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Last Call for Summer: Labor Day Cocktails

NY Barfly By

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It’s t-minus a few days until Labor Day, and as summer winds down why not spend the final days of August focusing on the classics?

Elaborate cocktails have their place, but it takes only one sip of these simple, fresh and fruity beverages to see why they’ve achieved iconic status. The below list counts down the nine best summer sips – and while they won’t make the golden days last any longer, at least they’ll help you squeeze every last bit of fun out of the season.


9. Mai Tai

Mai Tai

This tiki classic is for all the rum lovers out there – it’s refreshing, summery and strong. If you’re having this at your luau you may want to cap yourself at two! Visit for a fun mai tai narrative and how-to. Mix and ounce each of light and dark rum with an ounce of lime juice, a half ounce of Curacao, and a dash of orgeat syrup and a half spoon of sugar. Preferably served from hollow coconut, with one of those adorable cocktail umbrellas. (Image used with permission.)

8. Hard Lemonade

Hard Lemonade

If you like it more on the light side, a hard lemonade may be your drink of choice. Adding malt flavor and often carbonation doesn't affect the taste of the lemonade much. You can fruit it up also and make different concoctions, or even mix flavored beers with lemonade. 

7. Boozy Punch

Watermelon Punch

Why not make the most of in-season fruit? Creating a boozy punch keg is as easy as cutting a hole into a ripe watermelon and letting in the sauce. Put on a spigot, and the fruit becomes a fun keg to serve it!


6. Daiquiri


Get yourself some rum, sugar and citrus and voila – a daiquiri is born. The variations possible on this old-school drink are endless. You can throw those three ingredients into a blender with some ice and your favorite fruits for a slushy summer treat. And if you’re feeling exotic, you can’t miss with guava.


5. Pina Colada

Pina Colada

Pineapple and coconut? Yum and yum. This blended summer classic gives you another chance to whip out your cocktail umbrellas. Get creative by replacing the white rum with a darker, spiced variety to add extra nuances of flavor.

4. Micheleda


This spicy Mexican beer cocktail is the perfect way to finish off summer! With chipotle, lime, and dark Mexican beer involved, this bloody Mary tastealike is sure to be a hit, whether in the evening sun or the bright morning after. 

3. Mojito


Muddling all of that mint might be some extra work, but fans of this Cuban summer classic know it’s worth it. The muddling unlocks the fragrance and flavor of the lime and mint, while the sugary rum will cool you down and get you buzzed. You can stick with the classic recipe or amp it up with more mashable ingredients like strawberry and basil.

2. Sangria


It’s a battle royale for the top spot on this summer cocktail list, and infinitely customizable sangria is a no-brainer for one of the top slots. It’s got super fresh fruits, wine, and you can make it red or white depending on your mood. It’s as easy as taking that leftover fruit salad and dumping it into a pitcher with some ice, wine and brandy.


1. Margarita


While all of the other drinks on this list make for excellent warm-weather drinking, when the temperatures creep up it’s this tequila-laced classic that we find ourselves craving the most. Sure, there ways to doll up the traditional recipe, but you can always keep it simple - tequila, fresh lime juice and triple sec is all you need.

nybarfly knows his drinks and also where to get the best sauce in Manhattan. Check out his blog site, NYBarfly and his Tablespoon profile for more tips and suggestions for discovering new bevvies.

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