POPSUGAR Celebrity

18 Cocktails to Toast College Grads and Coeds-to-Be

May 17 2013 - 12:30pm

We're headed into college graduation season, which for many means packing four years of accumulated stuff in garbage bags, last-hurrah Summer vacations, and — soon enough — leaps into résumé writing and job hunting. With so much on these graduates' minds, why not make a toast to your special hard worker with a party and some delicious cocktails? We've rounded up festive, refreshing, and great-tasting alcoholic bevvies for your favorite over-21 former collegians, as well as cocktails with nonalcoholic alternatives to toast grads of all ages and their adventures to come!

— Additional reporting by Emily Bibb

For High School Grads: Arnold Palmer

You can't go wrong with a classic Arnold Palmer [1]. Mellow and refreshing, it's fitting for a casual graduation lunch.

Photo: Nicole Perry

For College Grads: Dark and Stormy

Last week's finals may have left your grad in a state of turmoil, but a dark and stormy made of dark rum [2], ginger beer, and lime juice should snap him or her into a celebratory mood.

Photo: Nicole Perry

For High School Grads: Sweet Southern Tea

A Southern sweet tea [3] is perfect for postgrad Summers!

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

For College Grads: Pimm's Cup

If the graduation takes place in the morning, kick start the celebration with a Pimm's Cup [4]. This refreshing beverage is considerably low in alcohol, making it perfect for daytime drinking.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

For High School Grads: Rhubarb Soda

Celebrate graduation with the sweet-tart flavor of a fizzy rhubarb soda [5]. Consider pairing it with a rhubarb galette [6].

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

For College Grads: Tom Collins

Classic cocktails are all the rage, and a tart but cooling Tom Collins [7] will add pizzazz to any grad party.

Photo: Nancy Einhart

For High School Grads: Fizzy Lavender Lemonade

Leave out the gin for a grown-up take on Summery lemonade [8].

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

For College Grads: Limoncello Champagne Cocktail

A hint of mint and sour-sweet lemon make this limoncello Champagne cocktail [9] a festive alternative to a traditional mimosa and perfect for graduation lunches or brunches.

Photo: Nicole Perry

For High School Grads: Vanilla Cream Soda

For a touch of nostalgic, grads can reach ofr this all-natural homemade vanilla cream soda [10].

Photo: Nicole Perry

For College Grads: Sazerac

The equally nostalgic classic Sazerac [11] is a great way to toast your college grad into the working world.

Photo: Susannah Chen

For High School Grads: Melon Mocktail

For a tart, refreshing sip, stir up a ranch mocktail [12]; this sparkling melon drink comes from a real-life spa, the Ranch at Live Oak Malibu.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

For College Grads: Watermelon Margarita

For a different kind of melon refreshment, post-collegiates can knock back a few watermelon margaritas [13], rimmed with chili salt for an extra kick.

Source: Flickr User spicyicecream [14]

For High School Grads: Sparkling Additions

If you're serving sparkling cider or elegant sodas alongside Champagne, you can still dress up your "bubbly" with any number of pretty additions [15]. Throw in some berries, rim the glasses with colored sugar, or garnish the soda with mint for a presentation that will make your grad feel extra special.

Photo: Camilla Salem

Sparkling Lillet and Grapefruit Cocktail

A sparkling lillet and grapefruit cocktail [16] is the perfect celebratory drink. Light, refreshing, and elegant, it's a great drink to begin an evening of celebration.

Photo: Nicole Perry

For High School Grads: Strawberry-Ginger Spritzer

Even after substituting soda water for the vodka, this concoction of muddled strawberries, ginger, mint, and lime [17] is still a crowd-pleaser.

Photo: Susannah Chen

For College Grads: Strawberry Margarita

By now, your grad is probably familiar with margaritas blended in bulk using Cuervo Gold and bottled mix. Treat her to something better: a strawberry margarita [18] on the rocks with good tequila and orange liqueur.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

For High School Grads: Raspberry-Lime Rose Spritzer

A raspberry-lime spritzer [19] is not only sweet and tart, but also has a lingering floral flavor from rosewater.

Photo: Lauren Hendrickson

For College Grads: Strawberry-Balsamic Crush

Throwing a graduation happy hour? This strawberry-balsamic cocktail, served straight up, is a must! Fruity, tart, and imbued with the scent of berries, this drink will celebrate years of hard work.

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