of lemonade and shake with ice. Pour the mixture into a glass over ice, and garnish with a sprig of lavender for a gorgeous 3-ingredient summer cocktail.