pisco cocktail recipe
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This is the year when even the most ardent spring breakers should be staying home. Social distancing is incredibly important during the coronavirus crisis, but it’s OK to be disappointed you can’t go somewhere more alluring than your patio (if you’re lucky). It’s also still possible to sip like you are on vacation with these tropical drink recipes.

And however sobering the news right now, there’s still a reason to celebrate the fact we’re coming out of our winter cocoon that is the faux fur blanket and the couch facing squarely towards Netflix. Which is why it’s time to introduce some new tropical cocktails to your home bar menu that will make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean cruise even if you’re still on that couch (or on the roof of your apartment building lying about in a fold out lawn chair…six feet away from anyone else who’s up there).

And if you feel like inviting friends over—well, don’t; but share the recipe for a pool-ready punch that tastes like sunshine, even if the closest you’ve gotten to a body of water lately is the bathtub, and set up a Zoom hangout so you can all have a virtual happy hour.

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For a killer spring break staycation, all you need are a few classic tropical ingredients: fruit juice (fresh is obviously best, but no one’s gonna judge you for getting the bottled stuff) and a spirit that says, “Ah, I’m on vacation.” And who doesn’t love a little white rum? Each of the drinks on our spring break staycation cocktail list has a tropical feel, but not the tacky paper umbrella, and will make you feel a warm Caribbean breeze—without ever having to leave your backyard, roof deck, or fire escape.

Shoreline Smash

The Real McCoy rum iced tea cocktail recipe

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Real McCoy

This mashup of rum and iced tea is like the pool party version of an Arnold Palmer, which basically just means it has delicious Barbadian rum in it. Fresh lime juice adds an extra kick.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Barbadian rum (such as The Real McCoy 3 Year Rum)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces iced tea
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  • 2 fresh berries of your choosing (blueberries and blackberries work well)


Add ingredients to an ice-filled glass and stir.

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Killah McCoy

The Real McCoy rum coconut pineapple cocktail recipe

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Real McCoy

A sipper with everything tropical: coconut, pineapple juice, and orange juice. Add some Barbadian rum, and we’ll have another, please.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Barbadian rum (such as The Real McCoy 3 Year Rum)
  • 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 3/4 ounces cream of coconut
  • 3/4 ounces orange juice
  • Dash of fresh lime juice


Shake and strain ingredients into a glass.

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velvet falernum grapefruit cocktail recipe

Recipe and photo courtesy of Gato

This cocktail from Bobby Flay’s Gato in New York City, has the fruity kick of grapefruit vodka and falernum, a syrupy liquor that comes from the Caribbean. So basically sunshine in a glass.


  • 2 ounces grapefruit vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters


Shake and strain over fresh ice, garnish with a lemon twist.

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Petit Socco

pisco cocktail recipe

Recipe courtesy of Dirty French; photo by Noah Fecks

This fruity drink by Lev Choubine at Dirty French in NYC uses Pisco, a South American brandy (a spirit that’s distilled from wine), that goes down easy, especially with a splash of pineapple juice and cilantro herbs at the bottom of the glass.


  • 2 ounces Pisco
  • 1/2 ounce Pineau De Charentes
  • 1/2 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce cane syrup
  • One bunch of cilantro


Add ingredients to shaker and shake. Layer Collins glass with cilantro at the bottom, fill the rest with crushed ice and pour over. Garnish with fresh pineapples slices.

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Watermelon Refresher

Porter House watermelon cocktail recipe

Recipe and photo courtesy of Porter House

This cool and refreshing drink from New York’s Porter House Bar and Grill is much more sophisticated than what you drank in college, and you can basically drink it all day long—because watermelon juice is hydrating, right?


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces watermelon juice
  • 1/2 ounce cucumber juice
  • 1/4 ounce lime
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup


Combine ingredients in a shaker, give it a hard shake, and serve over ice in a highball. Garnish with watermelon cubes.

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Header image courtesy of Noah Fecks.

Julie Vadnal is a writer and founder of the newsletter JULES. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Glamour, and Real Simple. Follow her on Instagram at @julievadnal.
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