Put some fizz into your summer!

Cocktails

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I don’t often post recipes, but it’s now June, and that means the real beginning of summertime (we’re now only a couple of weeks away from the summer solstice and the longest day, believe it or not). And summertime means barbeques and picnics and parties and outdoor fun – assuming it doesn’t rain, of course, and that’s a big assumption to make about the British summertime!

Of course, barbeques, picnics and parties – enjoyable though they are on their own – are not really complete without something fizzy and preferably alcoholic to get happily drunk on while sitting in the park or the back garden with your mates and your sunnies on.

The popularity of Pimms as the essential summer drink in recent years is all very well (don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff), but here’s a few slightly different ideas for quick, easy and delicious summery sort-of-cocktails, most of which were inspired by friends and family.

I’ve also been inspired by some excellent cocktail ideas from the characters over at Myrtle Takes Tea – in particular, I like the sound of their recipes for “Tips’s Dandy Shandy” and “The Duke of Earl Grey Fizz”, which are fun and unusual twists on classic cocktails.

My suggestions are a little bit more basic (and more ‘just pour everything into a glass and then drink it’) than your actual proper, expertly mixed and delicately sipped cocktails like those the Duke and co. prefer to make, but they’re tried and tested favourites – repeatedly tried and tested, just to make sure!

NB: You can easily adapt any of these recipes to suit your own tastes or budget. I’m a bit vague about quantities, and you may prefer your drinks mixed to different proportions, so feel free to experiment (any excuse!) until you find the combinations that you like.

Ginger Spiced Rum:

This zingy, spicy rum-based drink is just as nice made with the strong Jamaican-style ginger beer you can buy in cans at the corner shop, but personally I prefer it made with the Fentimans, which has a slightly herby flavour that works well with the spices in the rum. If you fancy a grown-up Famous Five-type adventure, you could even try making lashings and lashings of your own boozy ginger beer from my friend Char’s excellent recipe (which has also been tried and tested by yours truly!).

You will need:

Spiced rum (there are quite a few varieties to choose from – we like Morgan’s Spiced and Sailor Jerry)

Ginger beer, chilled (Fentimans for preference – see above)

Ice

Limes

A squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Tall(ish) glasses

How to make it:

1) Put several cubes of ice into each glass.

2) Pour a shot (or two!) of spiced rum over the ice.

3) Top up with the ginger beer.

4) Add a squeeze of lime juice (optional), and a slice of lime.

5) Enjoy in the sunshine…

Pomegranate and Cava Fizz:

Cava is basically Spanish champagne – and it’s just as nice as the French stuff, as well as being considerably cheaper! There’s no point in buying the most expensive Cava if you’re going to try this recipe (save that for a celebration); conversely, don’t use the really cheap stuff either. This is a favourite with my family; it’s delicious, dead simple, and potentially lethal!

You will need:

Cava, chilled (dry or sweet, depending on your tastes – but dry works better)

Pressed pomegranate juice, chilled (for preference, although you can use the ‘from concentrate’ stuff)

Champagne flutes

How to make it:

1) Open the bottle of Cava carefully (it’s all about removing the bottle from the cork, not the other way round!).

2) Half-fill the champagne flutes with the Cava.

3) Top up with the pomegranate juice.

4) Quaff – although don’t quaff too much because this stuff packs quite a punch!

Rose’s (Non-Alcoholic) Apple Lemonade:

And finally, here’s one for the non-drinkers/designated drivers (because we can’t forget them!). This may not sound as if it will work, but it’s delicious and refreshing – the rose lemonade combines beautifully with the apple juice to create something that’s a little more sophisticated than your average soft drink.

(Hat-tip to Rose for this one!)

You will need:

Fentimans Rose Lemonade, chilled

Good quality pressed cloudy apple juice, chilled (Copella’s English Apple juice works well in this recipe)

Ice

Tall glasses

How to make it:

1) Put several cubes of ice into each glass.

2) Fill half full with apple juice.

3) Top up with the rose lemonade.

4) Drink!

You can also find more cocktail and drink ideas here and here.

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