“Whisky is a classic summer drink,” says Sean Baxter, Whisky Ambassador for World Class Australia. While that statement might make Australian beer fans froth at the mouth, Baxter says history is on his side. He points to whisky punch being served in saloons and bars “long before the first cocktail recipe book was published in the late 1800s.”

“I much prefer it in summer cocktails,” says Baxter. “Blended whiskies are lighter, and have an almost-caramel note that’s the perfect match for citrus and fruits.”

Whisky as a summer drink comes from American culture, where – unlike the Scottish climate of its origins – it was designed for hot Kentucky summers.

“The classic Kentucky cocktail was the Mint Julep with whiskey, sugar and mint over shaved ice,” Baxter explains. “Traditionally, Kentucky farmers and workers would have it on a hot summer’s day.”

There’s a whisky creation to please even the fussiest of palates. Here’s Baxter’s favourite cocktails to sip on during a scorching summer day – and night.


Classic Whisky Punch
“Whisky punches began as a combination of whisky, water, sugar and lemon,” says Baxter. But as cocktail bars started progressing, sugar was replaced by sweet liqueur to enhance the flavours.

“This is the ultimate backyard soiree drink,” Baxter says. “You’ve got friends over and the barbeque cranking. Make up a batch in a nice big vat and serve in Mason jars with lots of fruit.”

Single serve. Approximately 1.5 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
45ml Singleton Spey Cascade
15ml lemon juice
30ml sugar syrup
60ml mineral water

Method:
Add all ingredients into a short glass, add ice and stir until chilled. Garnish with a lemon wheel and long straw.

For batching.

3 parts Singleton Spey Cascade 
1 part lemon juice
2 parts sugar syrup (1:1)
4 parts mineral water

Method:
Add all ingredients, add ice and stir until chilled. Garnish with lemon wheels.


The New Yorker
For this twist on the whisky sour, Baxter takes out the traditional egg white and serves it on ice in a cocktail or martini glass.

“This take on a classic is a bit more fizzy, a bit more like orange sherbet,” he says. “It’s decadent, so I’d have it after dinner as a bit of a treat.”

Approximately 1.5 standards drinks.

Ingredients:
45ml Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch: Red Rye Finish
20ml lemon juice
10ml Real grenadine
5ml 1:1 sugar syrup (simple syrup)

Method:
Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupette. Add orange zest over the top.


Speyside Cobbler
Harking back to the early days of cocktails, fruits would traditionally be added to poor-quality spirits to mask the flavour. Now, berries decorate a glass as a nod to tradition as well as to add beauty to the drink.

“Build this one up with lots of crushed ice and fresh fruit,” Baxter says. “It looks really beautiful, and because we’re now using great-quality base spirits, the fruit only enhances the flavour. You’d want to serve this one up at dusk, with the colour of the fruit matching the hues of the sky. Particularly perfect overlooking a Byron, Bondi or Queensland sunset.”

Approximately 1.7 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
45ml Singleton Spey Cascade
15ml Oloroso sherry
1tsp super-fine caster sugar
60ml soda water
5 fresh raspberries
5 fresh blackberries

Method:
Add sugar and soda water to the bottom of a short glass. Stir until dissolved. Add two fresh raspberries and blackberries to the bottom of the glass and crush lightly. Add whisky and sherry and top with crushed ice. Stir roughly. Top the glass with more crushed ice and garnish with remaining berries.


Boulevardier
“This is more of a big, Manhattan-style cocktail,” Baxter says. A popular bartender’s drink, traditionally it’s a combination of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Campari.

“It’s quite light and fitting for the summery palate because it focuses on citrus flavours,” says Baxter. “Serve it before dinner as an accompaniment to seafood or even a good-old pizza night.”

Approximately 1.8 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
45ml Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch: Red Rye Finish
15ml Campari
15ml Italian sweet vermouth
Orange twist

Method:
Stir all ingredients over ice and then strain into a chilled coupette. Garnish with an orange zest.


Whiskey Buck
This one is from the buck family of cocktails, where ginger beer and citrus is added to a base spirit for extra zing.

“Served in a tall glass with a nice big lime sprig, this is quite an appropriate representation of summer in a glass,” says Baxter.

Approximately 1.5 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
45ml Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch: Red Rye Finish
100ml ginger beer
2 slices of lime

Method:
Add whisky and the squeeze of one lime wedge to the bottom of a glass. Top with ice and fill with the ginger beer. Garnish with remaining lime wedge and a straw.

This article is presented in partnership with World Class.