So you’re at a friends’ BBQ one summer’s evening and everyone is having a nice time, the sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze rolling through the pine trees surrounding the pool, and although the kids are screaming, they’re having fun.
You’ve spoken to all your friends, caught up on gossip and everyone’s enjoyed the hosts’ BBQ skills. But now the temperature has chilled slightly and the sun has started to set. The Kids have gone home to the supervision of their child-minders and that leaves all you adults about with a choice: Lemonade and soft drinks… Or the hard stuff?
But that decision is made for you; out comes the hosts’ and their stash of liquor. Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Triple Sec & plenty of other obscure, highly alcoholic elixirs that do not look healthy at all…
So in come the dedicated spirit drinkers, taking their share of their designated poison, rum, vodka – it doesn’t matter there’s plenty for everyone. What really gathers your attention is not the boring spirit drinkers, they can keep their Bourbon, Neat; you want what’s in that glass on the opposite table: A tall mountain of a glass, with sweeping curves and a cool orange nectar, swirling with a red syrupy surprise… Of course I’m talking about a Tequila Sunrise – the epitome of pool-side tropical cocktails…
But did you know that the cocktails available to you for your summer evenings are not restricted to generic boring simple cocktails. Sure they look great and every now and then they’re great to enjoy but if you really want to impress everyone you know, why not give these few recipes a little tipple…
Recipe #1: Limoncello – Limoncello Citrus Cooler
20ml Maraschino Liqueur
40ml Lemon Juice
1 scoop mandarin sorbet
1 teaspoon marmalade
2 dashes hibiscus bitters
- Shake all the ingredients with ice.
- Strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube (ice-balls work well here)
- Garnish with a pair of maraschino cherries and an orange twist.
This cocktail blends sweet Limoncello with some other sweet, citrus flavours and creates a cocktail that is not as sweet as it looks to be. The ingredients blend well, as mentioned, but you can still separate the intricate flavours of a high quality limoncello and the maraschino liqueur. The hibiscus bitters lends a bitter, yet exotic fragrance to the drink. This is a great drink to have in your repertoire for a romantic evening date…
Recipe #2: Gin – Italian Collins
1 measure Sipsmith Gin
¾ measure Limoncello
¼ measure fresh lemon juice
4 measures Club Soda
- Mix the first three ingredients together and shake well, over ice, for around 10-15 seconds.
- Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
- Top up with club soda and garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel.
Recipe #3: Vodka – Wake County Cooler
Black Tea infused Vodka
(Sweet) Black Tea Vodka:
- Combine 750ml Vodka with 150ml loose-leaf black tea and allow to infuse (should take around 2 hours).
- Then, separately: Combine 60ml water with 60g sugar and mix into a sugar syrup.
- Combine the sugar syrup with the vodka and mix well.
- Half fill a Collins glass with crushed ice.
- Add 50ml of the infused vodka to the glass.
- Then add 12.5ml of lemon juice.
- Top up with the club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig.
If you create the full amount above (750ml) you’ll have plenty to share (or keep for yourself).
One of the best things about this cocktail is that you have to infuse your own Vodka. As a home-taught cocktail maker one of my favourite hobbies is the infusing of neutral alcohol. Not only do you end up with something delicious and flavour-fuelled, most of the time you improve the original drink (obviously you don’t want to use top end Vodka for this sort of infusion). If you have enough forethought to purchase some nice kilner-jars (think along the lines of pressure topped bottles – like Grolsch beer) you can share out your good infusions for family gifts and even age some spirits…
Give it a go, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with!
Recipe #4: Licor 43 – Carta Marina
1 ½ measures Kraken Black Spiced Rum
¾ measures Licor 43
¾ measures Lemon Juice
¼ measure Aperol
2 dashes Cardamom bitters
Garnish: Vanilla Bean & orange twist.
- Shake all the ingredients together over ice for 15-20 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
- Strain into a coupe cocktail glass and garnish with a vanilla bean wrapped inside the orange twist.
This cocktail mixes two of my favourite spirits in Kraken & Licor 43. And boy do they blend well! This looks like an odd mixture of spirits and bitters but if shaken well (and properly) this drink elevates you to another level. When a drink can supply you with a mix of refreshment, great taste and an almost bottomless depth in quality you know you’ve hit gold; with the Carta Marina you have some good old US/Mediterranean Gold. If you only drink one cocktail of this list: Pick this one!
Recipe #5: Rum – Daisy De Santiago
40ml Bacardi Superior White Rum
20ml fresh lime juice
5ml sugar syrup
15ml Yellow Chartreuse
Garnish: fresh berries & a sprig of mint.
- Add the rum, sugar syrup & lime juice to a shaker filled with ice and shake well – for around 20-30 seconds.
- Fill a wine goblet with crushed ice and strain the mixed liquid into the glass.
- Garnish with the sprig & berry bouquet and then float the yellow Chartreuse on top of the drink.
The Daisy de Santiago is possibly one of the freshest and most refreshing drinks I’ve had the pleasure of sipping in a long time. It’s got a lovely rum kick from the Bacardi yet it’s sweet and almost minty after taste compliments most summer evenings. A difficult drink to balance perfectly but one that is very much worthwhile mastering.