Late summer cocktails: 17 easy drinks recipes – made with four ingredients or fewer | Food

Tequila highball

Chris Tanner, the executive bar manager at The Proofing Room, London

I’m a big fan of a highball in the summer. It is relatively low abv (alcohol by volume) and super-refreshing, so you can put them away all day! Our tequila highball is a particular favourite. Stir together 15ml tequila (we use Ocho), 1 teaspoon Aluna coconut rum, 10ml sugar syrup and 10ml kummel and top with soda. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can garnish with a lemon wedge to squeeze in when you’re done.

Mai tai

Mai tai from Arcane

Sammie Cox, a bartender at Arcane, Manchester

There are so many recipes for a mai tai that they might as well be different cocktails altogether. This version is close to the classic Trader Vic recipe (founder Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr was one of two people who claimed to have invented the drink) and uses fewer ingredients, so you can really taste the delicious rum. Take 40ml of rum (we recommend Chairman’s Reserve, from St Lucia), 15ml of orange curaçao, 25ml of fresh lime juice and 15ml of orgeat (almond) syrup. Pour over ice in a shaker, shake well and strain over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig (optional).

Rosé spritz

Fraser McFadden, the head of drinks at The Kitchin Group, Edinburgh

This is a lovely and refreshing summer cocktail that is simple to make and great for when you have friends over enjoying a drink in the sun. Simply mix 125ml rosé wine, 15ml elderflower cordial and 50ml soda, then serve over ice in a wine glass. Garnish with a slice of lemon, seasonal berries and a sprig of mint (optional).

Prugna frizzante

Adamo Varbaro, a drinks consultant at Tavolino, London

Fill a wine glass with ice and add 35ml umeshu (plum sake) – I use Akashi-Tai umeshu – followed by 50ml prosecco, three drops of grapefruit bitters and 100ml Fever-Tree white grape and apricot soda. I love how the six-month gentle marination of the plums in the sake extracts the essence and sweetness of the fruit, which blends perfectly with this mixer for a complex herbaceous finish. Stir well and enjoy.

The floradora

The floradora from the Milk Thistle

Ben Peacock, the general manager at the Milk Thistle, Bristol

This drink has a great balance of sharpness and sweetness, which really makes me feel I have quenched my thirst. However, it can be a tad dangerous as it is super easy-drinking. Take 50ml gin, 15ml raspberry shrub (we use the Bristol Syrup Co’s shrub) and 15ml lime juice, stir together and pour on to ice in a tall glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel (optional).

Twisted tom collins

Din Jusufi, the bar manager at Farzi Cafe, London

My preferred summer cocktail will always include gin, so I’ve chosen a riff on a classic tom collins. In a shaker, mix 50ml gin or Old Tom gin, 15ml fresh lemon juice, 10ml of sugar syrup and one or two kaffir lime leaves (optional), then shake and strain over cubed ice and top with tonic water (I use Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic). Summer drinks are all about refreshing your palate – and what better way to do so than with a flavourful, fragrant and botanical gin cocktail?

Daisy daisy

Daisy daisy from Peruke & Periwig

Adam Walsh, the general manager at Peruke & Periwig, Dublin

This isn’t one of those post-90s disco drinks that hurt your teeth, but it is easy to make at home, and is an all-round winner. You will need 40ml Ketel One peach and orange blossom vodka (or you can use gin), 20ml elderflower liqueur (we prefer Fiorente), 40ml apple juice and 20ml lime juice. For the apple juice, the fresher the better – if you have to use concentrate it does at least give the drink a more attractive appearance – but when it comes to the lime juice, definitely use fresh. Shake before serving – I have never been overly picky about glassware; my favourite wine glass when I’m at home is a coffee mug.

Watermelon and mezcal runner

Jamie Isaac, the owner of Nobody Asked Me, London

A fresh and vibrant cocktail that quenches your thirst but still holds a boozy kick. Perfect for laying in the sun and sipping, but after a few you may struggle to get back up. Fill a highball glass with ice and add 50ml Verde Momento mezcal, 20ml fresh lime juice, 40ml fresh watermelon juice and 10ml sugar syrup (1:1 sugar to water). Stir well until the ice begins to drop in the glass and top up with more ice if needed. We finish with a long rectangle of frozen watermelon for an ice-cool, juicy garnish.

Pinotage spritz

Pinotage spritz from Pritesh Mody

Pritesh Mody, a cocktail developer

Everyone’s gone barbecue crazy at the moment and, as a flavour profile, red wine and meat is a classic but it’s a bit heavy, so we spritz it up with a tonic. The thyme links it with the herbaceous notes of the garnishes you would usually have on barbecued food, and the lemon helps freshen the whole thing up. It’s 75ml pinotage, 75ml Indian tonic water – I use the London Essence Company tonic – a sprig of thyme and a slice of lemon. All components should be chilled beforehand, and then served in a wine glass with plenty of ice.

The best summer cocktail in the world

A summer cocktail with strawberries. Photograph: Angela Kotsell/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Oscar Bello and Hammant Patel Villa, the owners of Supercute, London

The ultimate drink, released from the Supercute vault for the summer, when humanity needs it most. Place a handful of your favourite summer fruit (mangoes or strawberries are ideal), in a glass. Add a spoonful of sugar and bash the juicy, fruity mix. Add two shots of vodka – or your favourite liquor – then fill the glass with crushed ice and top with lemonade or soda. Garnish with sniffable leaves, such as mint (optional). Boom!

Healthy hedonist spritz

Healthy hedonist spritz from Camille Vidal

Camille Vidal, the founder of the mindful drinking brand La Maison Wellness and a Global Bartending bartender

Build directly into a wine glass for a single serve. Start by pouring 50ml Lyre’s Italian Spritz over ice, followed by 5ml of aloe vera juice. Next, slowly add 50ml of cucumber soda (I use Something & Nothing’s Cucumber Seltzer). Swill over the ice to mix gently. Finish by topping up with prosecco. Add a cucumber ribbon for a refreshing garnish.

Corpse reviver no 2

Corpse reviver no 2 from Lab 22. Photograph: @yonyphotography

Pajtim Tani Hasa, a bartender at Lab 22, Cardiff

A favourite of mine is a slight twist on a classic cocktail – the corpse reviver no 2. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and sharp, and beautifully refreshing. The original recipe is composed of dry gin (my choice being Aber Falls), Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc in equal measure, shaken up (with an optional drop of absinthe) and strained into a coupette. My personal (and slightly decadent) touch is to swap the Lillet out for Belsazar Riesling Edition vermouth, to give the drink a delicious kick of pineapple and passionfruit.

Elderflower spritz

An elderflower spritz. Photograph: Teodor Costachioiu/Alamy Stock Photo

Sam Trevethyen, the head of beverage training and development at Grind, London

For me, nothing says “summer” more than sipping an ice-cold spritz on a terrace. St Germain is a French elderflower liqueur, and it is just sweet enough to balance out the dry crispness of prosecco in this drink. In a wine glass, simply mix 50ml St Germain, 25ml lemon juice, 75ml prosecco and 75ml soda. If you really want to wow your friends, garnish with a rolled cucumber. Have one, have three – you won’t regret it!

Contessa negra

Contessa negra from Doctor Ink’s Curiosities. Photograph: Matt Austin

Jacob Drew, the manager at Doctor Ink’s Curiosities, Exeter

This is a Tequila-based riff on a negroni, using Aperol instead of Campari for a lighter and slightly sweeter touch. It also uses Dolin Chambéryzette, which is a strawberry-infused version of Dolin’s dry vermouth, making it more of a summer sipping-style aperitif. Add 25ml blanco tequila (we use Don Julio), 25ml Aperol, 25ml Dolin Chambéryzette and two dashes of Bittermens Burlesque Bitters to a rocks glass and stir until chilled and diluted. Garnish with a strawberry (optional).

Irish apple spritz

Ed Hardy, the bar manager at The Dead Canary, Cardiff

This is a light, refreshing, spritz-style drink – perfect for the warmer weather. To prepare, fill a highball glass with ice, add 30ml whiskey and 10ml manzana verde (green apple liqueur), followed by a squeeze of lime juice. Then top with soda water. Green Spot whiskey is my personal favourite for this drink – it’s not overpowering and has a wonderful fruity aroma and taste. Blended with apple liqueur and tartened with lime juice, it’s hard to beat!

Pear and vanilla martini

Jake Sparrow, a bartender at At the Chapel, Somerset

Some people are put off by James Bond-style martinis – but this is a sweet version which is really popular in the evenings. Add 25ml Xanté, a cognac-based pear liqueur, and 50ml vanilla vodka to a cocktail shaker, followed by a dash (about 12ml) of apple juice – we use Dowding’s apple juice, which is made on a farm just round the corner – and vanilla syrup, to taste. Shake all the ingredients together with lots of ice, then strain and serve in a martini glass. We have pears growing in our garden, so we slice those up to use as a garnish.

Wild raspberry sour

Wild raspberry sour from The Tippling House

Adrian Gomes, the owner of The Tippling House, Aberdeen

I live about an hour west of Aberdeen, right on the edge of the Cairngorms national park. Every summer, the forests nearby are teeming with sour wild raspberries. The acidity of raspberries is a little higher than that of lime juice, so I can substitute citrus juice and replace with the freshly squeezed juice of the raspberries. As a base, start with 50ml of a robust gin with a spicy edge (Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin is my choice, since we own part of it), add 50ml of the wild raspberry juice, local heather honey or agave syrup to taste (two teaspoons should do the trick) and either an egg white or aquafaba (chickpea water), if you’re a vegan. Shake all the ingredients over ice, and serve straight up.

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