Just as our wardrobes shift when the weather warms, so our preference in drinks takes a turn.
From fresh, spritzy tipples to frozen drinks that combine cocktails with ice lollies, these bartender cocktail recipes promise fast refreshment.
Now that we’re in the midst of a heatwave, London’s bar industry pros are also taking a seasonal approach to their drink mixing. We chatted with four of the city’s top cocktail pros to learn all about the summery drinks they’re enjoying now. (After some inspiration yourself? Don’t miss the bartender cocktail recipes below).
Declan McGurk, Manager at the American Bar, opts for gin as a summertime cocktail base – a fine choice, if you ask us. He’s recently crafted a special cocktail that honours The Savoy‘s 125th anniversary; featuring fruit and floral flavours alongside a touch of bitterness from the Chinato, it’s a restorative and seasonally appropriate drink:
30 ml gin
15 ml Cocchi Rosata
15 ml Cocchi Barolo Chinato
10 ml St Germain elderflower liqueur
30 ml lemon juice
15 ml grenadine
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the first six ingredients. Stir well and strain into a chilled Champagne flute; top with Champagne.
The American Bar isn’t the only place where thirsty punters can find flavours straight from the garden making an appearance this summer. Max Venning of 69 Colebrooke Row says: “With summer hopefully on the way, I expect to see more herbaceous and floral offerings. Gin is the perfect partner to these flavours due to its botanicals. The orris in Sipsmith, for example, brings powdery violet and vanilla aroma to a drink.”
For his summer drink, Max singles out a riff on the Southside Fizz, which plays with herbaceous mint and lemon thyme (both ideal Sipsmith pairing partners).
50 ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin
25 ml lemon juice
20 ml lemon thyme simple syrup
8 mint leaves
Add the first three ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and stir until well blended. Lightly muddle the mint leaves in a chilled highball glass and strain over the stirred ingredients; top with soda.
To make the lemon thyme simple syrup: Cook 20 g of lemon thyme in 200 ml of water on a very low heat for 30 minutes, with the lid on the pan. Strain off the lemon thyme and add 350 g of caster sugar and stir to dissolve. This will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Rachael Naylor of Hawksmoor also notes a trend towards fresh, garden produce in her recipes. Her drink, the SipShrub Collins, is a refreshing highball that puts the bright, fragrant flavours of the yuzu fruit in the spotlight.
50 ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin
20 ml lemon juice
12.5 ml simple syrup
10 ml yuzu and nectarine shrub (100 ml white wine vinegar, 1 whole nectarine, and zest from 1 whole yuzu macerated for 24 hours, strained off with 200 g sugar added to the liquid)
Add the first four ingredients to an ice-filled highball glass and stir to blend; top with soda and garnish with a lemon twist.
And finally, the last of these bartender cocktail recipes comes from Pawel Rolka, Bar Manager at the Coq d’Argent‘s rooftop bar. Though it’s unabashedly fruit-forward, the drink’s chamomile and thyme syrup lends a balancing herbal note.
The Lady Chamomile
50 ml gin
7.5 ml peach liquor
10 ml lychee juice
5 ml lemon juice
2 ml absinthe
20 ml chamomile and thyme syrup
Dash of vermouth
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake without ice to emulsify the egg; add ice and hard shake before straining into a Martini glass.
To make chamomile and thyme syrup: Combine 1 L of water, 1 kg of sugar, approximately 10 g of dried chamomile flowers (substitute 5-7 bags of chamomile tea) and 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme in a saucepan. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes until sugar is dissolved and the ingredients have had time to steep before cooling and straining.