These star serves, spritzers and tropical concoctions are made to be sipped in the sunshine, says Sam Wylie-Harris.
Time to pack up your cocktail shaker, large jug or pitcher, jigger and long-handled bar spoon…we’re heading to cocktail summer camp! Where the simplicity of a spritz means you don’t have to forage for loads of ingredients, a salted rim enhances flavours, and Caribbean classics offer lots of fruity fun in the sun.
Tempted to join us? Whether you’re setting up ‘camp’ in the park, garden or at home, give these summer cocktails a try…
1. Cornish Beach Cooler
From the Caribbean to the Cornish coast, this stylish newcomer from the award-winning distillery behind Tarquin’s gin range, Twin Fin Spiced Golden Rum (£28, 70cl, Twin Fin) makes a great choice for sipping neat on the rocks, with its rich, smooth taste and delicate spicy notes, but has the calibre to blend beautifully in cocktails too, where its bold flavor, touch of exotic citrus and light, smoky finish really shines. And if you prefer a golden rum in your Cuba libres, Twin Fin fits the bill beautifully. Here’s their twist on a spiced mojito…
Ingredients: 50ml Twin Fin, ginger beer, brown sugar, half a lime, fresh mint, sprig to garnish.
Method: Muddle the lime and sugar in a high-ball glass, add the rum, mint and lots of ice. Stir, top with ginger beer and stir again slowly. Garnish with a wedge of lime and sprig of mint.
2. Grey Goose Salty Dog
Salt with vodka? Try it and you’ll find salt lends itself perfectly to vodka and grapefruit. With a burst of freshness, the contrasting flavours of Grey Goose Vodka (£39, 70cl, Tesco) with sharp grapefruit and a salted rim will make you want to dive right in. And Grey Goose suggest there’s a Salty Dog for every palate; play around with the side of salt (we recommend Maldon Sea Salt Flakes) and try flavouring it with chilli, cardamom or dehydrated lime.
Ingredients: 20ml Grey Goose, 40ml fresh grapefruit juice, lime quarter, salt.
Method: Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka and grapefruit juice, shake vigorously and strain into a salted-rim Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime quarter.
3. Venetian Spritz
With spritz season in full swing, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the fiery, bittersweet charms of Italy’s canalside cocktail. Beautifully balanced with a beguiling aromatic profile, stir up happy hour with Select Aperitivo (£16.19, 70cl, The Drink Shop) – a blend of 30 botanicals including juniper berries and rhubarb root, its pleasant herbal flavours are everybody’s favourite in a classic spritz served with bite-size cicchetti.
Ingredients: 2 parts Select Aperitivo, 3 parts prosecco, splash of soda water, 1 large green olive with stone.
Method: Half fill a large wine glass with ice. Add the Select, then the prosecco and a splash of soda, stir gently and garnish with a large green olive.
4. Disaronno Velvet
Don’t be surprised if you feel like the cat that got the cream with Diasaronno’s new summer release – Disaronno Velvet Liqueur (£15, 50cl, Morrisons) – destined to put its name back up in lights. With the same characteristic nutty, almond taste as the original, but a lighter version at 17% abv compared to 28% abv, this silky smooth cream liqueur tastes utterly delicious served over ice.
5. Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic Spritz
A G&T with the addition of bitters to knock your summer socks off, the bitter botanicals in Martini Bitters plays perfectly together with the fresh citrus and juniper flavours in Bombay Sapphire Gin (£22, 70cl, Sainsbury’s), topped with tonic to release more botanical notes.
Ingredients: 25ml Bombay Sapphire, 15ml Martini Bitters, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml honey syrup (3 parts honey, 1 part water), premium tonic water, half an orange wheel.
Method: Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the Bombay, Martini, lemon juice and syrup. Shake vigorously and strain into a large wine glass half filled with ice. Top with tonic, stir gently and garnish with the orange wheel.
6. Darker Don
Inspired by Papa Isio, a key figure in the Philippine revolution, Don Papa Rum (£32, 70cl, Sainsbury’s) is noticeably dark and rich. Made from the finest sugar cane and aged in American oak for more than seven years for those punchy, fruity, toffee notes, it’s packed with vanilla, cinnamon, sultanas and raisins and makes an ideal foundation for cocktails. Here’s one of their signature recipes…
Ingredients: 45ml Don Papa, 15ml Calamansi Juice (optional – a Philippine citrus fruit similar to lemon and limes), 45ml ginger beer, 2 dashes bitters, lime wedge, mint to garnish.
Method: Half fill a highball glass with ice. Squeeze the juice of half a lime, add the rum (juice if you’re tempted by its fruitiness) and top with the spicy ginger beer. Stir gently and garnish with a mint leaf.
7. Cotswolds Summer Cup
A fiery summer cup, Cotswolds have taken their award-winning dry gin and laced it with their handcrafted vermouth, triple sec and splash of Spirited Sherry to create a refreshing, bittersweet spirit. Rich, spicy and complex with a fruity kick, Cotswolds Summer Cup (£29.95, 70cl, Cotswold Distillery) is styled for summer soirees and garden parties and really hits the spot.
Ingredients: 1 part Cotswolds Summer Cup, 2 parts lemonade or ginger ale, fresh fruit, mint, lots of ice.
Method: Half fill a large balloon glass with ice, add the Summer Cup, top with lemonade or ginger ale, stir gently and garnish with fresh fruit.
8. Gooseberry & Elderflower Summer Fizz
Pure nectar, Edinburgh Gin have taken tangy gooseberries and dappled them with sweet, fragrant elderflower to create Edinburgh Gooseberry & Elderflower Gin (£20.90, 70cl, The Whisky World). Seriously good and aromatic, we think this is the perfect summer serve when mixed with sparkling wine.
Ingredients: 25ml Edinburgh Gooseberry and Elderflower Gin, 10ml simple syrup, 10ml lemon juice, sparkling wine, green grape for garnish.
Method: Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the gin, simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupette. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a split green grape.