No matter how you spend this Fourth of July, there are likely three things you'll need: sunscreen (a must if you plan to spend the day outdoors), plenty of snacks (we've got you covered here), and something to sip on.
It's always a good idea to have plenty of water nearby, but you may want to mix things up a bit with a fun beverage or two. Think: super-refreshing drinks you can pour over ice and slurp through the afternoon and into the evening fireworks.
Here are 26 drinks recipes to choose from this 4th of July weekend—from citrusy sodas the whole family can enjoy to summery cocktails just for the adults (we see you, strawberry margarita).
This slushy strawberry lemonade gets a little kick from a splash or two of vodka, but feel free to mix up the berries and the alcohol (it's pretty much impossible to mess up).
This ultra-cooling Venezuelan drink combines a sweet syrup made from unrefined brown sugar, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and water, plus minced mint for an extra dash of freshness.
3. Suze Tonic
In this easy twist on the classic gin and tonic, Suze (a French apéritif) steps in to lend "an earthy, oral bitterness to the drink while also lowering the alcohol content."
Another variation on lemonade—this time with a honeyed vanilla-thyme syrup—we'd be more than happy to sip on a sweltering-hot day.
"A lot has changed with the ingredients and implementation of Rum Punch the world over," writes cookbook author and food writer Brigid Washington, "and this sweet tea version is a testament to the sublime adaptability of a simple cocktail recipe."
Smoked mandarin orange juice (if you don't have a smoker, fresh-squeezed will work just fine) and a zingy ginger syrup team up in this paloma riff from Chef Claudette Zepeda.
The addition of watermelon juice (simply puree fresh watermelon, then strain) instantly brightens up a pitcher of regular old lemonade.
Making fresh orange soda is easier than you think—the only hard part is making the syrup (which only takes about 20 minutes). Once you've got the syrup ready, all you need to do is mix it with a bit of seltzer.
Adding crushed black peppercorns help balance out the sweetness in this take on the classic Italian lemon liqueur. Pour it over ice, sip it straight up, it's totally up to you.
This raw mango beverage is "a quintessential summer drink in India," says food writer Annada Rathi. Sweet and tangy, the concentrate will last for a few weeks and needs only be stirred into cold water.
A sunny orange syrup, fresh mint, vodka, and seltzer combine for a bubbly cocktail that tastes even better as you reach the bottom of the glass.
12. Aperol Spritz
It's a summer staple for a reason—not too sweet, not too bitter, and always refreshing.
Why have a standard margarita when you could have one with a silky-sweet fresh strawberry syrup instead?
This puckery mint soda is totally non-alcoholic, but it would certainly welcome a touch of spiced rum or bourbon, you know, if you want.
This revitalizing elixir is a combo of apple cider vinegar, ginger, and maple syrup (for sweetness), and it has a lot of fans in the comments section and beyond.
In this "perfect summer cooler," cucumber and fennel steal the show, with help from a few supporting characters (like lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and frozen blueberries).
17. Mezcal Michelada
If you like your cocktails on the spicy side, mix up this savory michelada with a smoky mezcal twist.
Once you've got the classic mojito recipe down, add your own twist by mixing in different fruits, herbs, and citrus (blackberry and ginger ale mojitos, anyone?).
Writer and community member Giulia Melucci asks, "Is it a sin to drink gin before noon?" In the case of this limey-fresh cocktail, most certainly not.
20. Celery Soda
"This is a grown-up soda that would be perfectly refreshing on a sultry summer day," writes community member hardlikearmour, and we whole-heartedly agree.
While not technically a drink, we couldn't help but add these berries with rosé wine (topped off with a dollop of whipped cream) into the mix.
Frosé—that’s frozen rosé, if you weren’t already familiar—is actually way more than wine blended with ice. Here, you’ll blend the wine (frozen overnight, so it’s as cold as can be!) with frozen strawberries for color and floral fruitiness, simple syrup for sweetness, and lemon juice to add some zingy tartness.
23. Zombie Cocktail
“The Zombie is one of Donn Beach's original and legendary tiki drinks—boozy, complex, and transporting,” says recipe developer Samantha Weiss Hills. It calls for white, gold and dark rum, as well as licorice-y Pernod and sweet-tart, spiced Velvet falernum. Blend it up with cinnamon-tinged simple syrup and fresh grapefruit juice and garnish with fresh mint.
This saffron and cardamom lemonade concentrate is a perfect sipper for hot summer days. Recipe developer and community member Saee Khandekar recommends mixing a few tablespoons of the concentrate with water or club soda and serving over ice, as well as adding a splash of vodka too if you’re feeling it for cocktail hour.
“It's just what I want to drink when it's still too hot to breathe in the evening,” says recipe developer and community member hardlikearmour of this watermelon daiquiri. Hardlikearmour also notes that the five-spice powder, which is stirred into the simple syrup that sweetens this drink, “magically seems to intensify the watermelon flavor.” Sign us up!
If you’re not a sweet drinks fan, bring on the micheladas! Also know as a bloody beer, a michelada is like a bloody mary, made with tomato juice or Clamato but it swaps in a crisp, pale lager-style beer—Modelo Especial is perfect—for the vodka. It’s the kind of drink you can sip before noon and still be awake by lunchtime.