Cocktail Hour

Whilst summer has been a little fleeting of late, this weekend is set to be a scorcher. Now that the British Isles will be graced with blazing hot, sunburn-worthy sunshine, we should definitely make the most of the weather.

With a bank holiday on the horizon and the potential (or vain hope?) for more sun-drenched days ahead, here are some cocktail recipes which are full of summer flavours and ingredients. These quick and easy concoctions will upgrade even the most impromptu of garden parties, barbecues or picnics in the park.

Cucumber Gin Cocktail

The Summer Gimlet
This cocktail is a modern variation on the traditional gimlet, a mixture of equal parts lime juice and gin which is said to have been used by the Royal Navy as a way to combat scurvy. There is nothing medicinal about this reincarnation, which combines delicately fragrant elderflower with refreshing mint and cucumber. It looks oh so pretty in the glass and tastes of pure essence of summer. Though it packs a serious punch!

50 ml gin
25 ml St. Germain elderflower liqueur
15 ml lime juice
3 cucumber slices
Handful fresh mint

In a cocktail shaker, muddle two cucumber slices with the mint until nicely bruised. A pestle or small rolling pin does the job nicely. Add the gin, St Germain, lime juice and a handful of crushed ice. Shake well before pouring through a sieve into an awaiting martini glass. Garnish with the remaining slice of cucumber.

Extra Step: Infuse your gin with cucumber for a deeper flavour. Simply peel half a small cucumber (the skin can taste bitter), scoop out the seeds from the middle and cut into small cubes. Leave these to steep in 200ml of your preferred gin for as long as possible. Pre-chill the glasses for extra brownie points from cocktail connoisseurs.

pomegranate & prosecco cocktail

Pomegranate and Prosecco
Pomegranate is a delicious ingredient with a vibrant colour which looks great in cocktails. The following recipe couldn’t be simpler. Or tastier.

20 ml pomegranate juice
10 ml sugar syrup (you can buy this in most supermarkets or make your own by heating
equal parts sugar and water until fully dissolved)
125 ml Prosecco

Mix together pomegranate juice and sugar syrup in a champagne flute. Top up with ice-cold
Prosecco. Drink. Easy peasy!

Extra step: If you’re feeling fancy, first rub the rim of the glass with a wedge of lime and then dip incaster sugar.

Raspberry slushie
Boozy Raspberry and Orange Popsicle

The humble ice lolly is not simply a chunk of flavoured ice on a stick. It is that, but it also evokes childhood memories of endless summer days, paddling pools and bare feet on grass. In adulthood, arguably the best way to enjoy this nostalgic treat is to corrupt it with a little tequila.

Ingredients (makes four):
A popsicle mould
10 raspberries
30 ml water
50 ml cherry juice
20 ml tequila
20 ml Cointreau
10 ml sugar syrup
150 ml orange juice

Blend together the raspberries, water, cherry juice and tequila in a blender. Sieve into a jug (you should have around 120 ml liquid after this) and distribute evenly between four moulds. Next, mix the Cointreau, sugar syrup and orange juice in a jug and top up your moulds. Measure the alcohol carefully as too much will prevent your popsicles from freezing. Leave to freeze for at least two hours.

Extra step: If you’re a child of the nineties, you may be more interested in slushies than ice lollies. To make your own, simply pop your lolly into a martini glass, leave to melt ever so slightly and crush with a fork. A childhood favourite, reimagined.

Recipe and photography: Kate MacCarthy

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