Send Summer Off in Style with These Labor Day Cocktails

The arrival of pumpkin beers isn’t the only sign that summer is coming to a close.

A little holiday called Labor Day is right around the corner, and it has long been considered the unofficial end to summer.

Labor Day weekend not only leads to a four-day work week, it signals the coming of fall.

Many Americans take their summer vacations the week or two leading into Labor Day, so operators must be prepared to serve an influx of tourists and locals looking to enjoy their last parties until Halloween.

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Below you’ll find five Labor Day recipes that will put your guests in a celebratory mood. There’s a bourbon cocktail; one that calls for rum, a large-format drink that features mezcal infused with damiana and Aperol; a frozen vodka cocktail that can serve up to eight guests; and a cocktail in a bottle that makes quick work of drink service.


Summer Old Fashioned cocktail at Refinery Rooftop

Summer Old Fashioned

Recipe courtesy of Refinery Rooftop; Image: Sarah Curley/ IGC Hospitality

Stir down and garnish with an orange peel.

Born in the LES cocktail Boulton & Watt

Born in the LES

Recipe and image courtesy of Boulton & Watt

  • 2.25 oz. Ten to One Caribbean White Rum
  • 0.75 oz. Mint simple syrup
  • 0.25 oz. Blue Curaçao
  • 1 oz. Lime juice
  • 1 dash of Angostura bitters to top
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters to top
  • Mint leaves to garnish

Add Blue Curaçao to an empty glass. Fill glass with crushed ice. Shake remaining ingredients and pour slowly over crushed ice. Dash of Angostura and Peychaud’s Bitters liberally over the top. Garnish with mint leaves.

Piña Dorada batch cocktail by GEM&BOLT

Piña Dorada

Recipe and image courtesy of GEM&BOLT

  • 3 750ml bottles GEM&BOLT
  • 75 oz. Dorada Batch (see note)
  • Pineapple spears or slices to garnish

Mix GEM&BOLT and Dorada Batch. Prep in batch bottles, such as empty GEM&BOLT bottles with pour spouts. Shake three ounces of batch with ice, strain into rocks glass, and garnish.

For Dorada Batch:

  • 2 Pineapples, peeled
  • 8 Oranges with peel
  • 8 Lemons with peel
  • 8 Fresh turmeric roots

Juice all together in centrifugal juicer, strain, and refrigerate.

Frozen Palace blended Labor Day cocktail by Belvedere Vodka

Frozen Palace

Recipe and image courtesy of Belvedere Vodka

Add all ingredients to a blender except for Chandon Rosé. Add a cup of ice to blender. Blend and pour into a wine glass and top or float with Chandon Rosé. Serves eight.

This last one comes courtesy of Empower Cocktails. Their Empower Cosmopolitan Martini is a cocktail in a bottle garnished with a lime wheel, making it a “labor-free” drink, as the brand puts it. Empower Cosmopolitan Martini is bottled sweet potato vodka, triple sec, white cranberry and lime. The brand has partnered with such as Dress for Success Boston, the Voss Foundation, Kicked it in the Heels, and other non-profits focused on women’s initiatives.

Operators looking to create an entire “Labor-free Labor Day” menu can leverage the popularity of canned cocktails and hard seltzers, serving them with garnishes, salted rims and straws and creative presentations.

Empower Cosmopolitan Martini bottled cocktail by Empower Cocktails

Empower Cosmopolitan Martini Classic

Recipe and image courtesy of Empower Cocktails

Pour chilled Empower Cosmopolitan Martini (chill in refrigerator, not freezer) into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.