It’s time to get the party started. Nothing sets a scene for celebration like a cocktail (novelty umbrella optional).This summer there’s one thing to keep top of mind; fresh is best. Even if you’re revisiting a retro favourite (mango daiquiris, we’re looking at you), as long as you’re using the pick of the season, you’re home and hosed. All that’s left to do is find your pitchers and charge your glasses. *nb, there are no bananas in these cocktails. We’re not that crazy.
1) Fresh Tomato Bloody Marys
The beauty of a Bloody Mary is how flexible it is. It gets on just as well with smashed avo at brunch as it does with a platter of oysters at sundown. When tomatoes are at their blushing best it would be a crime to lean on jarred juice. Just blitz together the plumpest toms you can find with some fresh chilli, lemon, lime and Worcestershire sauce. A length of celery makes for a fine muddling stick. How much gin or vodka you slug in is entirely up to you. Get the recipe here.
2) White Peach Bellinis
The original bellini comes from Harry’s Bar in Venice, where any fellow who wants to sip one while wearing shorts will be turned away. It’s classically made by grating a peach, rather than pulverising it in a blender. It may seem a little labour intensive, but the end result is a velvety puree which muddles perfectly with sparkling wine. Make them to order and serve them as Harry’s does – with small plates of green olives for snacking. And feel free to wear whatever you like. Get the recipe here.
3) Lime and Lychee Gimlets
There are two parts to this recipe. The first is a fresh lime cordial that you will want to always have on hand over summer. The second is a cocktail that may very well become your new best pal. A gimlet has the punch of a martini, but the freshness of a caipiroska. The gin should be bristling cold, as should the glass you pour it into. A fresh lychee for a garnish makes this steely cocktail a little more flirty. These are perfect as an aperitif before a big feast. Or at the end of a long day. Get the recipe here.
4) Mango Daiquiris
It might look like a relic from the 1980’s and it might taste a bit like dessert, but mango daiquiris spell the start of all sorts of fun. These can be made virgin by leaving out the rum (by the same token, you can make them as strong as you like). If you fancy something frosty, try filling empty jam jars ¾ of the way up with the blended cocktail and then freezing them with the lid screwed back on. The rum will prevent them from freezing solid. You can pull them out of the freezer 5 minutes before friends arrive for a head start on a rollicking good time. Get the recipe here.
5) Each Peach Pear Punch
This is a punch that cries out for sunny afternoons with old friends. It might be inspired by nursery rhymes but this is an adult drink. It’s mildly sweet from peach puree and pear liqueur (which you could also substitute with brandy) and festive with bobbing dice of ripe stone fruits. You can also moderate how sweet it is based on what kind of pink wine you use – a medium dry rose is perfect. You can add as much soda water to it as you like; more for something lighter, less for a boozier session. Make a large pitcher and serve with platters of cheeses and crackers. Or cake. Get the recipe here.