When the weather calls for beaches and boats many of us reach for 12 ounce cans and bottles as our choice for adult beverages.

There is no doubt that hitting the beer isle in the grocery store and packing a cooler with a 30 pack and some ice is convenient and easy, but we all know we can do better. RWO and Rochester Drinks want to encourage you to look beyond lawnmower beer, summer ales, and malt beverages to expertly crafted cocktails and tiki inspire concoctions. Summer is a time for rum, gin, and of course vodka. Fortunately, these spirits are incredibly versatile and a few bottles of favorites from your local liquor store can open a world of options for you and your guests. Plus, these days many of the most popular brands like Smirnoff vodka and Captain Morgan rum are available in plastic so you can make great cocktails anywhere the season takes you.

We recommend a simple to assemble “Spritz Bar”. Start with a 1.75 Liter bottle of vodka, a 1.75 Liter bottle of rum, a smaller bottle of gin, a bottle of Aperol (an Italian aperitif), a couple bottles of sweet white wine, a case of 187ml bottles of champagne or sparkling wine, and finally a selection of Fee Brothers bitters. Make sure you have plenty of ice on hand and red solo cups will do unless you want something fancier. A fresh fruit and berry tray doubles as an appetizer and great cocktail ingredients. Small bottles of juice and large bottles of club soda will make it easily understood that a “spritz” is meant to be light and refreshing. Each guest can customize a spritz cocktail to their individual taste, but the intention is to keep things light, so you can have more than one. Save the boozy martinis and whiskey drinks for after dinner has been served and the sun has gone down.

Those who prefer less alcohol can use a smaller portion of spirit or opt for a wine cocktail. Gluten free guests will have tons of options. And friends who are counting calories can tailor a mix that will work with their diet. As a host, you can easily print out recipe cards for the most popular cocktails, but we find that most people like to experiment and create their own signature mix. Here is one of our favorites:  1.5 ounces Nolet’s Silver gin, 1 ounce Aperol, ½ ounce grapefruit juice, a large slice of grapefruit, and 3 ounces of seltzer in a large wine glass over ice.

Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and tag #RWO and #RochesterDrinks when you post them.