Mixing gin and tonic water into a fish bowl full of ice is a fool-proof and delicious way to get your summer drinking sorted, but if you wish to treat yourself and your guests to something a little bit more creative, fear not, as even amateur cocktail enthusiasts can make appealing drinks with the smallest of efforts.
Just as with cooking, the key is to work with high quality ingredients and to keep it seasonal (sorry, winter warmers, see you in six months). So, prepare to chop, muddle and shake as you release your inner mixologist this summer!
Before we share our must-try drinks for the sunniest of seasons, let’s get inspired by some of the main summer cocktail trends for 2018.
Classics with a Twist – From Old Fashioned reinterpretations to over the top Bloody Marys, timeless favourites are not going anywhere. They are, however, getting a refreshment and in some bars, a total makeover. Early this year, Drinks International asked 106 top bars for their best-selling classics and after analysing their results, they came up with a top 50 most popular classic cocktails in 2018. The top five includes the Daiquiri, Dry Martini, Whiskey Sour, Negroni (which takes second place for the fourth year in a row!) and the one and only Old Fashioned (wondering where to drink the best one in Ireland? Here are our favourites).
Sustainability and Zero-Waste Approach – As bars around the world join the war on plastic, paper straws are not the only upgrades on the list. Use local, fresh ingredients and homemade or artisan syrups and shy away of disposable decorations and mass produced mixers when possible.
Expanding your Flavour Horizon – Another trend that’s gaining strength is the inclusion of savoury and bitter flavours; from vegetable juices to herbal tinctures to vinegar, long gone are the days where sugar and spice were the only things nice to into with your tipple.
Without further ado, below are a few hassle-free, delicious summer cocktails you can mix at home.
Take the tangy Paloma to the next level by substituting tequila blanco for Don Julio Reposado (Spanish for “rested). Thanks to a moderate oak ageing, reposado tequilas have more complexity, giving an extra layer of depth to this cocktail.
– Kosher salt (for rimming the glass)
– Wedge of pink grapefruit
– 2 shots of Don Julio Tequila Reposado
– 1 shot of freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
– 1/2 shot of freshly squeezed lime juice
– Dash of agave syrup
– Soda (to top)
1. Dip the rim of a highball glass in crushed kosher salt
2. Shake the tequila, fruit juices and agave syrup with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
3. Top with the soda and stir gently.
4. Garnish with the wedge of pink grapefruit.
While the classic Manhattan calls for Bourbon or Rye whiskey, a premium Rum such as Ron Zacapa makes for a mellow yet elegant rendition, ideal to give a tropical twist to this icon for warmer days. Produced at 2,300 metres of altitude in the mountains of Guatemala, and blending rums with between 6 to 23 years of ageing, expect it to add a smooth and honeyed character to the iconic recipe.
– 2 Ounces of Ron Zacapa
– 1 Ounce of sweet vermouth
– 2 Dashes of Angostura bitters
– Orange twist
1. Add all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until the drink is well chilled.
2. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with an orange twist.
If you wish for something on the sweet side, look no further than this frozen version of a White Russian. The cocktail had its fifteen minutes of fame in the hands of the Dude in the nineties’ cult comedy The Big Lebowski and not only it’s extremely easy to make, it’s a real beginner’s friend as there’s nothing to cut or chop or squeeze. We’ve given it a little upgrade by using premium vodka Ketel One, and a creamier body.
– 1 Ounce of coffee liqueur
– 2 Ounces of Ketel One Vodka
– 1 Ounce of fresh cream
– Drops of vanilla extract (optional)
– 2 Scoops of vanilla ice cream
– Whipped cream to top (optional)
1. Pour all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Pour into a glass.
3. Top with with cream (optional)
This brunch classic has passed the test of time and this summer, how about mixing one version that channels the pleasure of Mediterranean flavours? Skip the gazpacho and get your refreshing tomato fix in the shape of a Bloody Mary a la española. Bonus points if you enjoy it al fresco.
– 1 1/2 Ounces Ketel One Vodka
– 3 Ounces of Mediterranean Bloody Mary homemade mix
– 1 Celery stick
– 1 Olive
For the Mediterranean Bloody Mary homemade mix:
– 500 ml of tomato juice
– 1 lemon (the juice, freshly squeezed)
– 6-10 Dashes of Tabasco sauce
– 5 Dashes of Worcestershire sauce
– 1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
– 1 Teaspoon dried oregano leaves
– Salt to taste
– Black pepper to taste
Make the Mediterranean Bloody Mary homemade mix:
1. Add all the ingredients for the mix to a jar and mix until well integrated.
2. Adjust the seasoning to taste
Make the Mediterranean Bloody Mary:
1. Combine the homemade mix and the Ketel One Vodka in a mixing glass filled with ice.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
3. Garnish with the celery stick and the olive
BBQ season is on, and this cocktail will steal the show by adding a meat lovers’ twist into one of the oldest recipes in the book. You can make the bacon-infused Bourbon in advance and keep it in the fridge. A mellow and well rounded Bourbon such as Bulleit will be nicely matched by a rich, smoked streaky bacon.
– 1.5 Ounces of bacon-infused Bulleit Bourbon
– 2 Teaspoons of maple syrup
– 3 Dashes of Angostura bitters
– 1 orange peel
For the bacon-infused Bourbon:
– 1 Bottle of Bulleit Bourbon (750 ml)
– 4 slices of smoked streaky bacon
Make the bacon-infused Bourbon:
1. Cook the bacon in a pan (careful not to let it burn) until crisp and golden.
2. Separate the fat (strain it to make sure no pieces of meat remain) and let it cool (you should have about one ounce of fat).
3. Combine the fat and the Bourbon in a bottle and let it infuse at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight.
4. Pour the mix into a bowl and leave in the freezer until the at has frozen solid (about 8 hours).
5. Remove the solidified fat and double strain the Bourbon back into its bottle.
Make the Maple and Bacon Old Fashioned
1. Add the maple syrup, the bacon infused Bourbon and the dashes of Angostura bitters in an Old Fashioned glass.
2. Add ice and stir gently until the ice has diluted slightly.
3. Garnish with the orange peel.
The gin craze is not going anywhere, in good part thanks to the spirit’s versatility. There’s a gin cocktail out there to please every palate and the one below offers a juicy taste of blackberries and citrus along with the generous botanicals of the world-famous Tanqueary No. 10.
– 400 ml of Tanqueray No. 10 Gin
– 150 ml Crème de Mûre (blackberry liqueur)
– 150 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 100 ml simple syrup
– 12-16 Fresh blackberries
1. Pour the Tanqueray No. 10 Gin, the lemon juice and the syrup in a jar filled with ice cubes and stir until the ice has diluted slightly.
2. Add the fresh blackberries (for extra flavour and colour, you can crush a few blackberries.
3. Pour the Crème de Mûre just before serving. Stir very gently.
4. Pour into a glass filled with crushed ice.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.