It’s a cool drink kind of day! Try these!

By / Magazine / July 10th, 2015 / 6

Wait! Is that the sweet sound of ice cubes clinking in a glass I hear? Oh yes, another cocktail has just been brought forth into the world. What would summer be without a cool drink in the hand? There’s no need to hop over to the local pub this time. In fact, there’s no need to get up off that lounge chair at all.

Bartenders have pushed the concept of cool cocktails to way beyond the average person’s capabilities (well, mine anyway). Hard-to-get ingredients, centrifuges and professional techniques like sous vide, make for some pretty photogenic concoctions. But, backyard relaxing should be more about … well … relaxing. Let’s keep it fresh and simple, OK? So, to that end, here are some tips to help you stay cool this summer.

be bitter and proud
Hoppy beer and bitters (like Angostura) serve one necessary purpose: they quench that nagging thirst. (Ok, fine; they taste really good, too.)

tame that sweet tooth
Sugar is nice. But, it will make you thirstier. Wasps will also find your company particularly alluring. However, if resisting a touch of sweetness is just too much, distract the little pests with a tray of juice all their own. Swapping honey, agave nectar or stevia for sugar won’t keep insects away, but it will result in delicious flavour adventures.

the best of the best for the best
Look, just because a cocktail is a mixture of various ingredients does not mean that using just any old product is fine. You will taste the difference. Bartenders are very picky about their choices when concocting even the most complex cocktail for very good reasons. Try any kind of libation (even water!) made by three different producers and notice how each has its own distinctive qualities. Every single one of the recipes below features the unique taste of a particular product. Feel free to experiment with your own favourites.

hot rocks
As a block, shaved or popped out of a fun mould, ice is in. (My favourite ice cube trays: the Chill Pill, iceberg and Titanic and Pi.) Adding just a little ice won’t water down the drink, but it will make the cocktail fun and, of course, cool. Cheers!

the classic
Vodka is an enduring cocktail base. It lends a subtlety and texture to the drink without overpowering any of the other ingredients. In the cocktails that follow, Polish-made Wyborowa offers notes of creamy lemon and anise. It adds depth and rounds out the drinks’ fruity flavours. Or you can try the Absolut Citron for an extra kick of citrus.

Triple Citrus
  • 40 ml vodka
  • 20 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 15 ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 15 ml sugar syrup
  • 1 fresh ginger slice
  • 2 drops of orange bitters
  • Ginger ale

Mash the ginger with the sugar syrup and add all ingredients except the ginger ale into a shaker. Shake and double strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top up with ginger ale and garnish with an orange peel and sprig of mint.

polish mojito
  • 40 ml vodka
  • 20 ml lime juice
  • 40 ml apple juice
  • 20 ml sugar syrup
  • Mint leaves
  • Lime
  • Carbonated water

Put mint leaves and sugar syrup into a tall glass. Gently knead mint syrup before adding vodka and lime juice. Fill glass with crushed ice and apple juice before garnishing with a sprig of mint.

raspberries and passion
  • 50 ml vodka
  • 20 ml apple juice
  • 15 ml sugar syrup
  • 10 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 ml passion fruit syrup
  • 5 raspberries
  • 1 passion fruit

Mash fruit in a cocktail shaker before adding the remaining ingredients and ice. Mix and strain into two cocktail glasses. Garnish with raspberry and mint leaf.

clean and cold
Sparkling water, on its own or with a dash of this or that, is the ultimate hot weather refresher. Perrier, hailing from France, is mineral water that has been carbonated naturally. The bubbles are big and tend to last quite a while. A splash will add a definite taste of flint and mineral to a drink.

the weekend warrior
  •  1 1/2 oz orange vodka
  • 1 bottle chilled mineral water
  • 1 orange
  • 1 maraschino cherry

In a mixing glass 3/4 full of ice, shake 1 1/2 oz of orange vodka to chill. Strain and pour into the glass. Top with a splash of mineral water. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange wedge.

rose petal cosmo
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • Splash of mineral water

Combine all the ingredients, except mineral water, into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass, top with the mineral water and garnish with a couple floating rose petals.

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Fee’s grapefruit bitters
  • 3 oz mineral water

Stir ingredients together and pour into your favourite tumbler or tall glass with ice. Zest a grapefruit peel to replace grapefruit bitters.

  • 1 1/2 oz tequila
  • 3 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup (1:1 honey to water)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes Fee’s grapefruit bitters
  • 5 strawberry slices
  • 5 oz mineral water

Stir ingredients together and pour into a tall glass with ice. Zest a grapefruit peel to replace grapefruit bitters.

out of africa
Admittedly, a cream liqueur is not the first kind of drink to jump to mind on a hot day. In the evening, however, I have a whole different take on the subject. When the hot sun sinks into the horizon, a cool splash of something creamy is decadent and delightful.

amarula sunset
  • 2 oz Amarula Cream
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 2-3 tsp strawberry purée
  • Fresh strawberry to garnish

Blend ingredients and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.

amarula colada
  •  2 oz Amarula Cream
  • 1 oz white rum
  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz coconut cream
  • Pineapple and/or cherry to garnish

Blend all ingredients with crushed ice and pour into a tall cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.

lighten up
Low alcohol is where it’s at this summer. Enjoy full-on flavour without the furnace effect that’s sometimes brought on by high-octane wines and spirits. Switch it up a bit, and in between cocktails, try cooling that heat with these tasty sippers. New trend alert: make sure to have some non-alcoholic cocktails on hand, too.

Savanna Dry Premium Cider, Distell Group Ltd, South Africa ($2.50/330 ml)

Bury a few of these in a bucket of ice. Wait until cold then pop the top. Push a lemon wedge down the bottleneck; sit back and enjoy. This cider is clear golden in colour with a slight bit of effervescence. A scent of sweet apples and some yeast permeate the air upon opening. On the palate, it tastes dry with subtle notes of Granny Smith apple. It finishes clean, tart and refreshing.

Broken Ladder, BC Tree Fruits Cider Co, BC ($2.50/330 ml)

Quite the debut, I must say. Broken Ladder apple cider is the first to be produced by this branch of the larger and much older BC Tree Fruits Cooperative. Blending 7 different types of apples, this cider features a pale yellow (almost green) colour, slight cloudiness and lots of sparkling little bubbles. It shows crisp, tart and orange marmalade on the palate. Light and thirst quenching on even the hottest day.

Melville’s All Natural Ginger Beer, Innes & Gunn, Scotland ($2.95/500 ml)

Like Amarula, ginger beer may not be top of mind as the most refreshing choice on a hot day. If so, I’d ask you to reconsider. Dark amber in colour, it forms a nice (but slight) head as it’s poured. The bouquet is heavenly with candied ginger & spice. As its name suggests, this drink is not afraid to push the ginger to the forefront. That pungent and spicy flavour is followed up immediately with notes of citrus. The finish is long and gingery. Because it trades sweetness for spice, Melville’s All Natural Ginger Beer is a perfect summer chiller.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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