People holding cocktails - french martini and long island iced tea, saying cheers. The best summer cocktails -Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
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Best Summer Cocktails: 13 Fun Recipes

Knowing the best summer cocktails to serve can make the difference between your party being just OK or being unforgettable.

But with so many great drinks to try, how do you choose what to make?

Here we’ll tell you what to serve, and some tips on when to serve them. This is simply a guide, of course, so enjoy these classic drinks whenever you fancy.

We’ll also throw in some snippets about the drink in question so you can wow your guests with your cocktail knowledge. You’re welcome!

 

Best Summer Cocktails with Gin

 

Elderflower Collins

elderflower-collins-cocktail

25ml Gin
25ml Elderflower Liqueur
40ml Cloudy Apple Juice
4 Mint Leaves
3 Lime Wedges
60ml Soda water

How to make an Elderflower Collins

Squeeze the limes in a Highball glass.

Clap the mint to extract the mint essence and then add to the glass.

Add the gin, elderflower liqueur and apple juice. Add cubed ice to the top of the glass.

Top with a dash of soda and mix with a bar spoon or any long spoon.

Garnish with a mint sprig.

Tell us about the drink?

Nothing captures the essence of an English summer like the taste of elderflower. Like the English Garden cocktail, this twist on the classic Tom Collins recipe also uses elderflower.

Like all classic cocktails, the origins of the Tom Collins are shrouded in mystery. There are two competing versions: the first theory is that the drink was adapted from the John Collins cocktail created by the head waiter at the Limmer’s Hotel London.

The second (and much more fun) story is that the drink was named after the great Tom Collins hoax in 1874.

The story goes that a friend would be told that a person named “Tom Collins” had insulted them and could be found at the local bar. Upon entering the bar and asking the barman for Tom Collins, he was then presented with the sour gin drink instead.

When to drink an Elderflower Collins:

This sweet yet refreshing serve is perfect for an afternoon garden party.

Adding mint to the mix gives this drink a crisp, refreshing taste which balances the sweetness of the other ingredients.

 

French 75

A French 75 Cocktail in a Champagne Flute

60ml Gin
15ml Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Sugar Syrup
150ml brut Champagne

How to make a French 75

Shake the gin, lemon, and sugar in a shaker, then pour into a collins glass with ice cubes.

Top with champagne.

Tell us about the drink?

They say success has many fathers, and this is the case with the French 75, the origin of which is cloudy.

In 1927, during the height of Prohibition in America, an American cocktail book first published the recipe of the French 75.

However, a cocktail called simply “75” had already been common in Paris since 1922. This version included a mix of gin, absinthe and grenadine and so is a very different drink to the recipe listed above.

Both drinks are said to be named after 75mm cannons used in WWI, though others say they are named after Paris which is the 75th of 94 French Administrative Departments.

The recipe above is the classic version; later variations would add cognac and suggest serving in a Champagne flute. Why not try both and see which you prefer?

When to drink a French 75:

Serve in the early evening, along with canapes. The acidity of the Champagne is calmed by the sweetness of the sugar and the flavour of the gin.

 

Gin Basil Smash

A green gin basil smash cocktail on a bar. Photo by Johann Trasch on Unsplash

60ml Gin
30ml Lemon Juice
20ml Sugar Syrup
Handful of basil leaves

Garnish: Sprig of basil

Gin Basil Smash Method

For the best results, take half a lemon and muddle in your shaker to extract the juices.

Add the sugar, gin, and basil leaves.

Shake, and strain into a rocks glass.

Tell us about the drink?

Created in 2008, the Gin Basil Smash is refreshing and delicious. The herbiness of the basil leaves perfectly complements the sweetness of the sugar and the bitter lemon flavours.

Created by Jorg Meyer at the Hamburg bar Le Lion has created a wonderful update on the “Smash” cocktail which originated in the 1840s. One of the first written records of the smash comes from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book “How to Mix Drinks”.

Later in the century, barman Harry Johnson would differentiate the Smash from the similar Julep cocktail.

When to drink a Gin Basil Smash:

A refreshing beverage perfect for a sweltering summer’s day.

 

Bramble

A bramble cocktail sits on a wooden board with blackberries, basil leaves and dehydrated orange slices as decoration and garnish - Photo by Proriat Hospitality on Unsplash

60ml Gin
30ml Lemon juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
15ml Crème de Mûre

How to make a Bramble

Shake all ingredients apart from the Crème de Mûre in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Pour onto cubed ice in a rocks glass

Gently drizzle the Crème de Mûre on top and garnish with a lemon slice

Tell us about the drink?

For over 30 years, Dick Bradsell delighted guests in the London cocktail scene. Though most well-known for creating the Espresso Martini (see below), Bradsell also created this fruity delight.

It’s a simple drink, but drizzling the blackberry liqueur over the top of the drink created a beautiful “bleed” effect which will entrance your guests.

Oh, and it’s scrumptious.

When to drink a Bramble:

Whilst the inclusion of gin and lemon suggests a pre-dinner drink, we’ll go rogue and suggest that the rich, sweetness of the Crème de Mûre means this could also be a nice palate cleanser for after you’ve eaten.

 

Sloe Negroni

sloe-gin-negroni

Ingredients
25ml Sloe Gin
25ml Sweet Vermouth
25ml Campari

How to make a Sloe Negroni

Add all ingredients along with ice to a rocks or old fashioned cocktail glass. Stir 3 to 4 times and garnish with orange zest.

Tell us about the drink?

The history of cocktails is one of invention. Over the years trailblazing bartenders have combined new ingredients in different ways, creating extraordinary drinking experiences for their customers.

The Negroni is a prime example. The accepted origin story is that in 1919, Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender to strengthen his Americano cocktail by replacing the soda water with gin, thereby creating a classic.

The Sloe Negroni updates the drink further by switching the main spirit for Sloe Gin.

When to drink a Negroni:

The bitterness provided by the Campari means it’s an impeccable pairing for salty, cheese dishes. A cheese board or charcuterie platter would be a great match.

 

Best Summer Cocktails with Rum

 

Coconut Daiquiri

Daiquiri Cocktail - best summer cocktails

40ml White Rum
20ml Coconut Water
15ml Lime Juice
7.5ml Kaffir Lime Leaf Syrup
10ml Coconut Syrup

How to make a Coconut Daiquiri

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake, then fine strain into a martini glass.

Tell us about the drink?

The Daiquiri is a cocktail every home bartender should know how to make. It’s infinitely adaptable, providing an easy way to create a range of possibilities for your guests.

The Daiquiri is thought to have been invented in the late 1800s in the Cuban mining town Daiquiri (hence the name), and then brought to the US a decade later.

As the story goes, American engineer Jennings Cox invented the drink by accident at a party. The favoured gin had run out so he tested rum in the punch and the Daiquiri was born. Or so they say.

When to drink a Daquiri:

The Cocktail Society’s variation on the recipe includes rich coconut flavours, making this a first-rate beverage to sample before dessert.

 

Why not try: The Cocktail Society’s Ready to Drink Bottled Coconut Daiquiri?

 

Dark and Stormy

Dark-and-Stormy-recipe

50ml Goslings Black Seal Rum
½ Lime cut into wedges
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
150ml Ginger Beer

How to make a Dark and Stormy

Cut the lime into 4 wedges, putting one aside for later.

Squeeze the juice of the remaining limes into a Collins glass and drop the limes into the glass.

Add cubed ice and ginger beer to fill just over two-thirds of the glass. Pour 50ml of Goslings Black Seal Rum slowly over the top of the ginger beer.

Add a few dashes of bitters and garnish with a lime wedge.

Tell us about the drink?

Created by British naval officers stationed on the island after World War I, the name derives from its resemblance to storm clouds.

Thankfully we’ve found no link between enjoying this drink and actual storm clouds showing up.

The Dark and Stormy is a cinch to make and the spice from the rum is an ideal livener for your taste buds before dinner.

For some bartenders adding lime is a faux pas, but we think it injects the drink with an extra kick and balances the sugary flavour of the ginger beer.

When to drink a Dark and Stormy:

The perfect drink to enjoy as the sun sets.

The Cocktail Society’s expert tip: when pouring in the rum, pour slowly and aim for an ice cube to produce a sophisticated layering effect.

 

Best Summer Cocktails with Tequila

 

Tommy’s Margarita

tommys-margarita

60ml Tequila Reposado
30ml Lime Juice
15ml Agave Nectar

How to make a Tommy’s Margarita

Shake all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Serve in a rocks glass filled with ice cubes.

Tell us about the drink?

The Margarita is Mexico’s iconic cocktail, so much so that there are many disputed stories about who created it and when.

What we do know is that San Francisco bartender Julio Bermejo decided to tweak the original recipe to make the Agave flavour stand out.

Tequila is distilled from the Agave plant, so making this flavour the hero just makes perfect sense.

When to drink a Tommy’s Margarita:

Pop on some tunes and enjoy whilst having a boogie!

 

Paloma

A Paloma Cocktail in a tall Collins glass. Photo by Illumination Marketing on Unsplash

60ml Tequila
15ml Lime Juice
Grapefruit Soda
Pinch of Salt

How to make a Paloma Cocktail

Use the salt to make a rim around a Collins glass.

Mix all the other ingredients over ice into the glass.

Garnish with a slice of grapefruit. Or lime if you prefer.

Tell us about the drink?

We hope you like grapefruit if mixing this drink, reputed to be a favoured drink in Mexico.

Grapefruit is the overwhelming flavour, which takes the edge off the Tequila. The salt naturally complements the spirit, creating a well-balanced long serve.

If you’re into Mojitos, or even the humble Gin and Tonic, then this is the perfect drink for you to try. Like a Margarita, salt is optional.

When to drink a Paloma:

Not surprisingly, this drink pairs incredibly with Mexican food. It’s also a great drink to enjoy on a lazy afternoon in the sun.

 

Best Summer Cocktails with Vodka

 

Harvey Wallbanger

45ml Vodka
60ml Orange Juice
15ml Galliano
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 dash orange bitters

How to make a Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail

Shake in a cocktail shaker and serve in a Collins glass.

Tell us about the drink?

Is it the most complicated, or dare we say it, impressive cocktail? Perhaps not.

But the Harvey Wallbanger is super easy to make, and therefore should be included in any home bartender’s arsenal for when throwing together a last minute

soirée.

It’s also a classic Disco drink and seeing as ‘70s cocktails are having a bit of a renaissance recently, it’s the perfect time to try this cocktail.

A twist on The Screwdriver, which it’s debatable even deserves to be described as a cocktail (as it’s literally just Vodka and orange juice), the vanilla flavours from the Galliano combine with the lemon juice and orange bitters to create a citrussy taste with a hint of spice.

To take it to the next level, take the advice of Don Lee who adapted the Wallbanger for the Golden Cadillac bar in New York and strain your orange juice through a coffee filter to clarify the juice – leaving it clear and aromatic.

When to drink a Harvey Wallbanger:

One legend about the creation of this drink is that it was the favourite of surfer Tom Harvey, who banged his head off a wall after enjoying one too many.

Whether true or not we think this drink is the perfect serve for a beach party (though remember to enjoy responsibly!)

 

Salted Caramel Espresso Martini

espresso-martini-recipe

25ml Vodka
25ml Coffee Liqueur
60ml Coffee (chilled)
10ml Salted Caramel Syrup

How to make an Espresso Martini Cocktail

Add all ingredients and ice into a shaker. Shake all ingredients very hard; you’ll need to do this to create the drink’s signature foamy head. Fine strain into a martini glass and garnish with three coffee beans.

Tell us about the drink?

Coffee and dessert go together as strawberries go with cream. It just makes sense.

Add in a dash of salted caramel and you’re onto a winner.

Created by British bartender Dick Bradsel at The Soho Brasserie in the 1980s, the rich flavours of this drink speak for themselves.

When to drink an Espresso Martini:

The Espresso Martini is a classy way of kicking of a dinner party, but also can be a great serve with a rich, chocolaty dessert. You could even skip dessert and serve the Espresso Martini as a liquid substitute!

 

Try it yourself: The Cocktail Society Espresso Martini Kit

espresso-martini-kit

 

Best Summer Cocktails with Whisky

 

Whisky Sour

A whisky sour cocktail in front of a bottle of Laphroaig Whisky

60ml Whisky (or Whiskey if using American or Irish spirits)
30ml Lemon Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
1 egg white

How to make a Whisky Sour Cocktail:

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake well over ice and then serve into a rocks or old fashioned glass.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry and slice of lemon.

Tell us about the drink?

First printed in the famous 1862 book “How to Mix Drinks”, the Whisky Sour is simple to make.

The beauty of the sour is its adaptability. Using whisky as an example, switching out your main spirit will subtly alter the flavour, whilst retaining its core flavours.

Perhaps you’ll use a smoky Scotch, like Laphroaig or something smoother like Old Elk Blended Straight Bourbon.

When to drink a Whisky Sour:

Serve at a classy cocktail party and your neighbours will be very impressed.

 

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned Cocktail in a rocks glass with orange slice garnish on a wooden table

Old Fashioned Ingredients
50ml Bourbon Whisky
1 Brown Sugar Cube
4 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Orange Zest

How to make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

Add a few discs of orange zest to a rocks glass.

Pour 4 dashes of bitters onto the sugar cube and add to the glass. Break the sugar cube with the flat end of your bar spoon or with a rolling pin.

Add 2 cubes of ice and 15ml of Bourbon. Stir for around 1 minute or until you see the ice melting.

Add another 2 cubes of ice and 15ml of Bourbon and stir for another 30 seconds.

Add 20ml more of Bourbon and 2 more cubes of ice and stir for another 30 seconds.

Squeeze a further orange zest over the cocktail and garnish with a thin slice of orange peel.

Tell us about the drink?

Call us old fashioned but we believe that classic drinks served well stay popular for a reason.

Dating back to the 1800s, this cocktail includes smoky whisky flavours paired with rich orange notes.

The first version of the Old Fashioned Cocktail was known as the Whiskey Cocktail, which was a common remedy of the time for headaches and nausea – a blend of whiskey, bitters, sugar, and lemon zest – a very close resemblance to the famous cocktail we know and love today.

When to drink an Old Fashioned:

The perfect nightcap to finish off an evening.

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