Summer Isn't Over Yet, So Enjoy These 10 Cool, Refreshing Drinks

Add Orangeade, Espresso Soda, and Margarita Mocktails to your summer rotation.

You've got a beautiful summer weekend ahead of you, which means you need plenty of cool, refreshing beverages to pair with whatever you're grilling. Why settle for White Claw when there are so many inventive drinks out there ready to leave condensation on the side of your glass? Here are The Takeout's best recipes for inviting summer drinks, most of which take only a few minutes to throw together, and all of which will impress any guests who stop by your backyard.

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The Perfect Margarita Mocktail

We found a way to recreate all the sensory elements that make margaritas great, without any booze or syrupy substitutes. In this Perfect Margarita Mocktail, the bitter tannins of Earl Grey tea mixed with sweet blue agave syrup form a base with flavors not unlike the combination of tequila and triple sec. Spices are added to give you a bit of tequila burn, and salt brings the whole thing together. We know it sounds unlikely that this could satisfy the way a margarita does—but go ahead, try one for yourself and see. Get the recipe for The Perfect Margarita Mocktail here.

Earl Grey Orangeade

Think of Earl Grey Orangeade like the Arnold Palmer of 2021. It's a mashup of comforting favorites, equal parts tea and orange juice (plus a little sugar) coalescing into a pitcher full of pleasant surprises. Best of all, this formulation works for any number of flavor combinations; once you determine your preferred ratios, you can swap out orange juice for other fruit juices and/or replace the sugar with alternative sweeteners to see which mixture you like best. Get the recipe for Earl Grey Orangeade here.

Cherry Key Lime Rickey

While the cherry lime rickey was once a soda fountain staple throughout much of the northeast, its popularity has waned over the decades as soda fountains go the way of the dinosaurs. But the drink itself shouldn't be forgotten! A rickey is tart, fizzy perfection, and this version doesn't even require you to juice your own limes if you don't want to. However you decide to make it, this beverage is one you'll want to make again and again. Get the recipe for Cherry Key Lime Rickey here.


The Kalimotxo originated during a Basque festival a few decades after the first Spanish Coca-Cola factory opened in 1953. At the 1972 festival, organizers found that their supply of red wine had gone sour, either due to the heat or bad storage—so they created a rather unconventional cocktail by combining the wine with Coke, a concoction that remains popular to this day. Beyond the flavor, the price point is mighty appealing: you can whip up an entire batch of Kalimotxos for under $10. Get the recipe for Kalimotxo here.

Sweet Tea

Let's start with a classic: Southern sweet tea, a cornerstone of good hospitality. It's not quite as simple as mixing sugar into brewed iced tea, since the sugar does not combine well and often sinks to the bottom. Instead, we provide a foolproof method that involves steeping the sugar alongside the tea, which results in an extra-fragrant batch. Get the recipe for Sweet Tea here.

Blueberry Switchel

Everyone knows and loves lemonade, but switchel, a tart drink that gets its puckery flavor from vinegar instead of citrus, is not to be overlooked. The basic formula is vinegar + sweetener + water, and once you find your desired proportions, you can let your imagination run wild. In this recipe, we blend in blueberries and a bit of basil, then liven up switchel's traditional apple cider vinegar with a splash of balsamic. It's far from a one-note beverage, and you can make it by the pitcher. Get the recipe for Blueberry Switchel here.


If you've never experienced the floral, spicy splendor of this hibiscus iced tea drink, you're missing out. Sorrel is a refreshing beverage often associated with the Caribbean, though it traces its roots to West Africa and has been enjoyed as a cooling drink for centuries. Make yourself a bottle of sorrel concentrate, keep it in the fridge, and make your summer—and your entire life, really—exponentially better. Get the recipe for Sorrel here.

Espresso Soda

Consider this two beverages in one: Espresso Soda can be made by adding seltzer or cream soda to our super-simple recipe for espresso syrup—just four ingredients, or three if you don't count the water! But you can also bulk up this cool summer drink by adding a scoop of ice cream and turning it into a coffee float. Get the recipe for Espresso Soda here.

Pineapple Upside-Down Champagne Cocktail

Good news: you don't need fresh fruit for this showstopper. This playful pineapple upside-down beverage, while not a cake, stays true to its cakey roots by embracing the convenience of canned pineapple. It's sweet, easy, and amazing, and can be turned into a cocktail or a mocktail, depending on whether you use champagne or a sparkling NA alternative. Get the recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Champagne Cocktail here.

Smoky Grilled Cocktails

If you're looking for some sophisticated, mixology-minded drink options this summer, try making cocktail syrups from smoked fruits and vegetables. If you've ever smoked anything on a grill before, you'll follow those same steps to create poblano pepper syrup for an Iced Poblano Toddy and orange shrub syrup for a Smoky Sidecar. Have fun broadening your palate and, best of all, surprising guests with these impressive concoctions. Get the recipe for Smoky Grilled Cocktails here.