10 Three-Ingredient Summer Cocktail Recipes

on June 18, 2015

A Beautiful Mess

For the Budget-Savvy Bartender

For summer, you need an arsenal of quick, go-to cocktails that won't break your budget. These three-ingredient libations provide thrifty, eyebrow-raising options for your next get-together (or personal night in) that will take the edge off-without the guilt attached to a hefty bar tab.

Maureen Petrosky

The Black Lily

Cointreau + Fernet-Branca + Freshly-Squeezed Lime Juice

The basics here are an orange-flavored liqueur, a bitter herbal liqueur, and a touch of lime. While Cointreau and Fernet-Branca are on the pricier side, use this recipe as an inspirational baseline, and simply substitute with a cheaper triple sec and Ju00e4germeister-like liqueur. And of course, don't forget the lime! Use the inspiration recipe, found here.

A Beautiful Mess

Whiskey Lemonade

Whiskey + Lemonade + Honey Stick

This cocktail is so easy and so summery, it's destined to be at the top of our go-to cocktail list. Just find a low-price whiskey and some cheap lemonade, and you're set. Garnish with lemon and a honey stick (or a drizzle of honey at the bottom) if you're feeling fancy. We got the recipe here.

Marie Claire


Captain Morgan Grapefruit Rum + Lime + Grapefruit Soda

One, two, three, and you'll suddenly be on island time. Find an inexpensive spiced rum that you like, and pick up your favorite grapefruit soda (like Fresca or, our personal favorite, Trader Joe's). Throw in some lime juice, and you'll be ready to set sail with one sip. Find it here.

Nora Ruu0161ev

Strawberry Lime Champagne

Pink champagne + Strawberry pureu00e9 + Lime Juice

Find a cheap bottle of pink champagne or prosecco, add puru00e9ed strawberries and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, or whatever you have on hand, or nothing at all! Light, bubbly, refreshing-and it looks expensive (your secret's safe with us). Get the recipe here.

Natalie at Tastes Lovely

Cucumber Lime Margaritas

Cucumber Juice + Silver Tequila + Lime Juice

Pureu00e9 and strain two cucumbers, add your favorite silver tequila, spritz with lime juice, and there you have it! This cool skinny cocktail is ultra lightu2013and light on the wallet. Find the inspiration here.

Rachel Willis

Agua Loca

Pineapple Juice + Coconut Rum + Maraschino Cherries

It's so cheap, and goes down so smooth, this Agua Loca could become a hazard to our health. Mix pineapple juice with your favorite bottom-shelf coconut rum. Garnish with Maraschino cherries, and serve on ice! You'll probably want to make a pitcher. Get the recipe here.

Tammilee Tips

Moscow Mule

Ginger Beer + Vodka + Lime

This classic drink served in a chilly copper mug is making a comeback. Ginger beer, like Gosling's or Reed's, can be found by the seltzer water or in the soda aisle most of the time for a few bucks, and its zesty kick is what makes this drink special. Add whatever vodka you have sitting around and a half a lime...voila! Perfect for a summer afternoon. Find it here.

A Beautiful Mess

Gin and Grapefruit

Gin + Grapefruit Juice + Rosemary Garnish

Next time you host a get-together and need an easy drink recipe off hand, remember this one. With really only two main ingredients, this bitter-sweet, herbal cocktail is a party-pleaser that won't make a dent in your wallet. Find the recipe here.

Catherine Sheppard

Mint Gimlet

Lime Juice + Simple syrup + Vodka + Mint Leaves

Okay, while this drink does have more than three ingredients, it's hardly a deal breaker. All of the ingredients are super cheap, and you may even have most of them in your house already. The muddled mixture of mint and lime is similar to a mojito but skips out on soda water. Traditional gimlets use gin, but you can substitute whichever clear alcohol you prefer. We found the recipe here.

Brittany Wood

Screwdriver Mule

Smirnoff ICE Screwdriver + Ginger beer + Lime Juice

Pickup a six-pack of Smirnoff ICE Screwdrivers, ginger beer, and limes, and you've got another cheap summer cocktail that satisfies. It's an easy way of skipping out on buying straight liquor and puts a fun spin on the Moscow Mule. Rim your glass with sweet and sour candy powder for an added sugar buzz. Find the recipe here.

Beth Branch

The Southern Lady

Cathead Pecan Vodka + Peach Sweet Tea + Fresh Peaches

This cocktail is perfect for an evening of porch-sittin'-watching fireflies flicker with cicadas humming in the background. Warning: luxurious Southern atmosphere not included, but with pecan vodka, plump peaches, and sweet tea, you'll be able to take it easy (just like a true Southerner) and relax after a long, hot day. If you can't find Cathead in stores, try Pinnacle Pecan Pie vodka or maybe even a sweet, low-priced whiskey or bourbon. We love this unique recipe found here.

Meredith Noelle

Honeysuckle Vodka Lemonade

Honeysuckle Vodka + Lemonade + Club Soda

Another not to Cathead vodka (we can't get enough of their unique flavors). This particular brand can be purchased online for what may or may not be a slight splurge for you at about $20. If you add lemonade and club soda, you'll be sold. Find the recipe here.

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