Nothing tastes better on a sunny day or hot Southern night than a cocktail. From Derby Day to tailgate season, summer is full of excuses to imbibe. Luckily, we have a little bit of experience in the drinks department. Here are a few of our favorites for the summertime season.

 Photographer: Jennifer R. Davick; Prop Stylist: Missy Neville Crawford

If you’re sipping poolside or entertaining a crowd, it might be worth considering a big-batch cocktail so that you can focus on getting an even tan rather than hopping up and down to serve drinks. We love this Champagne punch with its mix-ins, so guests can choose and mix up their favorite flavor.

Related: Stir Up a Classic Mint Julep

When it comes to summertime in the South, a good, long porch session comes to mind. Think great views, good conversation, terrific company, and excellent cocktails. Our favorite is a spiked lemonade sweet tea, which is boozy and refreshing at the same time. A perfect drink for sipping and swinging the evening away.

Summer is family reunion season and long-awaited vacation time. In other words, we have more than enough excuses to gather for brunch. A good brunch cocktail needs to strike just the right chord–not too boozy, not too sweet, and definitely nothing heavy–and we think these Green Tomato Bloody Marys are a perfect fit.

For a midsummer dinner party, kill two birds with one stone and serve a boozy dessert. While a hard root beer with your favorite vanilla ice cream is a always a good option, when you really want to impress, serve these creamy, dreamy Mississippi Mudslides.

Our favorite season (also known as tailgate season) kicks off any day now. And we’re already looking ahead. Sure, pack the beer and wine, but add a kick of class with this Cava Sangria. It’s light, refreshing, and just darn pretty.

Related: Party-Perfect Sangria Recipes

Finally, you don’t have to be at the Derby to drink what might be the most iconic of Southern summer cocktails: the Mint Julep. You’ll want to pre-chill your julep cups or tumblers, and please do make the extra effort to crush your ice: it’s worth it.