Food & DrinkFood Features

Local Mixologists Share Their Favorite Summer Cocktail Recipes

There are few better ways to beat the heat than by sipping on an icy, flavorful cocktail. Pair it with a shady backyard spot or a shimmering body of water, and you’ve got warm-weather paradise. Fortunately for us, Athens is full of talented bartenders who love sharing their refreshing creations. We goaded several of them into giving us their favorite summer drink recipes. Whip these up at home, or head to the pub to witness professional boozology in action.

Derek Canavaggio (Donna Chang’s)

Queen’s Park Swizzle

The Queen’s Park Swizzle is a DC’s summertime favorite. It’s a light, refreshing and easily crushable classic that takes the edge off when it’s hot outside. The spirit of a mojito meets boozy rocket pop.

Drop six to eight loose mint leaves into a tall glass. (We prefer a hurricane glass.)


1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
2 ounces white rum

Fill glass halfway with crushed ice. Agitate with bar spoon or swizzle stick to mix, keeping mint on the bottom. Top up with crushed ice. Finish off with 10 dashes each of Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters on top, and enjoy.

Terri Silva (Hi-Lo Lounge)

Pimm’s Royale

When I order a drink during the summer, I want something refreshing, and that means a cocktail with bubbles. My take on the Pimm’s Royale has grapefruit juice and brut Champagne, served over ice with a lemon twist and a cucumber ribbon. The lemon twist gives that extra citrus on top of the grapefruit, and the cucumber gives a nice freshness of the summer garden. One sip, and you’ll forget just how dang hot it is outside.

Combine in an ice-filled Collins glass:

1.5 ounces Pimm’s
1 ounce grapefruit juice

Slowly pour and stir in brut Champagne. Run a lemon twist around the rim, twist and drop in. Peel a long ribbon of cucumber, fold and place along side of glass.

Ally Smith (The National)

Stinson Beach

This time last year, I stumbled upon a little town on the coast of Northern California called Stinson Beach. A small slice of paradise, it was my inspiration for creating this cocktail. I wanted to keep it refreshing, nostalgic and boozy. Lavender is incorporated for its calming aroma. The lime-zest-infused tequila imparts a flavor reminiscent of the freeze pops from my youth, and the sauvignon blanc syrup provides familiarity and depth of flavor. This cocktail is my personal homage to calm waves, summer dusk and childhood memories.


2 ounces lime zest-infused tequila
0.33 ounce sauvignon blanc syrup
Mezcal and lavender finishing mist

Add the tequila and syrup and stir for 30 seconds. Spray a frozen rocks glass twice with the finishing mist, pour the drink into the glass, and garnish with one more spritz.

Hunt Revell (Seabear Oyster Bar)

The Southside

The key ingredients are gin, lemon, mint and sugar, and you really can’t mess it up. You can make a mint syrup—recipes abound. You can muddle mint with sugar and lemon juice, then stir with gin to dissolve and mix, and top with soda. Or you can shake all the ingredients with fresh mint and either strain into a cocktail glass with a tiny splash of soda (my favorite) or into a collins glass with crushed ice and more soda (a close second).


2 ounces Apostoles Mate Gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice (the juice of one lemon)
0.5 ounce simple syrup (or mint syrup)
Freshly torn mint leaves

Shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass, top with a tiny splash of soda. Add strawberries, or sub peppermint for more summer fun.

Anna LeBer (The Old Pal)


The Caipirinha (kai-pee-ree-nya) is the perfect poolside drink for summertime sipping. The main ingredient, cachaça (kah-shah-sah), is a spirit similar to rum made from sugarcane, and has a delicious, light, herbaceous flavor. It’s super easy to make at home, so it’s perfect for those long, hot, lazy summer days in Athens—or you can just have your bartender make it for you, and impress them when you know how to pronounce it.


2 ounces cachaça
0.5 ounce simple syrup
Two lime wedges (make ‘em big)

Muddle simple syrup and lime wedges. Add cachaça, shake, and pour directly into a rocks glass (do not strain). No garnish.

How About a Mocktail?

Off the sauce? Here’s a nonalcoholic refresher courtesy of Hendershot’s Coffee Bar owner Seth Hendershot.

Straight To L

Fill 9-ounce cup with ice. Pour 6 ounces of pre-made Lavender Lemonade (recipe below) in cup. Top with 1 ounce club soda. Garnish with mint.

Lavender Lemonade: Juice 10 lemons (2 cups). Mix with 16 ounces of simple syrup in a 1-gallon pitcher. Add 8 ounces lavender syrup. Top with cold filtered water.