When it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement, the only relief is an ice-cold cocktail—but not just any drink will do. With the sun beating down you, spirit-forward Manhattans and Vieux Carrés are often too heavy and labor intensive. Thirst-quenching summer cocktails should be bright, citrusy, effervescent and—most importantly—simple. These thirteen cocktails are not only a cinch to make with with only three ingredients, but they’ll also cool you down every time.
The 13 Best Three-Ingredient Cocktails to Beat the Heat
Drinking Daiquiris all summer long is a must. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about those sticky blender monstrosities. We’re referring to the original Daiquiri with only rum, freshly squeezed lime juice and sugar. This is the drink you have before you leave for the beach, the drink you have at the beach, and the drink you have when you get home from the beach. There’s no better way to enjoy a day filled with sand, surf and sun.
Basically a Daiquiri for agave-philes, this recipe skips the usual curaçao and instead opts for the vegetal sweetness that only agave syrup can provide. Bright, tangy and invigorating, few cocktails can deliver the same satisfaction as a Margarita on balmy, sun-drenched days. Pair it with some tequila-spiked guacamole and fresh tortilla chips to go on vacation without leaving your backyard.
This beloved Italian aperitif has everything that you could want in a summer sipper. Basically a low-ABV version of the Negroni, the Americano skips the gin and instead opts for a topper of soda water. The result is a triple threat of bitter, light and herbaceous. Best of all, you can have more than one without even catching a buzz.
Think whiskey can’t be refreshing? Think again. Nothing soothes a parched throat quite like ultra-smooth, light and fruity Japanese whiskey topped with effervescent seltzer. Sipping this cocktail on a hot day is the equivalent of a blast of frosty AC.
This beloved Prohibition classic is like a grown-up lemonade served in a coupe glass. Made with honey syrup, fresh lemon juice and gin, it adds depth to the typical summer sour.
Fresh Lemon Juice
The first things that come to mind when you think of a Hurricane are the syrupy-sweet neon red cocktails served at dives in Florida and New Orleans. But the original recipe for the Hurricane was neither red nor sweet. Instead of using mass-produced, overly saccharine grenadine syrup, the original drink featured sour passion fruit syrup. When you stay true to its original form, this amber-hued Hurricane is unbeatable.
Passion fruit syrup
Fresh Lemon juice
Hailing from Bermuda, this island classic was designed to quell the heat of summer. The drink is crisp, effervescent and refreshingly tart, and it has a wallop of gingery heat that leaves you wanting more. The best way to enjoy this Highball is on a vacant beach with a lounge chair and unlimited refills.
In Brazil, there is no escape from summer’s fiery grip. To relieve the continual swelter, Brazilians devised this ingenious and refreshing cocktail. Made with cachaça, the country’s national spirit, as well as freshly muddled lime wedges and sugar, a round of Caipirinhas will cut through heat and humidity like a knife.
If gin is your go-to liquor, there’s no reason to relegate yourself to Gin & Tonics all summer. The Gimlet is an equally worthy refresher. Subtly herbaceous with a vibrant lime tang, this variation on a Daiquiri is a cleaner, more refined version of the Caribbean classic.
If you like your summer cocktails stirred and boozy but still light enough to be refreshing, this take on the Negroni is for you. Made with all-clear spirits, as its name implies, this cocktail is lemony, vegetal and crisp all at once. It’s the perfect aperitif for summer dinner parties— especially those held on verandas, patios or in gardens.
London Dry Gin
It might sound contrarian, but salt is one of the best things to cure dehydration—especially when it’s paired with tart, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and ice cold vodka straight from the freezer. One of the most refreshing three-ingredient tipples, the Salty Dog should be a summer brunch staple.
Whether its fresh melon, melon-flavored popsicles or melon cocktails, melons are synonymous with summer, and the Melon Ball is one of our favorite classic cocktails to whip up once the mercury begins to rise. Made with Midori melon liqueur, vodka and fresh orange juice, the cocktail is bright, refreshing, subtly sweet and melonrific.
Fresh squeezed orange juice
This ultra-refreshing, totally hydrating cocktail is the official mascot of summer drinking. Ridiculously easy to concoct, this summery take on the classic Vodka Soda is made with vodka (plain or coconut water-flavored), coconut water and seltzer. It’s the essential vodka cocktail for poolside drinking or beach days spent in the sand and surf.