3-Ingredient Cool-Down Summer Cocktails

By Erin Phraner /
3 Ingredient Summer Cocktails

We all have our warm-weather favorites—I love a tall Gin & Tonic—and, let’s face it, some cocktail recipes have long (read: expensive) ingredient lists so its easy to find yourself in a drink rut. Not any more! I stirred up a whole collection of cool-down summer cocktails for you that only call for 3 ingredients each. They’re colorful, thirst-quenching, and easy on your wallet compared to other mixer-filled sips.

The key to any good cocktail is balance. In its simplest form, you need: 1 base spirit and 1 to 2 flavor-booster (like a liqueur, citrus juice, tea, etc.). You’ll want to add something a little tart, something a little sweet, maybe a little fizz…everyone’s taste is different.

I limited myself to just 3 base spirits in these recipes: Gin, tequila, or rum. That’s a smart thing to do if you’re mixing up cocktails for a party. By limiting your bases, it’s easy to stay on budget. Instead of having to stock up a full bar, you can just buy large-format bottles of 1 to 3 spirits and call it a day. Bonus: Many discount liqueur stores sell large-format bottles of good-quality spirits at great (cheap) prices.

For another layer of savings, I shied away from costly mixers and used great, flavor-packed grocery store finds instead, like pineapple soda, blood orange juice, English cucumbers and herbal tea. These items are a fraction of the cost of orange-liqueur, sour mix, etc. and (psst!) they’re kind of better for you too.

With all of this new knowledge in mind, take a look at this summer-ready collection of drinks, pick your favorites and get mixing! You don’t need to be a mixologist—or even a big cocktail drinker—to master these quick, easy recipes!




MAKES: 1 drink

Gently muddle 3 to 4 raspberries and 1 tablespoon Elderflower liqueur or syrup in the bottle of a champagne flute. Top with chilled prosecco. 

Note: One of my favorite proseccos, Mionetto, is great for this recipe and it only costs $10 per bottle! 




MAKES: 1 drink

Blend 1/2 unpeeled English cucumber,chopped, and a big splash of water in a blender until smooth; strain through fine-mesh sieve into a tall ice-filled glass. Add 1/4 cup gin and top with lemon-lime soda. 




MAKES: 1 drink

Pour 1/4 cup dark spiced rum or coconut-flavored rum into an ice-filled glass. Top with pineapple soda. Garnish with fresh mint. 




MAKES: 1 drink

Stir together 1/4 cup each cold chamomile tea, lemonade (regular or pink), and gin in an ice-filled glass. Add lime slice, if desired.




MAKES: 1 drink

Stir together 1/2 cup blood orange juice, 1/4 cup tequila and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice in ice-filled glass. Add lime slice (or salted-rim), if desired.

NOTES: Want it sweeter? Trade in blood orange juice for blood-orange soda (or do 50/50)! 


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