20 Fabulous Summer Cocktails With Three Ingredients or Less

Leah Bourne
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20 Fabulous Summer Cocktails With Three Ingredients or Less
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With the craft cocktail boom in full swing, bartenders are getting increasingly outlandish with their concoctions—some are using wild stuff like liquid nitrogen, gold flakes, and even orchid ice cubes—so it might seem impossible to even attempt a DIY drink that can measure up.

MORE: 20 Healthy (Alcoholic!) Drinks 

The truth is, you don’t need all those bells and whistles to craft a killer signature cocktail. In fact, you barely need any of it—you just need a working knowledge of what types of ingredients work well together, and what garnishes you’ll need to make them that much more special than a plain old vodka soda.

That’s why we’ve come up with 20 fabulous summer cocktails that each require three ingredients or less. An added bonus of a drink with less elements? Less calories, of course. Win, win!

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Szarlotka

Ingredients
1 1⁄2 oz vodka
Unfiltered apple juice

Directions
Pour vodka into highball glass over ice. Add apple juice to taste.

Americano

Ingredients
1 1⁄2 oz Campari
1 1⁄2 oz sweet vermouth
Soda water to top
Orange for garnish

Directions
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add Campari and vermouth, and top generously with soda, taking care not to exceed a 1:1:2 ratio. Garnish with an orange slice or twist.

Blood Orange Rickey Ingredients 2 blood oranges, one cut into quarters and the other into thin slices for garnish 8 oz gin 1 liter sparkling water or seltzer Directions In four highball glasses, squeeze a quarter of blood orange into each glass. Pour 2 ounces of gin over the blood orange juice in each glass and top with chilled seltzer. Garnish with a thin slice of blood orange.

Aperol Spritz  Ingredients 3 oz prosecco 1 1⁄2 oz bitter aperitif liqueur, such as Aperol or Campari 1 1⁄2 oz soda water Orange slice, to garnish Directions Combine prosecco, liqueur and soda water in a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange slice.

Sherry Martini

Ingredients

2 oz gin
2 oz Manzanilla Sherry
Dashes orange bitters
Green olive, for garnish

Directions

Combine gin, Manzanilla, and bitters over ice in a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass, garnishing with an olive.

Fur Collar

Ingredients
1 oz vodka
1 oz apricot brandy or liqueur
1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions
In a cocktail shaker, stir together the vodka, apricot brandy, and orange juice. Add ice, cover, and shake vigorously until well chilled, 10-15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.

Arak and Grapefruit

Ingredients
4 oz chilled fresh grapefruit juice
2 oz arak
1 Basil leaf, to garnish

Directions
Combine grapefruit juice and arak in a chilled cocktail glass. Fill with ice and garnish with basil leaf to serve.

Basil Julep

Ingredients (makes 4 drinks)
8 large basil leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
2 oz simple syrup
6 oz Irish whiskey

Directions
In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the basil leaves and simple syrup. Pour in the Irish whiskey, and stir briskly one or two times. Fill four glasses with crushed ice; pour equal portions of the drink over the ice, straining out the basil. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Blood Orange Rosemary Screwdriver

Ingredients
4 oz chilled vodka
12 oz blood orange juice
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Directions
Fill two glasses with ice cubes. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add the vodka and the blood orange juice and one sprig of rosemary. Shake the cocktail vigorously and strain into the ice filled glasses. Garnish with a fresh orange wedge and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Cognac Sparkler

Ingredients
1 tbsp cognac
3/4 cup chilled sparkling apple cider
A few dashes bitters

Directions
Pour the cognac into a chilled Champagne flute. Top with chilled sparkling apple cider, and finish with a few dashes bitters; stir and serve.

Dry Martini Ingredients 1 1⁄2 oz London dry or Plymouth gin 1 1⁄2 oz French white dry vermouth 2 dashes orange bitters (preferably Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6) Strip of orange peel Directions In a large glass, combine gin, vermouth, bitters, and 2 cups ice. Stir for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a strip of orange peel over the top and drop it in.

Grapefruit Shandy

Ingredients
5 large ruby red grapefruits
Simple syrup
2 bottles of beer (lager or wheat beer)

Directions
Juice your grapefruits, pour in the simple syrup, and chill for one hour in the fridge. After the grapefruit mixture has chilled, divide between four glasses, top with cold beer, and garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

Grapefruit Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients
1 1/2 oz grapefruit juice
1 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
Rosé Brut Champagne or sparkling wine
1 grapefruit twist

Directions
Pour grapefruit juice and elderflower liqueur in a Champagne flute. Top with Rosé Brut Champagne. Garnish with grapefruit twist.

Guinness Milkshake

Ingredients
1 14.5-ounce can of Guinness
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Directions
Scoop 1 cup vanilla ice cream into 2 pint glasses, topping off with stout. Makes 2 adult milkshakes.

The Humingbird

Ingredients
2 ounces brut Champagne or dry sparkling wine
1 1/2 ounces St-Germain
2 ounces club soda
Lemon twist, for garnish

Directions
Stir sparkling wine, St-Germain, and club soda together in a tall ice-filled Collins glass, mixing completely. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Gin and It

Ingredients
4-1/2 oz Italian (sweet) vermouth
9 oz gin

Directions
Gently pour the vermouth and gin into a glass pitcher or receptacle. Stir but do no shake. Do not add any ice. Pour into cocktail glasses and serve at room temperature. If desired, before pouring the liquor into a glass a piece of lemon peel may be rubbed around the edges.

Meyer Lemon Drop Shooters

Ingredients
4 oz vodka, chilled
4 tsbp lemon juice
4 tsbp simple syrup
Simple Syrup

Directions
In a cocktail shaker, add the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup with some ice and shake hard, then divide between 4 glasses.

Manhattan

Ingredients
2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz vermouth
2 dashes Bitters

Directions
Stir the rye, vermouth, and bitters, well with cracked ice. Strain into in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with twist or, of course, maraschino cherry.

Sgroppino

Ingredients
1⁄3 cup lemon sorbet
3 oz prosecco
1 oz vodka

Directions
In a stainless steel bowl or cocktail shaker, whisk together the sorbet and a splash of the prosecco until fully incorporated. While whisking, slowly pour in the vodka and then the remainder of the prosecco. Serve in a martini glass or coupe.

Sparkling Lillet Grapefruit Cocktail

Ingredients
2 oz Lillet Rosé
4 dashes grapefruit bitters
4 oz brut Champagne or sparkling wine
Orange twist

Directions
Add the Lillet and grapefruit bitters to a Champagne flute or coupe. Top off with Champagne or sparkling wine, and garnish with an orange twist.

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