17 Things That’ll Help You Make Delicious Summertime Cocktails
Get ready for the best sangria, frozen margaritas, and mocktails.
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1. A sampler pack of canned drink mixers perfect for enjoying with your favorite spirits (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic) or by themselves as a refreshing on-the-go beverage.
This set comes with three of each of the following flavors: Jalapeño & Blood Orange, Ginger, Hibiscus & Pomegranate, Grapefruit & Pomelo, and Yuzu & Lime.
Promising review: "I did not expect to be blown away by canned mixers, yet here I am! Avec's drinks taste so fresh, it's hard NOT to make that 'ahhhh' sound you do after you have a tasty beverage after every single sip. Their flavors are classic, but all have a fun, modern twist. For example, I expected their 'Ginger' flavor to remind me of normal ginger beer, but inspired by Jamaican Ginger Beer, they combined ginger with pineapple juice, lime, and all-spice to make a perfect drink that blows run of the mill, sickly sweet, bottled ginger beer out of the water.
I tried The Sampler and loved every single flavor. Avec is lightly carbonated, lightly sweet, and every flavor truly tastes so thoughtful. I actually don't drink anymore, but I consider myself a nonalcoholic cocktail connoisseur, and combining Avec with my favorite NA spirits like Monday gin, Ritual tequila, or any Lyre's flavor has never NOT been a home run. I haven't always been alcohol-free though, so I can also confidently say these would make equally incredible mixers for actual spirits. If you're looking to up your at-home cocktail game without busting out the juicer and making a ton of extra work for yourself, Avec is for you.
Avec is a Black woman-founded business specializing in making mixers, and thereby your cocktails, packed with real juice and natural botanicals. The sampler comes with three of each of the following flavors: Jalapeño and Lime, Ginger, Hibiscus and Pomegranate, Grapefruit and Pomelo, and Yuzu and Lime." —Rachel Dunkel, BuzzFeed Editor
Get The Sampler pack from Avec for $45.
2. Cocktail drink bombs you simply add to your favorite alcohol or carbonated bevvie — then watch in amazement as it transform it into a fancy schmancy cocktail.
This set comes with the following flavors: Margarita, Piña Colada, Cosmo, Lavender Lush, Prosecco Rose, and Hangover. My Drink Bomb is a woman-owned small business based in Houston, Texas.
Promising review: "Love these. I got them for my mom for Christmas and they look so cool and cute. They also come with a little card that says which alcohol you should use certain bombs with which is super helpful!" —Sam P
3. Edible glitter so you can take your cocktails to a whole new level of fabulous. When you're not using this in drinks, you can use it in baked goods, nonalcoholic beverages, and anything else that could use some sparkle. Hint: everything.
Promising review: "I'm such a sucker for weird/fun finds online. I impulse-bought this the very first time I saw it and, ugh, I adore it. It is such an unnecessarily silly thing *and yet* it really has made for some fun, spruced up, sips. It has no taste, lasts forever (you need very little per cup), and it'll certainly brighten up a boring drink." — Mal Mower, BuzzFeed Editor
Get it from Amazon for $9.59 (available in various other glitter colors).
4. Assorted bottled mocktails perfect for sipping by the pool, at the beach, and on the go. Plus, they come in mouthwatering (and very punny) flavors like Sansgria and Mockarita.
Comes with three of each of the following flavors: Mockapolitan, Mockarita, Sansgria, and Mockscow Mule.
Promising review: "Delicious! I find them a tad sweet so sometimes I add a little seltzer. A great non-alcoholic alternative that tastes fancier than just a soda water! Love the sangria flavor!" —Amazon Customer
Get a pack of 12 from Amazon for $29.99.
5. A citrus and petals cocktail sugar to help upgrade your glass. Salt? No thank you. Regular sugar? Eh boring. This stuff? Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before.
Promising review: "I recently started putting this on my end-of-the-week whiskey drink (quarantine has made me go full Mad Men, who knew!!) and it is SO darn satisfying. I tried the citrus petals version, and it's got a light lemon, faint floral, and vaguely minty taste with its sweetness that just makes the whole experience a delight and a half. The container it comes in is actually quite wide, so what we did was pour lemon juice on the top half to prep the rim, and a bit of sugar in the bottom half to coat it. In other news, I am officially too fancy to exist." —Emma Lord, BuzzFeed Editor
Get it from Amazon for $6.99 (available in nine flavors).
6. A bar book that's chock-full of useful info on classic cocktails, new recipe ideas, barware, and tips and tricks when it comes to mixing the perfect drinks.
Promising review: "A very comprehensive book with tons of recipes for every alcohol type. I loved it so much that I bought one for an office white elephant and it was stolen multiple times! I also used it to help my friends find their signature drink for an upcoming wedding. The groom wanted ONLY whiskey drinks but the bride doesn't like whiskey. We managed to find a drink they both liked by testing out all the whiskey drinks!" —Helen Brown
Get it from Amazon for $15.69.
7. A frozen drink maker so you can whip up not one, not two, but THREE refreshing cocktails at the same time. Margaritas, daiquiris, coladas — I'll take one of each.
Promising review: "I'll have to give this blender an extra star for the cool factor. We love to have friends over and make frozen drinks. We enjoy watching friends' reactions as the blender automatically shaves the ice, then rotates to the next pitcher, and blends the various drinks. I was also impressed with the blender's looks and construction. No cheap plastic here. It's beautiful and heavy-duty. Well worth the price. It looks great on our counter." —Gerald E. Paradise Jr.
Get it from Amazon for $399.99.
8. A cocktail kit sampler pack to help you create delicious (and beautifully garnished) cocktails. All you'll need to add is alcohol and water!
9. A bar tool set complete with the essentials to concoct all of the wonderful drink recipes you've been saving on Pinterest.
This set comes with a shaker, a spiral bar spoon, a muddler, two jiggers, a corkscrew, ice tongs, a hawthorne strainer, and two liquor pourers.
Promising review: "I got this for my husband's birthday along with a cocktail recipe book and he hasn’t gone more than two days without using it! It’s amazing, easy to clean, and looks decorative if you want to leave it out. I love that it has the box with all of the holes to store each item, I hate having things rolling around in my drawers." —Krystle Mountjoy
Get the 11-piece set from Amazon for $69.99+ (available in two colors).
10. Cocktail gummies so you can garnish your beautiful summertime creations with the most fun candy to ever exist.
This Summer Lovin'-themed box contains two of each of the following flavors: Pineapple Bellini garnished with Pineapple Sugar, Berry Daiquiri garnished with Mixed Pepper Sugar (my personal favorite), Spicy Margarita garnished with Chili Sugar, Pina Colada garnished with Banana & Cinnamon Sugar, and Raspberry Collins garnished with Cherry Sugar.
I got to try out these Smith & Sinclair cocktail gummies last year and let me tell you... they are AWESOME. The flavors are absolutely delicious. At the start of quarantine, my family and I got really into making all sorts of fun cocktails and garnishing our drinks with these gummies was always extra fun. And of course, you can just eat them by themselves, too. Just beware that these do actually contain alcohol!
Get a box of 10 gummies from Smith & Sinclair for $25.
11. An on-the-go cocktail kit because traveling shouldn't stop you from channeling your inner mixologist. Just add your favorite liquor and you're good to go!
This set comes with four cocktail kits in each of the following varieties: Moscow Mule, Gin & Tonic, Old Fashioned, and Champagne Cocktail.
Promising review: "These are a great, imaginative idea for gifts. The kits include everything you could think of, except the glass and the booze!" —Lynne S.
Get the four-piece kit from Amazon for $69.99.
12. A bottle of nonalcoholic tequila for those who want to enjoy their favorite cocktail sans alcohol, but still crave that tequila taste.
Promising review: "I stopped drinking a few years ago, but I've really missed fixing a lil' cocktail at the end of the day. With Ritual, cocktail hour is back, baby! Ritual's tequila has the spicy-smoky factor that makes mezcal so excellent. Having a mocktail that doesn't just taste like juice? Heaven." —Rachel Dunkel, BuzzFeed Editor
Get it from Amazon for $28.99.
13. A set of all natural cocktail mixers that'll yield about 16 fruit-flavored drinks. It comes with a handy recipe card so you can re-create the recommended drinks using your own liquor and citrus juice *or* you can get creative and come up with your own unique ideas!
When placing your order, list which four of the eight available flavors you'd like. You can choose between Mango-Habanero, Blood Orange-Guava, Blackberry-Mint, Grapefruit-Elderflower, Raspberry-Hibiscus, Passionfruit-Lemongrass, Apple-Pear, and Berry-Basil. Barmalade is a small business based in Dallas, Texas.
Promising review: "Phenomenal customer service and a delicious product! The shipping was amazing. It arrived packaged so nicely in a custom box. We have tried the berry basil so far and it is so good, fresh, and exactly the right balance of ingredients. It was especially good with rye whiskey and lemon juice. I highly recommend this shop and everything they make! Can’t wait to order more for gifts and our own home bar." —katiewiatt
14. A summer sangria alcohol kit so you can make a pitcher (or two) of delicious sangria goodness. You'll just need to provide your own white wine (or red if that's what you prefer)!
It comes with dehydrated Michigan apples, oranges, strawberries, blackberries raspberries, grapes, pineapples, and peaches and makes about 8–10 cocktails. This is also free of sugar, gluten, and it's vegan! InBooze is a Black woman-owned Etsy shop based in Grandville, Michigan.
15. An assortment of fresh craft cocktails that are delivered cold to your door! All you have to do is twist to combine the liquor at the top and the juice at the bottom, shake, pour, and enjoy! Now, which one are you gonna try first?
The Full Bar assortment pack comes with one of each drink (two servings per drink): Bourbon Sour, Strawberry Mojito, Classic Margarita, Apricot Rye Smash, Ginger Drop, Mexican Coffee, Clover Club, Eastside, Rum Punch, and Spiced Sangria.
Promising review: "I am one of those people who made an abrupt pivot in their late twenties to 'I'll drink anything, it's fine!' to 'Actually wait I have standards and opinions about alcohol now, WHOOPS,' so this has been an interesting phase of my life where I try canned and ready-to-make cocktails and either viscerally hate or thoroughly enjoy them. I'm glad to say I was *delighted* by the quality of DRNXMYTH's cocktails — I tried a sampler and every single one of them impressed (even the gin-based one, which is not usually my favorite kind of liquor!). The flavor combinations were inventive and satisfying with that same kind of 'ooh!' factor you get when you see a fancy cocktail on a restaurant menu. My favorite by far was the Apricot Rye Smash (rye whiskey with apricot puree, almond syrup, lemon juice, and cherry bark vanilla bitters). Making it was also super simple — the top part has the liquor (to keep it separate from the fresh ingredients) so you pour that in first, then twist the bottom (sometimes with considerable effort, but I always got there in the end!!) to release the rest. I especially like that you have control over just how much of the fresh ingredients goes into each cocktail, because I don't like for mine to be very sweet (sometimes I saved a small portion of it to have with my own liquor later to make it last longer). Each bottle has enough for two cocktails, so you can either split one with a friend, orrrrrr do what I did and just have an *extra* special Friday night whenever I chose to indulge. If you're looking for a way to shake things up at home or just save money on cocktails — like, at $12 per bottle ($6 per drink), that's a THIRD of what some of the fancier drinks in the city end up costing, and these are every bit as good if not better!! — I highly recommend." —Emma Lord, BuzzFeed
Get it from DrnxMyth for $117.
16. A jar of maraschino cocktail cherries you'll want to add to every cocktail you make this summer and beyond. These aren't your typical ice cream sundae maraschino cherries. They're specifically intended for use in cocktails and come packaged in a sweet, but not sickly sweet, syrup.
Promising review: "Discovered these after a talented bartender in San Francisco spruced up an Old Fashioned for me. At first I thought these were some other type of berry and thus discovered Luxardo Maraschino cherries. Forget those garish, overly sweet, obnoxiously-fake colored Maraschino's you get on sundaes or at the cheap bars. After you've had Luxardo's, you probably will never be able to go back. A bit pricey, but it's a generous helping. I've had my jar for several months now and it's still a quarter full. The syrup is also quite delicious and I use it instead of simple syrup to sweeten up a few cocktails." —Mario Kroll
Get it from Amazon for $22.99.
17. A cocktail machine perfect for those times you don't feel like bothering with blending, meddling, shaking, or stirring. All you have to do is insert a pod of your choice, fill a bottle with the liquor to match, choose your cocktail strength, push a button, and enjoy!
Promising review: "When I first caught wind of the Bartesian premium cocktail machine ($349.99 on Amazon), my first thought was does anyone actually need this gadget? But after trying it for myself, I can say the answer is a firm YES, and here's why. I love making cocktails at home, and while I'm no bartender, I feel very comfortable shaking a spicy margarita, stirring a negroni, or whipping up a Pisco sour. But making craft cocktails at home requires many (often expensive) ingredients, bar tools, time and effort. With the Bartesian though, you can make fancy drinks with the click of a button — literally. Once you turn the Bartesian on, it prompts you to insert a cocktail capsule. The smart gadget recognizes the cocktail you're trying to make and will ensure you've placed the proper spirit in the bottle (I know, it's mind-blowing). Next, it prompts you to choose your cocktail strength (there's even a mocktail option), and to place a glass with ice underneath the spout. Next, the Bartesian will start pouring your craft cocktail. The whole process takes about 20 seconds and it's all very exciting. With many bars closed and people quarantining or feeling hesitant about going out to eat, this gadget allows you to make professional-quality cocktails at home." —Hannah Loewentheil, BuzzFeed Editor
Check out Hannah's full review of the amazing Bartesian cocktail machine!
Get it from Amazon for $349.85.
Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.