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Cooler Shaker - Summer Cocktails


Rather than reaching for the beer or wine for refreshment this summer, embrace the fruits of the season and have a go at making your own DIY cocktails at home, says Kate Ennis

Summer Cocktails - Summer_Cocktails.jpg It’s hard not to sound like Jamie Oliver, but when making your own cocktails at home, my advice is to simply get stuck in and have a bash! While most of us will happily whizz up a fruit smoothie, we consider cocktails a bit more intimidating and complicated. It doesn’t help that in today’s style bars, bartenders are called ‘mixologists’ and revered as alchemists for concocting potions with shiny equipment and obscure ingredients. Yet many of them are now going back to the simplicity of the classic cocktails – mojitos, juleps, punches and mules – that can easily be re-created at home with minimum effort.

‘The fun thing about cocktails is experimenting with ingredients. It’s not a precise science,’ says Gerry Calabrese, the award-winning bartender behind recently opened bar, The Hoxton Pony, in Shoreditch. Its cocktail list is based around seasonality and uses the best British produce, with syrups and purées made on site. Calabrese believes now is the perfect time to make the most of summer fruits.

‘You should use raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries around now – these have a natural sharpness to balance their sweetness,’ advises Calabrese. ‘Muddle or simply rest the fruit in the glass, add some lemon or lime juice, a versatile spirit like vodka and gin, then lengthen with lemonade or ginger ale.’

Many cocktails follow a basic but flexible formula of balancing sweet, sour, strong and weak: sugar, fruit, spirit and water or other lengtheners such as soda, lemonade or ginger beer (both Fever-Tree and Luscombe do a great range of traditional mixers) – so use this as a basic template, then add your choice of fruit to provide a flavour twist. Plums, rhubarb or gooseberries are great English fruits to use, but exotic fruits including pomegranate and passionfruit are hot flavours too. Another trend is the use of aromatic herbs, spices and floral accents like elderflower, so why not raid the garden for inspiration? Fragrant teas, such as Earl Grey and jasmine, go well with such botanicals and have a great cooling effect.

However, for the biggest chill, use sorbets and ice-cream. Calabrese suggests shaking vodka with fresh berries and crème de cassis to pour over lemon sorbet. An even simpler combination would be vanilla ice-cream and gin – the classic White Cargo.

For other cocktails made from just two ingredients, add fruit purées or liqueurs to chilled fizz for summery effervescence. Think of Kir Royale – crème de cassis with Champagne – or the bellini, combining peach purée with prosecco.


Here are a few general tips. Don’t worry about exact measurements as you can always adjust to taste. ‘Muddling’ is bar-speak for crushing an ingredient – usually fruit – in a glass or shaker. Use a pestle or wooden spoon, press down and twist.

For recipes that require shaking, place the ingredients in a shaker or improvise by using a large jar with a lid. Fill two-thirds with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds, then strain the liquid into a glass over fresh ice. Make sure you stock up on this crucial cocktail ingredient. It’s worth buying large bags of ice, as there’s nothing worse than a warm cocktail in the heat of a summer’s day!

Summer Breeze

An aromatic twist on the sea breeze, this is great if making for a group as it doesn’t need shaking – simply build up in the glass.

  • 60ml Wyborowa vodka
  • 15ml elderflower cordial
  • Dash freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 60ml cloudy apple juice
  • 60ml cranberry juice

Glass: Collins

Garnish: Apple slices

Method: Add each ingredient to the glass over fresh ice and stir well to combine.

The Partida Margarita

This very Mexican twist on the ultimate party drink can easily be made in pitchers for sharing. Arriba!

  • 50ml Partida Blanco Tequila
  • 15ml Partida (or equivalent)
  • Agave nectar
  • 25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 10ml mineral water

Glass: Martini (or multiply the ingredients by 4 and add ice to make a pitcher)

Garnish: Salt rim and lime wedge

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Strain into a martini glass with the rim dampened with water and dipped in salt.

Brazilian Fruit Cup

Punches and cup drinks epitomise the idea of ‘anything goes’ cocktail-making and the cachaça brings a slice of Rio to Blighty. Serve using old-fashioned punch bowls.

  • 50ml Sagatiba Pura cachaça
  • 50ml cranberry juice
  • 50ml ginger ale
  • 1 wedge fresh lime
  • Seasonal fresh fruits

Glass: Highball (to make a pitcher, multiply ingredients by 4)

Garnish: Slice of orange and a sprig of fresh mint.

Method: Squeeze and drop the lime wedge into a tall glass. Fill the glass with ice and add all remaining ingredients. Stir gently and serve.

Editorial feature from Square Meal Lifestyle Magazine Summer 2008

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