8 Portable Picnic Cocktails

picnic cocktails

If you’re heading to a picnic, beach party or potluck today, don’t just bring potato salad or pie. Be everyone’s favorite guest by showing up with a big bag of ice and a pitcher of one of these easily pre-batched summer cocktails.

1. Vino Francesca

This food-friendly sangria is made with fruity rosé.


1/3cup honey

1/3 cup boiling water

15 sage leaves, plus more for garnish

One 750-milliliter bottle rosé

Lemon twists, for garnish



In a small, heatproof bowl, stir the honey into the boiling water until dissolved. Add the 15 sage leaves and muddle them with a wooden spoon. Let the syrup cool slightly, then strain it into a pitcher, pressing hard on the sage leaves. Pour in the rosé and stir well. Serve the sangria in wineglasses over ice, garnishing each glass with a lemon twist and sage leaf.

2. Late-Harvest Wine and Campari Cocktails

You need only three ingredients to make this extra-refreshing bittersweet drink: late-harvest white wine, orange juice and Campari.


3 3/4 cups sweet late-harvest white wine, such as Riesling

2 1/4 cups fresh orange juice

1 cup Campari

Ice, for serving


In a large pitcher, mix the white wine with the fresh orange juice and Campari. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Fill tall glasses with ice, pour the cocktail over the ice and serve.

3. Cajun Lemonade

A salute to the flavors of New Orleans, this cocktail spices up Napoleon House’s Pimm’s Cup (Pimm’s No. 1, lemonade and 7-Up) with a splash of Tabasco and a generous dose of rum or vodka.


12 ounces white rum or vodka

4 ounces Pimm's No. 1

8 ounces fresh lemon juice

4 ounces Simple Syrup

1/2 tablespoon Tabasco

8 ounces chilled 7-Up

Thin lemon wheels, for garnish (optional)



In a large resealable container, combine all of the ingredients except ice, the 7-Up and the lemon wheels. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Cover tightly and shake, then pour into an ice-filled pitcher. Strain into ice-filled rocks glasses, stir in the 7-Up and garnish with lemon wheels.

4. Blackberry & Cabernet Caipirinha

For this punch-like take on a caipirinha, cachaça is mixed with Cabernet Sauvignon and fresh fruit juices.


24 blackberries

4 ounces Simple Syrup

12 ounces cachaça (potent Brazilian sugarcane spirit)

4 ounces Cabernet Sauvignon

8 ounces fresh orange juice

2 ounces fresh lime juice

6 orange wheels

6 lime wheels



In a pitcher, muddle 12 of the blackberries with the Simple Syrup. Add the cachaça, Cabernet and the orange and lime juices and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Stir well and strain the drink into ice-filled white wine glasses. Garnish with the remaining 12 blackberries and the lime and orange wheels.

5. Philly Fish House Punch

Instead of a pitcher, try storing this potent punch in an empty screw cap wine bottle for a fun presentation.


3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

6 1/2 ounces dark rum

4 ounces brandy

2 ounces peach schnapps

4 ounces cold brewed black tea

4 ounces fresh lemon juice

4 ounces cold water

Orange peels, for garnish


Set a funnel in a large, clean bottle that has a screw cap. Add the confectioners' sugar and tap it into the bottle. Add the rum, brandy, peach schnapps, black tea and lemon juice. Close the bottle and shake vigorously. Add the water and shake again. Seal and refrigerate the punch until cold. Serve the punch in the bottle, letting guests pour it into tumblers; garnish the drinks with orange peels.

6. Lynchburg Lemonade

This bourbon-spiked punch can be made in jars or one big pitcher.


2 cups Jack Daniel's (16 ounces)

2 lemons, cut into thick slices for garnish

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

2 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups water



In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and water and boil over moderately high heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely. In a very large jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the syrup with the lemon juice, Jack Daniel's and pineapple and orange juices. Shake vigorously. Add ice and shake again. Fill tall glasses with ice. Strain the lemonade into the glasses, garnish with the lemon slices and serve.


The ingredients can be mixed together and refrigerated overnight. Cooking Club Tip: This recipe is an elegant riff of the classic drink, which is made with 1 part Jack Daniel's, 1 part Triple Sec, 1 part sweet and sour mix, and 4 parts Sprite. To make sweet and sour mix, combine one part heavy sugar syrup (3 parts sugar to 2 parts water) with one part lemon juice.

7. Sunset Punch

This ultra-simple, spritzy punch mixes bourbon with white vermouth and ginger beer.


8 ounces bourbon

8 ounces white vermouth

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon slices for garnish

1/4 cup simple syrup (see Note)

12 ounces chilled ginger beer


In a punch bowl, combine the bourbon, vermouth, lemon juice and syrup. Add the ginger beer and lemon slices and serve over ice.


To make simple syrup, heat 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup of water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

8. Sweet Lime–Ginger Rum Punch 

Padma Lakshmi came up with this slightly spicy rum punch.


2 cups ice, plus more for serving

Lime slices and cilantro leaves, for garnish

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 cups dark rum

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2/3cup water


In a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar and ginger to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Strain the syrup into a large pitcher, pressing hard on the ginger. Let cool to room temperature.

Stir in the lime juice, rum and the 2 cups of ice. Strain into ice-filled glasses and garnish with lime slices and cilantro.

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