Patrick Spears / Supercall

Entertaining
14 Vodka Cocktails That Are Perfect for Summer

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Cool, refreshing cocktails and summer are natural companions. Few things make you forget about overheating while lounging at the beach or pool like a big gulp from an icy beverage. Good news for vodka fans: Vodka is an endlessly customizable spirit and is the backbone of plenty of classic summer drinks. Here are the 10 best summer vodka cocktails to enjoy this season. Some are strong while others are light, but all are ready for the warmest months of the year.

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The Sea Breeze screams summer drinking from the name alone. All members of the Breeze drink family (Bay Breeze, Hawaiian Breeze and Cape Codder) are contenders for summer drinking, but the Sea Breeze stands out for its juicy, citrusy qualities. Like Harry, Ron and Hermione, the trio of cranberry juice, grapefruit juice and vodka belongs together. Kick back with a Sea Breeze or two this summer whether you’re poolside, at the beach or in your backyard.

The Essentials

Vodka
Grapefruit Juice
Cranberry Juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Hanging onto a frosty copper cup full of crushed ice is a good way to stay cool in the heat of summer. It’s even better when you throw vodka and ginger beer into the mix. Moscow Mules are simple to make, but their spicy ginger and citrusy kick are anything but basic.

The Essentials

Vodka
Lime Juice
Ginger Beer
Patrick Spears / Supercall
It’s easy to mix some vodka and orange juice over ice to make an easy Screwdriver during the dog days of summer. That’s fine, but as you grab that OJ, also pick up a bottle of Galliano. A touch of the herbal vanilla liqueur adds a little something extra without complicating things too much.

The Essentials

vodka
orange juice
Galliano
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Don’t underestimate the Vodka Soda as a summer sipper. While you don’t want to be taking iced vodka shots in the middle of a summer day, the Vodka Soda offers something equally clean and straightforward—but it’ll last a little longer than a shot. Garnish it with a lime wedge for an especially refreshing twist.

The Essentials

Vodka
soda
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Drink something that looks as fun as you want your summer to be. The fruity Melon Ball has a slight tang, and it’s crazy easy to drink. You can also easily scale it up into a pitcher-sized cocktail, making it a good choice for a summer party.

The Essentials

Midori
vodka
Fresh squeezed orange juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Would a summer drinking list be complete without a frozen drink? Of course not. You might recognize the Chi Chi because it resembles its more famous cousin, the Piña Colada. The two are very similar, but the Chi Chi swaps out the rum for vodka, which lets the coconut cream and pineapple juice do all the heavy flavor lifting.

The Essentials

vodka
coconut cream
pineapple juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Sweet and tart like a piece of candy, the Lemon Drop Martini is for a summer night that’s just starting to heat up. It’s a crowd pleaser and looks elegant yet fun, like an upscale party on the beach where you get to kick off your shoes.

The Essentials

vodka
lemon juice
Simple syrup
Patrick Spears / Supercall
It’s summer, and thinking too hard can make us all a little salty. That’s why you should keep things simple and use easy upgrades to take your favorite drinks up a notch. The Salty Dog is just a Greyhound (grapefruit juice and vodka), but with the addition of a salted rim. That small modification makes all the difference, making the drink tart, refreshing and briney all at once.

The Essentials

grapefruit juice
Vodka
Salt
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If refreshment is what you’re after, look no further than a Vodka Gimlet. A bright and tart Gimlet will make you come to your senses no matter how much sun you’ve taken in. To add some variety, opt for a citrusy bottling like Bedlam Vodka, or even choose a creamy one like Black Cow Vodka for something that is reminiscent of key lime pie.

The Essentials

Vodka
Simple Syrup
Lime Juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Admittedly, the French Martini is nothing that its name suggests. It is, however, a delightful tipple to drink in the summertime—especially if you’re in the mood for something a little stronger than a traditional summer drink. It’s a mix of vodka, pineapple juice and Chambord, a French liqueur made with black raspberries, honey, vanilla and herbs.

The Essentials

Vodka
Pineapple Juice
Chambord
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A palate cleansing dry cider is the perfect topper to your new favorite summer cocktail. Created by Cat DiPaci at her store Beer Fridge in New York’s Lower East Side, it combines fresh ripe blueberries, vodka and lemon juice.

The Essentials

blueberries
vodka
Nine Pin Cider
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
While the Vodka Soda is fine and dandy, you can take it to the next level by turning it into a Coconut Vodka Soda. That touch of coconut water makes it go down all too easy on a hot day, especially when you use a silky vodka like Zirkova One or Russian Standard. True coconut water devotees can also double down and use a coconut vodka like Three Olives Coconut Water vodka.

The Essentials

Vodka
Coconut Water
Soda Water
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Moscow Mule, meet the Jungle Bird. In the Jungle Mule, two favorites—one spicy and gingery, the other classic tiki—combine for a drink that will make you feel like you’re in the tropics.

The Essentials

Vodka
Campari
Ginger beer
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
It’s hard to beat the experience of biting into a ripe peach in the dead of summer. Drinking a Peaches and Tea Punch and then biting into a ripe peach, though, that does the trick. The spiked iced tea is boozed up with vodka and peach schnapps, and then served up in a Mason jar filled with peach slices.

The Essentials

Vodka
Peach Schnapps
Lipton’s Iced Tea, to top

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