“I like to have a martini/ Two at the very most/After three I’m under the table/ After four, I’m under my host.”

American poet and critic Dorothy Parker is credited with that witticism, but it’s rumored to be a misattribution. We can confirm, however, that martinis evoke a sophisticated aura, whether it’s the architectural glass with the long, slender stem and sharp, triangle-shaped bowl or the no-nonsense mixture within.

A good martini must have a top-shelf vodka or gin. There’s no hiding the quality of the main liquor. With a martini, you can’t mask cheap liquor with too much fruit juice and froth. Summer calls for a little more frivolity though. You let your hair down, and you invite more ingredients into your martini than you might normally at an indoor cocktail party.

If you’re planning on lounging beside the sparkling waters and luxuriating under the sunshine with a cocktail (or three) this summer, consider these loosely defined martini recipes. Taste luxury at its finest.

1. Key Lime Pie Martini

3 Yummy Tummies

The only thing “martini” about this drink is the glass and shaker. Oh, and maybe the vanilla vodka. But who cares? You’re drinking by the pool! Key lime pie is so South Florida, where it’s almost always summer and pools are plentiful. Get the recipe.

2. Grapefruit Basil Martini


More classic than the pie martini, this California-created drink is a slice of paradise, blending tartness with herbal sweetness.  Get the recipe.

3. Refreshing Mango Martini

Taste the Islands

Less traditional than the gin + vermouth martini, this gin martini has one of the most tropical fruits infused in it to give it a more island feel. The Triple Sec helps too. So forgive its sweetness. The drink comes by it honestly. Get the recipe.

4. Cucumber Gin and Elderflower Martini

Kitchen Swagger

This is a great summer martini for those who don’t like even remotely sweet drinks. Gin is less common than vodka in martinis, but it’s a martini for sure. The elderberry liqueur enhances the herbal notes natural to gin. Get the recipe.

5. El Caribe

Mix That Drink

OK, this might be the furthest from a martini with mostly lemon-flavored rum and blue curacao in there, plus Cointreau. It’s beautiful, tropical, and it will chill you out. Get the recipe.

6. Fresh Tomato-Basil Martini


You might as well take advantage of summer’s fresh tomatoes and basil and make it into a martini. Consider it a seasonal rendition. Get our Fresh Tomato-Basil Martini recipe.

7. Lemon Meringue Martini

I'm Bored Let's Go

Instead of a lemon drop martini, whip up a little egg white and make this bright summer pie of a drink that’s tart with a boozy kick. Get the recipe.

8. Watermelon Martini

Delicious As It Looks

While many fruits remind us of summer, watermelon may be the most of the most-est. You can’t find it at supermarkets when it’s not in season. So celebrate pool season with a kick of vodka mixed with your watermelon. Get the recipe.

9. Perfect Martini


Above all else, master this classic martini. After that, everything else is gravy. Get our Perfect Martini recipe.

— Head photo: Home Away.


Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.
See more articles