10 Low-Key Cocktails That Are Perfect for Day Drinking

By Justine Sterling |

Refreshing, lightly boozy Pimms Cups come with a built-in cucumber snack. © Helene Dujardin

Expert day drinkers are not born—they are made. It is a nuanced skill: You have to drink enough to maintain a buzz but not so much that you’re passed out under the grill before the sun sets. The key to making it all the way into the night is a great low-alcohol cocktail. Here, 10 refreshing drinks that will get you tipsy without knocking you over. (Plus, check out #FWSummer on F&W’s Instagram for even more Memorial Day party ideas.)

1. Michelada Gingembre 

This spicy take on a Shandygaff (citrus soda mixed with lager) is made with fresh ginger juice and a dash of hot sauce.

2. Americano 

This classic, refreshing cocktail is a lot like a spritzy, less boozy Negroni.

3. Pimm’s Cup 

One of Britain’s best contributions to the drinking world, this classic fruit cooler is the height of refreshment sophistication.

4. Pamplemousse 

This grapefruit-y cocktail is a great pick-me-up.

5. Hard Cider Sangria 

Not all sangria is made with wine—this one is made with hard cider spiked with lemon juice and apple brandy.

6. Late-Harvest Wine and Campari Cocktails 

Sweet wine plus bitter Campari equals a perfect cocktail to sip while grilling.

7. Marseille Can You See? 

In France, anise-flavored pastis is often sipped while playing pétanque (a lot like bocce ball, but French). Here, it’s mixed with dry vermouth, orange juice and lime juice for a lawn game–friendly sipper.

8. Cilantro Cooler 

This light, summery cilantro-spiked drink is a perfect accompaniment to chips and salsa.

9. Ginger Shandies 

If you can open a bottle of beer, you can make this easy pitcher drink.

10. Italian Spritz Punch

This crowd-friendly punch is an herbaceous take on an Aperol spritz.

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