Summer is the time to get out and have some fun. There's no need to wait until you get home to enjoy your favorite drinks, though. Many cocktails can be made ahead and taken along on your adventures. There's a mixed drink perfect for any summer activity, from a day at the beach or afternoon picnic to a weekend campout or barbecue.
When making to-go cocktails, you'll want to have a proper container. Insulated travel mugs and large jugs will help keep your drinks cold all day. You can also mix up drinks in glass jars. If you're sharing with a group, be sure to have travel-worthy cups and plenty of ice in the cooler. Of course, a flask is a good option for short drinks.
Follow the Law
- Do check the Open Container Law in your city and state before imbibing on any alcoholic beverage to go.
- Do not drink and drive.
01 of 15
There are many ways in which to take in a beautiful summer day whether you are active in it or just chilling and watching others enjoy it. Bring this cocktail translation of a summer breeze with you to bear witness to the serenityy. The drink mixes bourbon and orange liqueur with ginger ale and can easily be scaled up to make multiple drinks.
Make To-Go: At home, muddle the fresh orange, add the liquors, and stir the drink with ice to get a good dilution. Strain it into your to-go container of choice and add the soda. This can be a strong drink, so it's best to double up on the ginger ale.
Vessel: Insulated flip-top tumbler or bottle
Carbonated beverages can cause some container lids to stick or, worse, explode. Caused by the build-up of gas, it typically only occurs when the drink is sealed up for several hours (or longer).
To prevent this, either:
- Mix the still ingredients in the container and take any carbonated mixers along in their original bottles.
- Make drinks just before leaving home and open the lid occasionally to relieve pressure.
02 of 15
Watermelon is the star fruit of summer barbecues. Rather than juice it to make a cocktail, add the liquor directly to the fruit. This vodka-spiked watermelon recipe is straightforward and prepped the previous day, making it a quick take-along to the park or a friend's backyard.
Make To-Go: All you need to do is cut a hole in the melon, insert a bottle of vodka, and let the juicy flesh soak up the alcohol. (A marinade injector works, too.) Once you get to the party, cut it into wedges, and an adults-only treat is ready to serve.
Vessel: Whole watermelon
03 of 15
Forget the juice packs and sodas; the lime rickey is an ideal nonalcoholic drink for a family picnic in the park. It's fresh, tart, and sparkling and takes just a few minutes to make.
Make To-Go: Mix the fresh-squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and seltzer in an insulated jug with ice.
Vessel: Insulated jug and unbreakable tumblers for serving
04 of 15
Enjoyed in the U.K. during tennis and cricket matches, the Pimm's cup is perfect for a day of golf as well. The recipe requires just two ingredients, and the mix of Pimm's No. 1 liqueur with sparkling lemonade is the ultimate refreshment.
Make To-Go: Combine the ingredients before leaving the house. If you add the cucumber, orange, and strawberry garnishes to the pre-mixed drink, the fruits will infuse it with flavor on the way.
Vessel: Collapsible water bottleContinue to 5 of 15 below.
05 of 15
The watermelon margarita is a great cocktail to make in Mason jars. The jars take the place of a cocktail shaker, and each holds an individual drink. It's a great last-minute choice when you're headed out for a day of window shopping with friends.
Make To-Go: At home, muddle the watermelon, add tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, and seal it up. Shake the drinks with just a little ice, and you can avoid straining.
Vessel: Mason jar
06 of 15
Sangria is an ideal make-ahead drink and even better when enjoyed while taking in the beauty of nature and art. Whether your adventure leads you to an arboretum or through a sculpture garden filled with creative artwork, this white wine sangria recipe is a great companion. It uses just a few ingredients, and it's crisp and refreshing, absolutely perfect for a hot day.
Make To-Go: Mix it in a pitcher and refrigerate the night before, but hold the soda until it's time to go. Divide it into water bottles—one for each person—and be sure to include fruits in each, then top the bottle with soda. By the time you get to your destination, the flavor will be perfect.
Vessel: Water bottle with fruit infuser
07 of 15
When you're ready for a hiking adventure, pack a fresh tomato bloody mary in your backpack. This savory drink is filled with nutrition and spices to keep you going. Add some homemade granola bars, and you have the makings for brunch on the trail.
Make To-Go: Make the bloody mary mix in a thermal tumbler with a good seal, and be sure to add ice to keep it cool. Taking a flask of vodka, tequila, or whiskey lets you spike it on the go and gives you the option of a spicy booze-free tomato drink along the trail.
Vessel: Thermal tumbler and flask
08 of 15
Fruit slushies are healthy take-along drinks if you have a good thermal container. Ideal for a bike ride, you're going to love this low-sugar frozen strawberry lemonade. It's sweet and tart, and sure to keep you cool on the ride. While the recipe uses sugar-free sweeteners, you can easily replace those with a homemade keto simple syrup.
Make To-Go: Get your gear ready, then blend the slushy up and pour it into a very well insulated container right before heading out the door. Don't forget to rinse out the blender so it's easier to clean properly when you get back.
Vessel: Thermal water bottleContinue to 9 of 15 below.
09 of 15
When you're enjoying a campfire with friends, it's easy to reach into the cooler for a cold beer. Take that a step further: pack some lemonade in the cooler, then mix up a fresh shandy. While this refreshing drink works with any beer, it's best with wheat beers and lagers.
Make To-Go: There are a few ways to make shandies on the go: Pour the lemonade and beer to taste in your favorite rugged tumbler, or drink half your beer and top the remainder with lemonade in the bottle. For a big batch of shandies to share around the fire, combine the ingredients in an insulated growler.
Vessel: Insulated growler or tumbler, or beer bottle
10 of 15
Sometimes you want to stay in the city but pretend you're at some far-away tropical destination. For fun in the sun close to home, the piña colada is a fantastic choice. Anywhere your adventure takes you, this drink is sure to be a hit, and there are a few ways to make it.
Make To-Go: Shake a round of coladas in an insulated water bottle and pack it in the cooler. Or, blend up a batch of frozen piña coladas, transfer to Mason jars with half an inch of headspace, and freeze until it's time to head out. And, for family affairs, skip the rum for virgin piña coladas.
Vessel: Insulted water bottle or Mason jars
11 of 15
Where there's sand, there should be a daiquiri or two. The strawberry daiquiri is always a hit on the beach, and it's another versatile recipe that you can enjoy as you please.
Make To-Go: Choose from the shaken version and strain it into a large flask, or make blended daiquiris and keep them frozen. The other option is to pack the ingredients in a cooler and mix daiquiris on-site with a portable blender.
Vessel: Flask, jars, or portable blender
12 of 15
Some cocktails are better suited to certain occasions, and the blue Hawaiian is just begging to be savored by the water. The rum drink mixes pineapple juice and cream of coconut and gets that stunning blue-green color from blue curaçao. With little effort, you'll have a delicious tropical cocktail to sip throughout the day.
Make To-Go: Shake up a few drinks at once with ice and strain the mix into an insulated tumbler filled with ice, then keep it well-chilled.
Vessel: Insulated tumblerContinue to 13 of 15 below.
13 of 15
Ideal for a walking date any time of day, this watermelon cosmo is quick and simple. Adding watermelon liqueur to the vodka-cranberry cosmopolitan gives this favorite drink a delicious summer-worthy twist. It's also a low-proof cocktail, so there's no worry about getting too tipsy.
Make To-Go: Shake the cosmo with ice at home, then strain into a flask. If it's the first date and you're unsure if they drink, replace the liqueur with fresh watermelon juice, then have a flask of vodka on hand just in case.
Vessel: Flask (or two)
14 of 15
Fruity iced tea drinks are a great match for watching the sunset. Cool and refreshing, spiking it with whiskey ensures a relaxing end to the day, too. In the summer peach tea recipe, a peach liqueur serves double-duty to sweeten and flavor the mix.
Make To-Go: Make as much as you like and store it in the fridge until it's time to go out for the evening. If you want to spike the tea at the beach, pour the liquors into individual glass containers (it's a great way to recycle clean condiment jars) and keep the tea cold in a water bottle.
Vessel: Water bottle or insulated jug
15 of 15
Spirit-heavy drinks are good choices when you want to fill a flask for a walking nightcap. An ideal candidate for summer nights is the Manhattan 101. It's a variation on the perfect Manhattan that pairs dry and sweet vermouth with bourbon. A little ginger and mint give this favorite whiskey cocktail a warm-weather vibe that's sure to please.
Make To-Go: Make according to the recipe, straining out the muddled ingredients as you funnel the cocktail into a flask.