It’s cocktail o’clock

It’s cocktail o’clock

25th July 2019

Need some inspiration for summer cocktails? Let Times drinks editor James Viner guide you in the right direction. Whether you’re having a barbecue, cocktail party or just hanging out in the garden here are three easily assembled and delicious thirst-quenching cool drinks to wow your party guests and relish throughout the summer

Cocktail for ‘National Tequila Day,’ (July 24)

‘El Diablo’ with Olmeca Altos Plata Blanco Tequila, Mexico

(£19 offer until July 29, Tesco; £21.00 offer until August 13, Waitrose; Alc 38%)

Stir up a storm as it’s #NationalTequilaDay today and what better way to mark the occasion than concocting a mouth-watering tequila-based cocktail? This classic should be learnt by all bartenders and can easily be scaled up to share from a jug with friends. One nip of this fruity cocktail and you'll be transported to a beach somewhere far, far away. Salud!

Ingredients:

  • 50 ml non-mixto (100% blue agave) Olmeca Altos Plata blanco tequila
  • 15 ml Crème de Cassis, e.g. Lejay, which makes a purple haze
  • 15 ml Fresh lime juice
  • 100 ml Quality ginger ale/beer, e.g. Fentimans 

How to Make it:

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the tequila, crème de cassis and lime juice. Fine-strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer, garnishing with a lime wedge and/or fresh blackberry.

Classic Venetian Cocktail

The ‘Bellini’ with Bottega Gold Prosecco, Veneto, Italy 

(£20-£25, Selfridges/Whisky Exchange/Amazon, Alc 11%)

Effectively an Italian version of a Kir Royale, the great drink of Venice (other than Aperol Spritz) was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in the 1930s and named after the Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini because its pink colour reminded him of a saint's robe he had seen in one of his paintings. I recently enjoyed a house Bellini made with Bottega Gold prosecco at Birmingham’s Bottega Prosecco Bar and Restaurant. It’s fragrant and breezy with all the sparkle of a glitter ball and really looks the part in a gold bottle that shields against ‘lightstrike’ (or ‘goût de lumière’ in French), the detrimental effect that light can have on wine. Cin cin!

Ingredients:

  • 100ml/4oz fresh peach puree. Yellow peaches are fine but in-season Italian white peaches are best. Remove the stone and the skin and pulp gently in a blender. Peach puree freezes well so you can enjoy Bellinis out of season. 
  • Bottle of quality chilled Prosecco, e.g. Bottega Gold

How to Make It: 

Add finely strained peach puree to a flute. Using a bar spoon rested inside the lip of the glass, pour prosecco over the spoon to avoid excessive foaming. Stir to combine.

Cumbrian Gin Cobbler

‘The Lakes Cobbler’ with Bedrock Gooseberry & Elderflower Gin, Cumbria

(£29.95, WineBuyers & Bedrock Gin, 50cl, Alc 40%)

An American creation and back in favour with the recent cocktail renaissance, cobblers are an offshoot of the punch family tree that consist of sugar, spirit (or wine), crushed ice and fruit, typically served with a straw.   This cocktail was devised for me by Vince Wilkins who founded Spirit of the Lakes Ltd, the brand owner of Bedrock gin, just outside Keswick in the Lake District in 2008 (it’s produced at the Langley distillery in the Midlands). His Gooseberry and Elderflower Bedrock Gin uses the base spirit of his award-winning Bedrock London Dry Gin made with Cumbrian spring water and kiln-dried oak bark. It's then sensitively flavoured with gooseberry and elderflower for summery serves. 

Ingredients:

  • 35ml Bedrock Gooseberry and Elderflower Gin
  • 35ml Cloudy Apple Juice
  • Dash of fresh lemon juice

How to Make it: 

Combine ingredients and serve with plenty of crushed ice, a sprig of mint and a dusting of icing sugar. Cheers, Vince!

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine 

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