Ahhh. When the rays come beating down, and summer peaks at its sweltering best there is no substitute for absolute refreshment. We must have tall, frosted beverages filled with crisp fruit flavours and nothing less! Mixed drinks and cocktails all around town preen their feathers and demand the attention of the un-slaked masses, but plenty of the same old fare is dressed up, as always, in a very “mutton as lamb” fashion. Allow me present a few drinks that have flown under the radar just in the nick of time to save your lips from Mojito RSI this season.
Frosted Berry Julep
Nothing compares to simplicity, and this small, frosted number oozes minimalist chic. The Julep is almost as old as mixed drinks get: this humble heat tonic has long kept the American Deep South cooled all summer long! Try this humble blend of spirits, mint and sugar supercharged with the tasty additions of berries and rosewater. Belvedere’s black raspberry vodka, a recent addition to the flavour map, is a perfect match for our bev. Gather the ingredients listed below, and let’s get into it:
60mls Belvedere black raspberry vodka (if you can’t find it in reputable retailers simply use plain vodka and a large tablespoon of mixed berries)
2 tsp fine sugar
8 tender mint leaves (keeping the sprigs from the bunch)
Plenty of crushed ice
Putting this puppy together is as easy as pie. Stick a third of the vodka in a tumbler with the sugar and mint (berries too, if you’re using them) and mix them gently together, bruising the mint a little. Fill the tumbler one-third with crushed ice and churn it all up. Top the glass with another healthy mound of crush (it should be looking old-school snow cone-like by now) and garnish with a straw, a mint sprig and some berries if they’re on hand. Serve, and watch ‘em quickly vanish!
Serves one. Multiply amounts as needed.
Orchard Stone Fence
Australians are finally getting it: cider in summer is an all out winner. This brilliant, sparkling product is great when given fangs by bourbon – a spirit that hangs over us all as a bogan spectre, but is one of the least understood yet most readily consumed products in Australia; and what better way to show it in its correct light than with the forgotten potation, the Stone Fence. All you need do to recreate this delicious mixer is to grab these ingredients:
30mls good quality bourbon (less than $35 bucks, and it’s not going to cut it!)
10mls freshly pressed lemon juice
10mls sugar syrup (equal parts warm water and sugar, stirred till clear)
A bottle of good quality cider (Magners is probably your baseline here)
Grab any nice tall glass, add the bourbon, lemon and sugar syrup together and swirl it about till they’re mixed. Pack the glass with ice and top it with your chilled cider. Simple! These are at once delicious and restorative – until you have three or four! Please enjoy in moderation.
Pimms Cup Revival
Pimms, glorious Pimms: one of the very few trends that we see as a permissible leftover of British cultural influence. Nothing is more quintessentially summer than the famous Pimms Cup. It’s light, it’s delicious and it goes easy on the head during the daylight hours (or any others for that matter!).
This big, multi-serving arrangement can handle a real “kitchen sink” kind of approach and easily accommodate loads of different fruits. Hence I’ve been playing around, and have come up with a very tasty variation – in a large jug of course. You’ll need:
1/3 bottle Pimms (for one jug’s worth)
100mls honey water (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred)
60mls lime juice
½ a knob of ginger, finely sliced
½ a cucumber, finely sliced
6 or 7 (or as many as you want!) strawberries– make sure they’re ripe and sweet.
In your big ‘ol vintage glass jug (or the plakky one stolen from the pub last week) pour in your Pimms, lime, honey water and two thirds of all the sliced fruit. Fill it with ice til about two thirds full and top it with your nicely chilled ginger ale. Tough, eh?! Dress some cute glasses with ice, the remaining sliced fruit and some straws, and fill with your delicious Pimms mix. Once that step is complete, turn up The Police, jump in the pool, laugh at your friend’s not-so-funny joke and note that life definitely could be worse.