Bartenders Tell Us Their Favorite Cocktails To Drink Outside On A Sunny Day

It seems like every time you visit your favorite watering hole, the same bartenders are there. It’s almost like they don’t even go home or take a break, right? Well, bartenders aren’t superhuman cyborgs from the future bent on global domination who don’t require sleep, rest, and relaxation. Just like you, they need a break or a day off every now and then. And just because they mix up drinks all day, that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy throwing back a few cocktails in their time off. This is especially true on a sunny, warm, summer day. That’s why we asked ten bartenders to tell us what they like to drink on those rare occasions they aren’t standing behind the bar concocting your favorite cocktails.

Zach Rivera, Beverage Director at Headquarters Beercade in Chicago and Nashville


“My favorite (on a warm day) and also the most annoying to make is probably a mojito. It’s refreshing, delicious, and easy to drink.”

Tara Shadzi, Lead Bartender at BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica, California


“The best cocktail to drink outside in the Southern California sunshine has got to be the pina colada. Yes, it’s overplayed, but so delicious. Try it with real coconut, aged Zacapa rum, pineapple, and agave. Or better yet, try the mescal BOA version called the “Fire and Smoke.” A smoky, spicy, pineapple mescal drink is just calling your name for a summer patio happy hour session.”

Lucinda Sterling, bartender at Middle Branch in New York City


“I don’t know anyone who would turn down a caipirinha using Novo Fogo Cachaca in the summer heat. Woody, earthy and aromatic, it lends itself well to citrus and sugar to achieve a balanced, refreshing flavor profile.”

Ann-Marie Verdi, Beverage Director and Co-Owner at The Bellwether in Studio City, California


“If I’m outside, I’m probably at the race track, so a mint julep is always in my hands. If you prefer the garden, make yourself a French 75. Gin, champagne, lemon, and simple [syrup]. It’s romantic in a way, I think. And if you can’t cocktail, then I say rosé all day.”

Bar Manager Charity Johnston at ROKU in Los Angeles


“I guess that depends on the time of day and year. Since we’re coming up on summer, I’d say something with mint, watermelon, and/or strawberries, like white negronis or sangria. They’re light and refreshing.”

Claire Sprouse, bartender at Sunday In Brooklyn in New York City


“The ‘Outlook Good’ is a total patio crusher. It’s made with a bit of tequila, Lo-Fi sweet vermouth, orange, and a house-made aperitivo. It’s refreshing, slightly bitter, and not over-the-top boozy. My friend Sunny says it even looks like a cartoon drawing of a “refreshing cocktail!”

Eric Ochoa, bartender at Over Proof in San Francisco


“The Paloma! Do you want to feel like you’re going to live a million sunny Saturday afternoons in a row? Grab a bottle of tequila, squeeze some grapefruits, a little bit of lime, a touch of agave syrup, pinch of salt, and a splash of club soda. Then take a big sip. Pro tip: add mescal and dominoes (to play) to make it feel you’re living a million 3-day weekends in a row.”

Jillian Voss, bartender at The Dead Rabbit in New York City


“When I’m enjoying the sun, other than lathering myself with sunscreen, I like enjoying a sidecar. I prefer if the sugar is added into the drink, as a sugar rim can be quite messy, especially in the warmth. I also prefer it made with H by HINE.”

Trevor Bierwirth, Beverage Director at SideDoor in Chicago

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“I like to keep it simple and classic, and to me, there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a classic daquiri. Not the frozen kind that people seem to think is what a daquiri is. But the standard go-to that became Hemingway’s libation of choice while he spent time in Cuba. Occasionally, I like to change it up and go with a spicy sweet combo and add Ancho Reyes Verde to this classic.”