You may have noticed it’s been a bit warm this week. There are few things the poorly insulated and generally un-airconditioned nation of Britain is less prepared for than the mercury screaming past the 30-degree mark. So really, the only sensible thing to do is park yourself in the shade with a big jug of water, some good company, and a cold cocktail.
The following drinks are specially designed to beat the heat without being too much hassle to put together. They’re easy-going, refreshing, and none of them require a cocktail shaker – because, honestly, who can be bothered with that sort of thing just now? Cheers.
In its native Andalusia, the Rebujito is the answer to the Spritz or the Mojito. It’s most commonly made with a good slug of bone-dry sherry topped with 7-up or Sprite – but this version lightens things up with fresh citrus and a little elderflower.
75ml Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
25ml Hotel Starlino Elderflower Liqueur
15ml Lime juice Soda water
How to make
- Pick five-to-six mint leaves and set aside a good-looking sprig for garnish. Drop the mint into a highball glass and add the sherry, elderflower liqueur, and lime juice.
- Carefully press the leaves with a muddler or bar spoon to release their aroma – be careful not to overwork them or they’ll become bitter, a light touch is all you need. Fill the glass to the brim with ice and top with soda.
- Give everything a gentle stir to combine and garnish with your reserved mint sprig.
- Fortified wines like fino sherry are great for lower-ABV cocktails as they bring the depth and personality normally supplied by spirits. Tio Pepe Fino en Rama 2022 (£16.50 – The Wine Society) is a stunning example of the style – unfiltered and packed with notes of lemon, toasted almonds, chalk soil and coastal salinity. If you can’t lay your hands on a bottle of that, Sainsbury’s carries the regular Tio Pepe which has a slightly cleaner profile and is likewise excellent.
- Hotel Starlino Elderflower liqueur (£23.95 – Master of Malt) is made in Piedmont, with flowers and other botanicals sourced from the Italian alps. It’s a great ingredient to introduced to classic cocktails and well-worth keeping on hand. Here it shows a herbal edge that plays nicely with the mint and lime juice.
A French accented remix of the endlessly riff-able Negroni, this off-white version of the old classic is full of citrus and earthy bitterness. Just like the original, it makes a great afternooner and is excellent back up for olives and charcuterie. The proportions have been tweaked slightly from the usual 1:1:1 format to account for the intense bitterness of the wildly addictive Suze gentian liqueur.
35ml Citadelle Jardin D'Eté Dry Gin
25ml Lillet Blanc 15ml Suze Liqueur Orange
How to make
- Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass with ice and stir to chill and combine – taste as you go to make sure you’ve got the right level of dilution. You’ll know when it’s right. Top up with extra ice – it’s toasty out there, after all – and garnish with a wedge of orange.
- Any citrus forward dry gin will work but the Citadelle Jardin D'Eté (£40 – Harvey Nichols) really makes this pop. Traditional gin-gredients (sorry) like juniper, angelica, and coriander are joined by yuzu, Charentais melon, and Szechuan pepper. It’s quite soft on the palate but those intense aromas really shine when combined with the sweet, grape-y Lillet (Ocado – £17). This traditional aromatised wine has been produced in Bordeaux since the 1870s and makes a great substitute for sweet white vermouth.
- Be sure to keep your bottle in the fridge after opening and drink it within a month-or-so. It’s delicious so this shouldn’t be a problem. The only really specialist item in this drink is the gentian liqueur but a good off license should carry at least one.
- Bright yellow, floral and bitter – Suze (£18.95 – The Whisky Exchange) has long been a favourite of bartenders all over the world. It’s a great addition to the home bar and generally makes a fun substitute for Campari or Aperol.
One of the great venetian exports, this blended after-dinner treat is traditionally made with sparkling wine and lemon sorbet. This version – remixed with Tequila and mango – offers a fruitier profile that’s perfect for the hot weather. The best part is that because the blender does the hard work for you it’s easy to make for a crowd.
25ml Mijenta Tequila Blanco
75ml Maschio Prosecco Brut
1 Scoop Mango Sorbet Lime Juice
1:1 simple syrup
How to make
- Add your tequila, mango sorbet and prosecco to your blender with a small handful of crushed ice. A lot of super markets will sell you pre-crushed ice these days but you can always pulse cubes in your blender until they’re fine and snowy before you add the other ingredients.
- Blend until totally smooth – it should take about 20-30 seconds – and pour into a large cocktail glass or champagne saucer. It’s good to make a test one of these to begin with so you can judge how much sugar syrup and lime juice to add – some mango sorbets will be sweeter than others so just think of this as adjusting your seasoning. After you’ve got that down, you can scale up this recipe to serve as many people as your blender will allow.
- The modern Sgroppino is usually made with vodka, but the use of 100% agave blanco tequila here gives it a little extra complexity that works brilliantly with the mango. Mijenta Tequila Blanco from the highlands of Jalisco (£49.95 – The Whisky Exchange) also brings a slightly spicey, honeyed character that shines through in the finished drink. Maschio Prosecco Brut (Waitrose - £9.99) is excellent value for money, pleasantly dry with a bit of apple blossom and citrus peel. You’d happily buy a case of this for the discount and keep yourself in Sgroppini all summer.