Spring break is epitomized by hot and sunny beaches, Caribbean relaxation, and fresh and fruity cocktails that cost at least $10 apiece. Some of the best spring break drinks may look complicated, but they're easy to make yourself for no more than $3 a serving. Whatever your beverage of choice, it should fit in seamlessly with the relaxed vibe and no-worries attitude of spring break. It's time to let loose and forget about day-to-day stress with 10 fun drinks that are within reach of everyone's budget and skill level.
This classic drink never goes out of style. Simple, clean, and perfect for quenching a thirst for fun, this tequila-based drink can keep the party going all week long. Be sure to keep plenty of ice on hand -- each margarita requires a lot of it. To make a batch of four, combine 1 cup inexpensive 100 percent agave tequila ($6.40), 4 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice ($1.20), 2 ounces simple syrup (12 cents), and 4 cups ice in a blender. Blend until most of the ice chunks are incorporated and serve in chilled glasses, salted rim optional. Total price per drink: $2.
There's something so indulgent about piña coladas. The fatty coconut cream and sweet dark rum tap into a primal vacation mode, making it impossible to have a bad time with one of these dessert-like drinks in hand. To make two tall piña coladas, combine 1 and a half cups ice, 2 ounces pineapple juice (16 cents), half a cup frozen pineapple chunks (80 cents), 2 ounces coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez, 32 cents), and 3 ounces dark rum ($2.40) and pulse in a blender until well blended. Serve in chilled glasses with an optional half ounce of rum floater (80 cents). Total price per drink: $2.
The history of the swizzle is all about keeping cool in hot and humid Caribbean climates, making it an ideal choice for any beach-themed spring break. The essential ingredients are rum, Angostura bitters, and ice. This version of the Queen's Park Swizzle from Trinidad uses mint, sugar, and lime to balance out the flavors, making this libation as delicious as it is refreshing. To make, combine eight to 10 mint leaves (10 cents) with three-quarters ounce of simple syrup (5 cents) in the bottom of a tall glass and gently muddle. Fill the glass with crushed ice and pour in 3 ounces dark rum (such as Angostura 5 Year Old, $2.40), half an ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (15 cents), and four dashes of bitters (20 cents). Stir using a swizzle stick or bar spoon until the outside of the glass is frosty and cold, garnish with a plentiful mint sprig (10 cents), and enjoy. Total price per drink: $3.
This shaken cocktail is one of the easiest to prepare and to drink. Adjust the amount of rum to your taste, using a little bit less if it's an all-day drinking affair, or a little bit more if the evening calls for something strong. A standard Boston shaker can make up to three at a time. To make one, muddle eight to 10 mint leaves (10 cents) in the bottom of a pint glass, then add 2 ounces white rum ($1.60), 1 ounce simple syrup (6 cents), and 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (30 cents). Fill the glass with ice and shake to combine and chill. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and top with 1 ounce club soda (3 cents). Total price per drink: $2.
Aromatized and fortified wines are making a well-deserved comeback among all generations of legal drinking age. Somewhere in between a wine and a spirit, they are the ideal option for casual drinking that starts early in the day and continues into the evening. The infused flavors provide complexity without having to buy or mix extra ingredients. This drink works best with white or rosé Lillet but can also be used with the red version to make a more intense and sweeter drink. To concoct, simply fill a glass with ice, add 3 ounces Lillet ($1.80) and top with 1 ounce club soda (3 cents). Garnish with a citrus slice (5 cents), or just enjoy as is. Total price per drink: $2.
Nothing says vacation quite like a strawberry daiquiri. Skip the premade mixes and use the less expensive and better tasting option of frozen strawberries and fresh lime juice. To make a batch of 4 large drinks, combine 1 cup rum ($6.40), 2 cups frozen strawberries ($2.56), a half cup simple syrup (24 cents), and a half cup freshly squeezed lime juice ($1.20) in a blender. Blend until smooth and incorporated. Serve in chilled glasses and let the relaxation take over. Total price per drink: $2.50.
The king of beer cocktails, this Mexican concoction of cold beer, lime, and hot sauce is piquant, fresh, and easy to love. Customize the drink to your taste by playing with the ratio of hot sauce and lime. To avoid using a complicated blend of sauces, go for a hot sauce that has a good body and complexity of flavor, such as Cholula chipotle. To make, rim a glass with chili salt (10 cents). In the glass add 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (30 cents) and half an ounce of hot sauce (30 cents) and fill halfway with ice. Top off with light beer ($1.50), adding more as needed as you sip. Total price per drink: $2.
Tiki drinks are having a moment, as modern-day imbibers indulge their whimsical side with tropical flavors and strong rum. This classic beverage is easy to prepare and hits all the points of great Tiki drinks, including their tendency to be dangerously delicious. In the bottom of a shaker, combine 2 ounces aged rum ($1.60), a half ounce simple syrup (3 cents), three-quarters ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (23 cents), a half ounce orange Curaçao (20 cents), a quarter ounce orgeat (almond syrup, 10 cents), and 1 cup crushed ice. Shake vigorously to combine and chill. Pour the mixture into a tall glass, garnish with a sprig of mint (10 cents), and say, "Aloha!" Total price per drink: $2.25.
A quick cocktail to make, the blend of spicy ginger beer with aged rum is a hole-in-one for those who like to keep the effort minimal for their spring break libations. Make this drink in a flash by pouring 2 ounces aged rum ($1.60), two dashes Angostura bitters (10 cents), and 3 ounces ginger beer (40 cents) into a glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge (10 cents) and sip away. Total price per drink: $2.
The classic gin-and-tonic cocktail today serves as a blank canvas for creative bartenders to showcase their unique palates. Keep the spring break version unfussy, with 2 ounces of gin ($1.60) and 3 ounces of tonic water (18 cents) over ice, and garnish with a lime wedge (10 cents). Total price per drink: $2.