Our Favorite Summer Drinks

A line of colorful drinks with fruit and garnishes

Summers are made for happy hours on the patio with a cool drink in your hand. We’re kind of experts on drinking, so here are our recs for delicious summer cocktails, which can be enjoyed on any of these amazing patios in Grand Rapids.

Iced Red Wine

Red wine can be enjoyed all year round, just add ice. We prefer a nice Pinot Noir or Cab on ice, but really any red will do.

It’s great on the go, pour into your Yeti and head out to the boat, cabin, beach, your backyard…it is perfect for any locale. 

Singapore Sling…ish

This one is for all the gin lovers out there. Sure, there are official ways to make this cocktail, but we’re throwing them out the window because who needs rules anyway? Okay? Okay.

You’re gonna need:

  • Gin
  • Lime simple syrup (or lime juice and simple syrup. Or lemon juice. Or lemonade. We aren’t picky.)
  • Benedictine
  • Cherry liquor
  • Club soda
  • A buncha ice

Add all that stuff up until it tastes refreshing. You’re going to want more cherry than you think. Then stir it up, garnish with whatever you’ve got on hand, and feel fancy.

Good Ole’ Glass of White Wine

Three people toast glasses of white wine.

Hey, don’t judge. We know what you’re thinking — “that whole office loves drinking but they’re just going to tell me drink plain ole wine?!”. Yes, yes, we are. White wine at that. Now get yourself some summer plans on a boat or a beach somewhere and just add ice.

Steps.

  1. Crank the twisty top off.
  2. Pour into a mug, tumbler, seashell— anything that holds liquid.
  3. Guzzle.

Voilá, you’re sipping in style on a budget. You’re welcome.

Dirty Shirley

A refreshing Dirty Shirley sits on a table

It’s the drink of the summer, but I bet you already knew that. The people are reclaiming the classic Shirley Temple and putting a vodka-inspired twist on it. Feel the nostalgia and grab those maraschino cherries (plus a few other things) and drink up:

  • Vodka
  • Grenadine
  • Lemon-lime soda
  • Cherry for garnish (We won’t tell if you add more than one.)

Cheers.

Hurricane

The 8THIRTYFOUR team loves a frosty hurricane cocktail.

This is a great one for summer in Michigan or let’s be serious, anywhere and anytime.

It’s made with rum, lemon juice, and then either passion fruit syrup or some fancy red syrup called fassionola…but we won’t tell if you use the leftover juice at the bottom of your maraschino cherry jar.

To make it:

  • Combine over-proofed rum, dark rum, light rum, your passion fruit syrup (or whatever you’ve got on hand), and lemon juice. Shake ’em up with some ice.
  • Pour it into your glass.
  • Enjoy.

French 75

The French 75 is a great cocktail for summer.

Crisp, classy, and versatile the French 75 might be named after a gun, but it’s a lot more delicate than the name implies. This drink is a great, boozier substitute for Mimosas or a finer way to enjoy your gin outside of ginger ale/beer. Plus, it’s two types of alcohol… need we say more?

Ingredients: One ounce or shot of gin, ½ ounce lemon juice, ½ ounce simple syrup, 3 ounces champagne, lemon twist garnish (if you’re fancy).

Assembly:

  • Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a shaker with ice
  • Shake it, obviously
  • Strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne
  • Garnish with lemon twist

Gin Basil Smash

When in doubt, pour a gin basil smash for summer!

If gin wasn’t herbally enough for you already, lets throw some f*cking basil into the mix, shall we?

What you’ll need:

  • 2 oz Gin, duh. The dryer the better.
  • 12 leaves of fresh basil
  • ¾ fl oz lemon juice
  • ⅓ fl oz simple syrup

How to make it happen:

  • Muddle the hell of those basil leaves in the bottom of a shaker
  • Add the other ingredients
  • Shake the hell out of it
  • Strain into an ice fill glass

This is actually quite tasty with ginger beer too, sub the simple syrup and lemon juice, just add lime. Is this blasphemy? We don’t know, we’re marketers, not mixologists.

P.S. If you were wondering why there’s so much gin in this blog, there are two people who picked some sort of gin bevvy as their “Drink of Choice” on their business cards. Deal with it. 

Top 3 Summer Beers

Because there’s no way we can pick just one…or have just one. It’s summer—you get it. While it’s worth exploring the massive variety of options Grand Rapids has to offer, there are three that should be at the top of every beer lover’s cooler.

Beach Patrol, Summer Wheat Ale – Brewery Vivant

C’mon, it’s in the name. A light wheat ale with peppercorns and orange peel, you can’t go wrong here. When summer’s over, fear not—its brother Ski Patrol is just around the corner.

Striker, Premium American Lager – Lost Art Brewhouse

A small relatively unknown brewery that is putting out some incredible beers. This lager is crisp, easy-going, and crushable AF. If that’s not your style, try the Dune Climber (Triple IPA) or one of their wild ice cream beers, like the Raspberry Sorbet Vanilla Ice Cream Milkshake—yummmmm.

Chromatic Shatter, Hazy Pale Ale – Broadleaf Brewery and Spirits

Talus, mosaic, and citrus hops…we hate self-referential hop heads but if that’s you, you gotta try this one. They sell it in cans but we highly recommend heading to the brewery and trying it on tap. You will not be disappointed. 

Finally…water. With all this drinking you’re gonna need to stay hydrated.

We want to see your beverage pics! Share the love by using the hashtag #8THIRTYPOUR or reach out and let us know what drink we’re missing.

What are you waiting for? Share this awesome post!

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