Summer Cocktail Must-Haves That'll Make DIY Happy Hour Feel Fancy

Beachside cocktails. Lakeside cocktails. Rooftop cocktails. Backyard cocktails. Wherever you’re tippling this summer, drinks taste better al fresco — and with these insider extras and bartender-approved gems, all beloved by SwearBy’s coterie of cocktail enthusiasts.

OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer

Ask any seasoned bartender their must-have accouterment for proper cocktails, and tools matter just as much as top-shelf tipples. Take this strainer, designed for drip-free pours with the added bonus of a comfy finger rest (hey, these drinks don’t make themselves). Says Tyler Imoto: “Its design makes cocktails at home better than your standard strainer, because the edge is raised so the liquid comes out in a single stream instead of sneaking out the sides and the springs are the right size to hold back all your muddled ingredients.” Thanks, Tyler—we’d like a Manhattan.

Lo-Fi Brand Aperitifs Gentian Amaro

With its subtle notes of root extracts and cinchona bark, this amaro is a cocktail enthusiast’s secret weapon.  “Not only is the bottle gorgeous for gifting, but it’s a nice addition to a home bar,” says Ananda Eidelstein. “I love it straight up on the rocks or with a splash of sparkling water or wine.” And it adds a delectable hint of spice to any cocktail.

FreshForce™ Citrus Juicer - Lime

If you’ve ever felt a little sour (pun intended) over all the juice you weren’t able to squeeze out of a lemon or lime, FreshForce is your savior. Just ask Michele Falcone: “Earlier in the year, I got frustrated trying to squeeze the juice out of the limes and this sat in my Amazon cart for over a month before I decided to bite the bullet and purchase it. Now, I don’t know how I lived without it!” We’ll call that “making lemonade.”

Sapling Press Cocktail Napkins

We like people that are the life of the party, but we LOVE napkins that are. Nothing energizes an event like a laugh at your fingertips (to name one example from these gems: “I like to drink because it helps take the edge off other people.” Says Rachel Thebault of the snarky, jewel-hued cocktail napkins: “Guests always get a kick out of reading them at my cocktail or dinner parties, and I always keep a few extra boxes on hand for a last-minute hostess gift.” #Brilliant.

Bon Viv Spiked Seltzer

The American hard seltzer industry sold 82.5 million cases in 2019 and is poised to triple that figure by 2023, to no one’s surprise. “Do I sound like an alcoholic if I say this drink solved a lot of problems in my life?” says Emily Snider, who always keeps this gluten-free, low-carb version stocked in her fridge. “These go great in any cocktail (including wine) and they’re not super sweet. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like them.”

Anthropologie Coupe Glass

Drinks just taste better in a pretty glass — and nobody does pretty like Anthro. “These gorgeous and girly glasses are a MUST for cocktail parties, dinner parties or girls’ night in,” says Laura Denby of these Instagrammable beauties, with a 24K gold rim. 

Haus Starter Kit

“Popular in Europe for centuries, apéritifs have a lighter alcohol content that’s perfect for sipping on the rocks or with a splash of seltzer,” says Katie Macdonald. She recommends Haus because it’s handcrafted with California-grown ingredients, from elderflower to clove. “The starter kit features the brand’s most popular flavors—Bitter Clove and Citrus Flower—in approachable 200-milliliter bottles. I’ve enjoyed both flavors by themselves or as a spritz with Prosecco for a stronger drink.” We’ll cheers to that.

Hi! [Insert waving blonde emoji here] I'm a Colorado-based freelance writer, and I'm Niles Crane-level picky about everyyyyything.