Anatomy Of The Perfect Summer Cocktail

Modern entertaining means not only treating your guests to epic real-life experiences, but creating moments worthy of epic Instagrams. To get it done right, consider not only what’s in your cocktail, but also how it looks. In preparation for the perfect summer bbq, here are my tips for mixing the perfect drink to fit the season as well as the key ingredients to make it picture perfect.

A refreshing summer cocktail looks something like this: a clear spirit base (rum, gin, or vodka), citrus, and something to balance the tartness, like agave, simple syrup or a sweet liqueur. But that party’s just getting started. To make the cocktail visually interesting, getting creative with garnishes, add-ins, and ice is key.


  • Clear Spirit Base
  • Citrus
  • Agave, Simple Syrup, or a Sweet Liqueur
  • Ice
  • Garnish
  • Fun Glassware


  1. Ice:

    Use ice molds that create large, square blocks. They look beautiful, and they take longer to melt (and ultimately take longer to dilute the cocktail). Alternatively, use crushed ice for a summery sheen—but provide chic straws for quick consumption with style.

  2. Glassware:

    In our soon-to-launch app, the Liquor Cabinet, we suggest proper glassware for each cocktail that we feature. But we are also fans of having fun. Just because a recipe calls for high ball doesn't mean you can’t use a coupe, flute, or even a wine glass. Switch it up.

  3. Garnish, Add-Ins, and Color Stories:

    Picture-perfect cocktails call for brightly colored herbs and fruit bases and layers. Use your KitchenAid Mini to blend fresh fruit for eye popping color palettes. Lemon peel, orange slices, lime wheels, berries, bunches of mint and sprigs of rosemary are all fair in the garnish game -- and great ideas. The bonus is that any of these garnishes provide a waft of fragrance, adding complexity to the drink.

  4. Styling:

    When you have finished composing the perfect drink, it’s time to take your snap. My favorite styling trick is to scatter a few cubes of ice and fresh herbs next to the drink. And for the perfect backdrop, find a nice wood or concrete backdrop. I’ve been known to style the shot on the ground.