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14 refreshing Labor Day cocktail recipes for your backyard BBQ

Yummy summer cocktails to celebrate Labor Day

Summer cocktails
The Nix Company / Unsplash

Labor Day is nearly here, summer’s last hoorah. It’s a bittersweet long weekend in which we say farewell to summer and hello to autumn. And preferably, we do that with some good cocktails in hand.

Before you get too worked up about the end of pool parties and sunblock, know this: Summer officially lasts until September 22. So, while the school buses and brisker evenings may say otherwise, you have every right to be your summer best for about another month. We can’t think of a better way to do that than with these well-engineered Labor Day cocktails.

This Labor Day weekend, do what the holiday asks that you do and relax. Really, recline your favorite outdoor chair another notch, pull your hat over your eyes, and exhale deeply. In between long, lazy breaths, enjoy one of these impeccable drinks. Here are the best summer cocktails we’re most excited to try this Labor Day weekend.

Blue Cenote Cocktail with garnish.
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Blue Cenote

The idea here is a dazzling cocktail that reminds you of a glorious beach somewhere in Mexico. It’s a tropical wonder that will help you extend your summer for a little while longer.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Herradura Silver Tequila
  • 1/2 ounce blue curaçao
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce honey syrup
  • 5 dashes aromatic bitters


  • Combine all the ingredients, except bitters, in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake to chill and combine the ingredients.
  • Fill hurricane glass with crushed ice.
  • Float aromatic bitters over the top of the cocktail and garnish with pineapple and flowers.
Bold + Mint Tea cocktail with wine bottle.
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Bold + Mint Tea

(Created by Pamela Wiznitzer)

This crafty concoction utilizes tea-infused Pinot Grigio, a shockingly simple thing to make that you’ll want to use in more cocktails going forward.


  • 4 ounces Brooklyn Tea Hibiscus tea infused Ecco Domani*
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • Fresh mint
  • Lime wheels for garnish

*Tea-Infused Ecco Domani: In a glass, add one tea bag with 4 oounces of wine. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes.


  • In a highball glass or another glass of your choosing.
  • Add ice and lay out the lime wheels alongside the inside of the wall of the glass (being held in place with the ice).
  • Add the simple syrup and lime juice into the infusion after 15 minutes.
  • Stir and pour over the highball glass.
  • Garnish with fresh mint on top.
Ultra Fashioned cocktail spread.
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Ultra Fashioned

This balanced berry drink dampens the sting of tequila with fresh strawberry notes and some added aromatics on behalf of the bitters. And the flower and strawberry garnish makes this one stand out as a summer cocktail.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Herradura Ultra
  • 1/2 ounce strawberry syrup
  • 2 dashes of aromatic bitters
  • Strawberry and edible flower for garnish


  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir to chill and combine ingredients.
  • Strain into a double old-fashioned glass over a large ice cube.
  • Garnish with the strawberry and edible flower.
The Honeypot Cocktail spread.
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The Honeypot

(Created by Erik Delanoy)

About the only thing better than the honey and single malt scotch combo involves mixing the spirit with nut-infused honey, per the recipe below.


  • 2 ounces The Macallan Double Cask 12-Year Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Murray’s Chestnut Honey
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters


  • Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake until chilled, and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Averna Limonata Cocktail on bar.
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Averna Limonata

Sometimes, you want something with less alcohol that you can sip all afternoon (and all weekend). Here’s the drink for doing just that. Averna is an Italian amaro or bitter liqueur made from herbs, spices, roots, and citrus. It is thick and dark brown in color with a spiced, citrusy taste.


  • 2 parts Averna
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1/2 part simple syrup
  • Club soda


  • Serve swizzle style with crushed ice; garnish with seasonal herbs (mint, rosemary, or sage).
  • Top with soda water.
Marigold Margarita with bottle.
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Marigold Margarita

This take on the classic margarita blends hibiscus, citrus, and tequila, and this lively cocktail tastes as good as it looks. If you’re having trouble finding the Monin hibiscus syrup in your area, you can order it directly from Monin at the company’s website.


  • 2 ounces Espolòn Blanco
  • 1/2 ounce Monin hibiscus syrup
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice


  • Build the drink in a tin, add ice, shake, and strain over fresh ice.
Flora Fizz cocktail.
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Flora Fizz

Want to end summer luxuriously? Try this number, made with saffron syrup for a true taste of splendor. Topo Chico is a naturally carbonated sparkling mineral water that is imported from Mexico.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Primavera
  • 1/2 ounce white tea
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce saffron syrup
  • 1 ounce Topo Chico


  • Add all the ingredients except sparkling to a shaker tin with ice.
  • Shake and strain into glass and top with Topo Chico.
La Catrina Negra cocktail display.
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La Catrina Negra

This lovely cocktail mixes up mezcal with the cooling and brambly flavors of fresh berries and fruit liqueur.


  • 1 1/2 ounces The Lost Explorer Espadín
  • 1 1/3 ounces lime juice
  • 1 ounce blackberries
  • 3/4 ounce Chambord
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Fresh basil frond and blackberries for garnish


  • Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  • Give it a strong shake to muddle the blackberries.
  • Strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.
  • Garnish with a fresh basil frond and blackberries.
Paolo's Boutique cocktail on a table.
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Paolo’s Boutique

(Created by Via Mare, Greydon House)

This standout spritz harnesses the power of a bracing alpine amaro. It’s a palate-awakening gem that’ll energize your soul.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Cocchi Americano Rosa
  • 1 ounce Braulio Alpine Amaro
  • 1 dash Bitterman’s Burlesque Bitters
  • Prosecco to top
  • Orange twist


  • Combine all ingredients in a highball or wine glass with ice, except for Prosecco, and stir to chill.
  • Top with Prosecco and garnish with an orange twist.
Casa Limone Cocktail on table.
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Casa Limone

Limoncello is one of the classic flavors of summer. Put it to great use with this Italian-inspired cocktail.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Limoncello Vivere
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce club soda


  • In a shaker, muddle the mint leaves with lemon juice and simple syrup.
  • Add ice and limoncello then shake.
  • Pour in a rocks glass and top with the club soda.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and mint leaf.
Citrus Bomb Gin and Tonic cocktail.
John Pisarri

Citrus Bomb gin and tonic

(Created by Naren Young, Sweet Liberty)

Nothing screams summertime more than citrusy flavors just like this zesty take on a classic gin and tonic.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Fords
  • 1/4 ounce Italicus
  • Bar spoon Suze
  • Bar spoon grapefruit oleo Saccharum
  • Bar spoon lemon juice
  • 1 dash lemon bitters


  • Fill a wine glass with ice, then add all the ingredients.
  • Top with Q tonic and stir.
  • Garnish with 1 lemon wheel, 1 lime wheel, and 1 orange wheel
Head of Lettuce cocktail.
Felipe Cuevas

A Head of Lettuce

This cocktail from Warren in Delray Beach, Florida, will appeal to the healthy-minded imbibers out there, combining olive oil, lettuce, and fresh juice.


  • 2 ounces Wheatley Vodka
  • 1 ounce fresh-pressed citrus juice
  • 1 ounce cane syrup
  • 1 leaf romaine lettuce
  • Bar spoon olive oil


  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin.
  • Shake for 10 seconds.
  • Double strain and serve in a chilled coupe.
  • Garnish with salt & pepper and chili oil.
Oaxacan Kiss cocktail and bottle.
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Oaxacan Kiss

Blending smoky mezcal, sweet and punchy lemongrass, along with rice vinegar and chai, this layered cocktail just keeps giving, well after the first sip.


  • 1 3/4 ounces Mezcal Doña Vega
  • 3/4 ounce lemongrass syrup
  • 1/4 ounce rice vinegar
  • Soda and chai tea
  • Lime wheel for garnish


  • Pour mezcal into a glass and add the syrup and rice vinegar.
  • Top with soda and chai tea and garnish with lime wheel.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Rosé Sangria

Nothing says summer cocktail like a fruity sangria. The combination of wine and fruity flavors is like summer in a glass. And one of the best things about sangria is that it can be made ahead of time, so you can serve your Labor Day party guests right when they arrive. This recipe from uses rosé wine and pamplemousse liqueur, which is made from the zest of pink grapefruit.


  • 1 bottle rosé wine, chilled
  • 4 ounces pamplemousse liqueur
  • 3/4 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin rounds
  • Chilled club soda to top


  • Add the wine, pamplemousse liqueur, raspberries, strawberries, and lemon rounds into a pitcher and stir to combine.
  • Chill for up to 4 hours.
  • Pour into wine goblets and top with club soda.

Looking for other Labor Day cocktail ideas? Here are grilled cocktail recipes to enjoy this Labor Day weekend.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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