Throw open your windows! Throw open your freezers! Throw open your drinks cabinets! We’ve got ourselves a heatwave — and that means it’s high, hot time for a cocktail. So let’s crush some ice, squeeze some lemons and get mixing six of the most quenching, drenching drinks you’ll sip all summer…
The Mojito is a cooling Caribbean classic
Let’s kick off with a classic; the traditional tongue-tingling, flavour-mixing, Cuba-defining drink. First mixed in Havana, the Mojito was initially intended as a remedy for various tropical illnesses. Today, we’re drinking them for similarly restorative purposes — and to remain refreshed all summer.
It’s the combination of ingredients that puts the Mojito at the top of our list. There’s the sharp shiver of lime to begin, before cooling mint takes the heat off. The rum is warming — but not too warming — and then the sweet sugar combines with the ice for a final hit of hydration. Add the gentle fizz of cold soda, and you’ll be carried off to the Caribbean in no time.
- Sugar Syrup
- Mint Leaves
- White Rum
- Soda Water
- Muddle the juice of a lime with the sugar syrup and mint
- Pour this into a tall glass and add a handful of ice
- Pour over 60 ml of white rum, and stir with a long spoon
- Top up with soda water, garnish with mint and serve
The Margarita is a short, sharp shot
Next up, another traditionally tropical cocktail. The Margarita is a descendent of the Daisy; a brandy-and-rum recipe first mixed in Mexico. It blends orange and lime flavours with the cheek-tightening punch of potent tequila to create an icy, invigorating cocktail with an alcoholic kick.
If the Margarita is too full-on for your delicate summer sensibilities, there are plenty of spins on the drink. The best, in our opinion is Ranch Water — a Texas-style tequila highball that dresses down the Margarita into three simple ingredients; tequila, lime juice and sparkling water. But, if you’re after the full salt-rimmed, energising experience, here’s how to mix a proper Margarita…
- Triple Sec
- Stir together 50ml tequila, 1 tbsp of Triple Sec over ice
- Pour in the juice of one-and-a-half fresh limes
- Rub the rim of a lime-dipped glass into a dish of salt
- Strain in your Margarita over ice and garnish with lime
The Mint Julep is nice and icy
The Mint Julep might just be the king of all cool drinks. Served in its distinctive metal cup — it should be frosty to the touch — this ice-cold cocktail was born in the American South, and chiefly contains crushed ice. There are other ingredients, of course, with a splash of bourbon and the zing of spearmint giving the drink flavour — but no other drink on this list requires more of the cold stuff than the Julep.
It tastes like a distant Kentucky cousin of the Mojito. There’s the mint, the sugar and the dark spirit swirling around in the copper cup. But the sheer amount of crushed (or shaved) ice is what makes this cocktail one of the ultimate summer coolers. It’s essentially an alcoholic slushy — and who would say no to that?
- Spearmint Leaves
- Sugar Syrup
- Fill a julep tin with crushed ice to the brim
- Shake 65ml bourbon, 10 mint leaves and 15ml sugar syrup
- Strain into the tin, and churn gently with a long spoon
- Top with more crushed ice and a big sprig of mint
The Tom Collins is tall, cold cocktail
Another cocktail; another classic. The Tom Collins was created by Jerry Thomas, ‘the father of American mixology’, in 1876 — and remains popular to this day. Its appeal can be found in its simplicity; needing only the basic ingredients of gin, sugar, soda water and a squeeze of lemon juice.
But combine these simple parts over ice, and you’ve got a top tier refreshment. It’s similar, in both taste and construction, to the Gin Rickey (which does away with the sugar), but has a hint of sweetness that offers a more sumptuous summery feel. If you’re having an al fresco party during a heatwave, it’s the best option for batch-mixing.
- Lemon Juice
- Sugar Syrup
- Soda Water
- Fill a Collins glass with plenty of cubed ice
- Add 50ml gin, 25ml lemon juice and 25 ml sugar syrup
- Combine gently, before topping up with soda water
- Garnish with fruit slice of your choice (we’d recommend orange)
The Moscow Mule is a basic, bracing option
Another cocktail served in a frosty copper cup, the Moscow Mule can double as an ice-pack on particularly sun-soaked days. It’s also a winning option to quench your heat-induced thirst — with crisp vodka and refreshing ginger beer chilled to perfection by lots and lots (and lots) of ice.
This cocktail was born in Manhattan, over 70 years ago. And, while the classic combination of lime, vodka and ginger is the most popular, there are many — equally refreshing — spins on the recipe. For an ‘Glasgow Mule’, add Scotch whisky. For a ‘Jamaican Mule’, it’s spiced rum. A ‘Mexican Mule’ even makes use of tequila. But we’re yet to be tempted away from the traditional recipe below…
- Ginger Beer
- Ginger Bitters
- Pour 50ml of vodka into a copper cup
- Load up to three-quarters full with cubed ice
- Top up with ginger beer, two dashes of bitters and stir
- Squeeze over the lime, and garnish with a slice
The Whiskey Smash is easy and effective
Or any Smash. Like the Spritz family of cocktails, there are many different, distinctive takes on the simple Smash formula. All you need is ice (and lots of it), sugar, a seasonal fruit and a spirit base. The rest is up to you. You can strain it, stir it, shake it — the possibilities are endless.
But we’d stick with this classic, basic take on the blueprint; the Whiskey Smash. Another recipe written up by Jerry Thomas (he of the Tom Collins above), it takes four simple ingredients, muddles them for flavour, and decants the lot into an ice-filled tumbler to temper even the hottest heat of a summer’s day. Effortless; effective.
- Sugar Syrup
- Muddle mint leaves, juice of half a lime and sugar syrup
- Transfer to a ice-filled shaker, add 60ml bourbon and mix
- Strain into a tumbler filled with crushed ice
- Garnish with a tab of lemon and spring of rosemary
Want more summery options? Here’s why luxury cider should be your decadent drink of choice this summer…
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