As summer starts to sizzle, you’re likely heading for the nearest body of water and diving in. When water’s not an option, or you’re seeking something even more refreshing, you need summer cocktails. And the best of all worlds? Sipping a cocktail poolside, lakeside, beachfront or while floating on a raft! But which seasonal cocktails are best, and how can you look like a rockstar host, pairing drinks with delicious (and easy) vegetarian summer foods? Check out these summer cocktail recipes and Vevan’s meal pairing suggestions for a totally chill, totally plant-based summer!

Summer Cocktail: Negroni

A 100-year old Italian classic, a negroni is often noted as a summer cocktail with an acquired taste. With equal parts gin, vermouth and campari, then garnished with an orange slice or peel, we pick this drink for its ease of makeability:

1 oz. gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari

Mix liquids with ice; strain into a rocks glass over large cubes and garnish with orange.

Why we like it: technically, a negroni is an aperitif, meant to be enjoyed prior to a meal and believed to whet an appetite. When you’re serving a delicious vegan dinner, it’s a great introduction to the star of the evening! Plus, it’s super simple, slightly bitter, and has just a hint of citrus for a non-confrontational drink guests can slowly sip and enjoy while catching up on the summer scene. Feeling wild? Check out these variations of this classic drink.

Pairs well with: since it really is a pre-dinner drink, consider pairing it with our Vevan Charcuterie Board or better yet, these Savory & Sweet Charcuterie Cups for maximum portability by the pool. If you’re looking for a full meal, stick with the Italian vibes, like this Grilled Tempeh Salad or Marinated Mozza Pasta Salad to make all your cheese-lovin’ dreams come true!

Summer Cocktail: Summer Sour

There’s something about lemon and lime that just screams summer. Citrus fashion is also so in season this year, so be sure to sport your favorite outfit while sipping a summer sour! While traditionally made with egg white, we think this version is lighter and dreamier for those midsummer nights:

2 oz. rum, tequila, whiskey or your favorite clear liquor
½ oz. fresh lime or lemon juice
1 ½ oz. fruit syrup of your choice (in a pinch, fruit juice will do)

Combine liquids in shaker and shake. Add ice and shake again, vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into chilled glass and garnish as desired.

Why we like it: this spirited drink is extremely versatile, giving its mixmaster freedom in choosing a flavor profile, or even serving made-to-order cocktails! Since it’s shaken with ice and strained, it doesn’t get easily watered down and has a fun fizziness to it.

Pairs well with: consider Vevan’s Curried Chickpea Salad & P’Jack Pinwheels for an easy appetizer, then lean into the citrus appeal with our Creamy Polenta with Roasted Beets & Orange. Featuring Vevan Mozza-Shred, the nuttiness of the beets (fresh from your garden or local produce stand) balances perfectly with the orange, creating a memorable dish your taste buds won’t soon forget.

Summer Mocktail: Peach & Mango Spritzer

Straight from the playbook of our friends at Bon Appétit, this non-alcoholic concoction is the ultimate refresher! Follow the instructions for the Super Summer Fruit Syrup to enjoy the added benefits of the chamomile, turmeric and ginger – antioxidants and anti-inflammatory herbs and spices:

7–8 oz. chilled sparkling water
3–4 oz. Super Summer Fruit Syrup

Pour into ice-filled tall glass, stir and enjoy!

Why we like it: everyone can enjoy this treat, even the kiddos! Plus, with so many sparkling water flavors out there, the recipe options are endless. If you’re seeking a spiked version, substitute a fruity hard seltzer.

Pairs well with: keep things light with our Summer Glow Green Goodness Salad With Vevan Mozza Crisps. This healthy, hearty salad provides the perfect crunch with apples, snow peas, almonds, and of course, the Vevan Mozza-Shred crisps. Enjoy this combo in the peak of summer and feel re-energized with its green and herbal rewards.

Summer Cocktail: Watermelon Vodka Slushies

Ice + Fruit + Alcohol = the ultimate summer treat

For those incredibly hot summer afternoons and nights, say hello to this Watermelon Vodka Slushie. Come mid-July, watermelons are plentiful and affordable, so pick one up at the store and set aside 4 cups of cubed watermelon. While you do need to prepare the fruit the night before (or earlier in the day), this sweet treat is totally worth it:

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 cup chilled (preferably frozen) vodka

Arrange watermelon in a 9×13 dish. Dissolve sugar into lime or lemon juice, spread over watermelon, and freeze for at least 4 hours; up to 24 hours. Combine contents of dish (watermelon and any leftover juices) with vodka in blender. Pour into fun glasses and garnish with drink umbrellas!

Why we like it: the watermelon does most of the work with its amazing, juicy flavor. If you’re not a fan of vodka, try a tropical rum, white wine, or leave it out all together. Not only will you stay cool, you’ll look cool sipping your slushie poolside!

Pairs well with: something that requires no oven! When it’s just too hot to cook, opt for handhelds like this Veggie Sandwich and chips. With lots of greens, crunchy veggies, and a few slices of Ched-Melts, you’ll have the perfect spread. Need something even more low-key? Pick up a few packs of our Vevan Snax or Marinated Mozza-Bites for an insanely delicious, outrageously awesome (and easy!) dinner.

Sip. Pair. Chill.

Sadly summer isn’t endless, so get the party started with these summer cocktail recipes and plant-based food pairings. When that summer sun calls to you, make sure you use plenty of sunscreen, grab a drink and get Vevafied!

What’s on the menu at your summer vegan cocktail party? Check out more food recipes on our website and Pinterest. Be sure to share your favorite pairings on social and tag us @vevanfoods.