Summer cocktail and mocktail recipes

Sunny days and balmy nights mean just one thing when the sun sets: a very cold, refreshing drink in a tall glass. Make yours a large one…

White wine and elderflower fizz

Sauvignon blanc and elderflower share similar aroma profiles – gooseberry, orange blossom and lime – so it’s no surprise that they mix well. This is from Victoria Moore’s superb 2010 book How To Drink and is lovely for a sunny afternoon in the garden. Serves six to eight.

2 unwaxed lemons
200ml elderflower cordial
1 bottle chilled sauvignon blanc (something inexpensive from the Loire or South Africa)
750ml sparkling water
1 lime slice or 1 borage sprig, to garnish

Gently wash the lemons, then rub them with the back of a knife to release the oils. Cut them in half and put them in a 1.5-litre jug with the cordial and the wine, then refrigerate until you’re ready to drink.

Add ice and the water, stir and serve garnished with a slice of lime or a sprig of borage.

Gin & tonic with watermelon and cucumber

Some gins are particularly summery, especially those with cucumber and/or floral notes. Martin Miller’s and Hendrick’s both fit this bill, as does the new William Barentsz gin with its heady jasmine scent. Fragrant watermelon flatters the botanicals and here turns up in both the tonic water and the ice cubes.

½ small watermelon
50ml summery gin
150ml Double Dutch cucumber and watermelon tonic (or ordinary tonic)
1 strip cucumber, to garnish

Peel and deseed the watermelon, then cut the flesh into 2.5cm cubes. Place these on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, cover with cling-film and freeze for at least four hours. Once they’re frozen, the watermelon ice cubes will keep in a tub in the freezer for a month.

Put five or six watermelon ice cubes into a highball or goblet-shaped glass, add the gin and top with tonic, to taste. Use a vegetable peeler to cut a thin strip of cucumber and curl it into the glass as a garnish.

Fino and fizz

Shamelessly lifted from Ryan Chetiyawardana’s book Good Things To Drink (he calls his drink Bubbles And Byass), this shows how brilliantly dry sherry can work in a long drink. Any cheap and cheerful fino will do, or try it with amontillado for more nutty depth. Serves one.

50ml fino sherry
15ml apricot liqueur
Soda water
1 sprig basil and 1 green olive, to garnish

Mix the sherry and liqueur in a large wine glass, add plenty of ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of basil and a green olive.

Vermouth and tonic, americano shandy
Tall order: vermouth and tonic (left) and americano shandy. Photograph: Patricia Niven/The Guardian

Vermouth and tonic

Tonic water is top of my list as a mixer for all sorts of drinks, because its distinctive quinine backbone marries well with so many flavours. White port and tonic seems to be everywhere this summer, but I’m also drawn to vermouth – the bitter quinine in the tonic mirrors the bitterness of the wormwood, the ingredient at the heart of every vermouth and from which it gets its name. Sweet, dry or medium, take your pick: all go with tonic. Sweet works well with an orange slice as a garnish, while dry benefits from a herbaceous lift, such as thyme. Serves one.

50ml dry vermouth (try Noilly Prat or Cocchi Americano; look out later in the year for Lustau’s insanely delicious new Vermut Blanco)
150ml tonic water (I favour Schweppes, because it has the best-quality bubbles)
1 thyme sprig and 1 lemon slice, to garnish

Load a tall glass with ice, pour over the vermouth, top with tonic and garnish with the thyme and the lemon.

Americano shandy

Bear with me on this one: Campari and sweet vermouth make a happy marriage, most famously with a hefty glug of gin in a negroni, or as an americano when lengthened with soda water. Here, they rub along surprisingly well with a hoppy lager to make a shandy with a certain Italian elan. It’s a little bit country and a little bit rock’n’roll. Serves one.

25ml Campari
25ml Martini Rosso (or other sweet vermouth)
About 150ml pilsner-style lager
1 lemon slice, to garnish

Pour the Campari and vermouth over ice in a tall glass and top with lager. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

pineapple and kaffir lime crush; mauresque; and Earl Grey and ginger iced tea
Sip it and see (from left): pineapple and kaffir lime crush; mauresque; and Earl Grey and ginger iced tea. Photograph: Patricia Niven/The Guardian

Pineapple and kaffir lime crush

Serves six.

1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
6 dried kaffir lime leaves
2 tbsp sugar
About 1 litre chilled ginger ale
1 lime wedge, to garnish

Put the pineapple, kaffir lime leaves and sugar into a jug with a capacity of about 1.5 litres. Muddle (ie bash) with a muddler or the end of a rolling pin and leave to macerate for an hour or two. Add the ginger ale, stir, then strain into tall glasses over ice and garnish with a lime wedge.


Pastis is not for the faint-hearted, because its intense, aniseed flavour asserts authority wherever it’s found. At its simplest, it’s mixed in the glass with ice and chilled water to taste (I like about one measure of pastis to four of water), but it also lends itself well to other flavours to make something a bit more snazzy. Substitute the orgeat in this for grenadine and you have a tomate; or go wacky and make a perroquet instead, using crème de menthe. Serves one.

50ml pastis (my default is Ricard, but Tarquin’s Cornish Pastis – geddit? – is also very good and lends a charming herbal dimension)
25ml orgeat (almond) syrup
About 150ml chilled water

Put the pastis and orgeat in a tall glass with a few cubes of ice, then pour over the water and stir. Classically, this drink is served without a garnish, but a twist of lemon wouldn’t go amiss.

Earl Grey and ginger iced tea

Serves four.

2 Earl Grey teabags
3cm piece root ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp honey
Soda or sparkling water
Mint sprigs, to serve

Pour about 500ml boiling water over the teabags and ginger, leave to steep for 10 minutes, then stir in the honey until melted. Strain into a jug, then chill. To serve, pour about 125ml of the liquid into each glass, add ice, top with soda water and garnish with a sprig of mint.

• Kate Hawkings is co-owner of Bellita in Bristol.

• Food Stylist: Jack Sargeson. Props: Ginger Whisk & Penn Street Studio. Retouching: Darkroom Digital

Kate Hawkings

The GuardianTramp

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