The 10 Best Cocktails for Day Drinking, Ranked

Drinking while the sun’s still high is an art, where the medium is crucial. Try to sip something overly liquorous, and you’ll be hammered before the sundial’s shadow creeps an inch. The trick is to serve something calibrated to facilitate high spirits spread over a long, hot afternoon. We’ve got you covered—here are 10 day-appropriate cocktails, ranked from worst to best.

10. Traditional Radler

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In German, the language of beer, radler means “cyclist.” In beverage terms, a radler is a kind of beer-based “sports drink”—lager mixed with a soft drink, similar to an English shandy—a refreshing pick-me-up for guzzling when you stop at a kneipe, a countryside tavern. Get our Traditional Radler recipe.

9. Aperol Spritz

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Aperol is an Italian aperitif made from a host of aromatic and tannic ingredients, and the Aperol Spritz, made with gently bubbly Prosecco wine, is a fine old Italian appetite whetter for warm weather—even for an appetite takes all day to whet. Get our Aperol Spritz recipe.

8. Mimosa

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It’s arguable that brunch never would’ve become a thing if the Mimosa hadn’t been invented. The simple mix of orange juice and bubbly can take you from first rising to late in the afternoon. Get our Mimosa recipe.

7. Moscow Mule

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Even without the copper mug that helped make this combo ov vodka, ginger beer, and lime popular in the 1950s and ‘60s, this easy-sipping daytime drinker can pack a kick. Get our Moscow Mule recipe.

6. Bloody Mary

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A ubiquitous bruncher, the Bloody is more lifestyle than recipe. Just as the tomato is one of the most fertile ingredients for cookery, tomato juice and vodka in the form of the Bloody Mary has been endlessly reinvented. Get our Bloody Mary recipe.

5. Tequila Sunrise

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Drinks writer Rob Chirico says the Tequila Sunrise—a blend of tequila and orange juice, with a grenadine glow at the bottom of the glass—is a Prohibition-era cocktail invented at the Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico, though it’s fueled many a daylong spring break rager. Get our Tequila Sunrise recipe.

4. Mint Julep

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A mixture of mint, sugar, and bourbon, but really: the julep is as much about ice as any of those ingredients. Even when the Kentucky Derby isn’t running, this is one to sip while contemplating the field. Get our Mint Julep recipe.

3. Pimm’s Cup

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Cool off Wimbledon-style. The Pimm’s Cup is to Wimbledon what the Mint Julep is to the Kentucky Derby. This cool, easy-drinking cocktail can sneak up on you, so sip slowly while you watch the matches. Get our Pimm’s Cup recipe.

2. Americano

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This Italian cooler (Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda) is just the thing to sip while seated at an outdoor table at Café Madeira in Milan. Goes down just as easy on a hot afternoon in Cleveland, too. Get our Americano recipe.

1. Tom Collins

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! The Tom C. is the consummate day drink (gin, lemon juice, and sugar, topped off with fizzy water) with a pedigree—a version of the modern cocktail was being sipped on muggy afternoons as far back as 1877. Get our Tom Collins recipe.

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