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6 great summer cocktail recipes for you to try

It's summer (sort of) and what better way to celebrate than with these great summer cocktail recipes

Published: June 23, 2015

Now in June, Scotland’s usually solitary week of summer may or may not have passed but why not indulge in a cocktail or two to get you in the mood for all things sunshine. Whether you are hosting a barbeque, a garden party or you are simply just feeling summery; be sure to dig deep into your fridges and store cupboards to create some random concoctions for you and your friends to enjoy. Think prosecco, gin, rum, mint, cucumber, berries and lime juice aplenty…

Here are some different cocktails and concoction ideas for you to indulge in whilst basking in the Scottish sun.

Dark ‘N Stormy

Dark 'n Stormy. Picture: WC

Dark 'n Stormy. Picture: WC

A personal favourite, don’t let the name fill one with gloom! An intoxicating potion of dark rum, ginger beer and lime - perfect for not just summer but any weather - this highball cocktail happens to be the national drink of Bermuda. Despite its dark appearance as the name suggests, the classic Dark ‘N Stormy embodies tropical flavours and fully refreshes the palette. Normally associated with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, cocktail enthusiasts may beg to differ if one uses any other brand but we encourage you to experiment. Think Myers rum for example.

50ml of Dark Rum (Gosling’s Seal Rum)
75ml of Ginger Beer
Lime wedge for garnish

Fill highball glass with ice cubes and build the ingredients in.
Garnish with a lime wedge.

As we already mentioned, why not experiment and put your own stamp on the Dark ‘N Stormy with perhaps Myers or Kraken rum or even the addition of Angostura bitters, crushed ice, a dash of lime juice and Falernum if you have any lying around.

Indian Summer

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Indian Summer. Picture: WC

Indian Summer. Picture: WC

This snappy citrusy concoction differs from place to place. If you look online, you will find entirely different ingredients and methods under the title ‘Indian Summer’ but I may have found the perfect serve for you to try. Recommendation would be use to a good bourbon brand for this one, Woodford Reserve or Buffalo Trace perhaps.

This cocktail is absolutely perfect for a warm summer evening waiting for the sun to set and is definitely a drink for one who likes all things sour. Full credit goes to Jason Crosby at

50ml of Bourbon
Dash of Limoncello
12.5ml of Lemon Juice
Spoonful of Apricot Jam
8-12 Sage Leaves

All above ingredients placed into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake hard.
For glassware, a small tumbler or rocks glass will suffice. Double strain into glass and garnish with a fresh sage leaf.

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For those who are perhaps not keen on bourbon, this cocktail also works well with gin. Same method and ingredients apply.

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz. Picture: WC

The Aperol Spritz. Picture: WC

No list of summer cocktails would be complete without this delightful and refreshing prosecco-infused drink. Cited as an extremely popular aperitif or spritz - this feel good hit of the summer is certainly on its way to becoming a classic cocktail and is a staple for most cocktail menus up and down the UK.

For those unfamiliar with the Aperol Spritz, the drink came to light a couple of years ago after becoming an alternative to Pimms and rosé wine. Created by Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbledy, co-founder of restaurant chain namely Leon, why not give this refreshing ritual a try by making your own.

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50ml of Aperol
75ml of Prosecco
Splash of Soda Water
1 Slice of Orange

Add lots of ice to a large wine glass, then firstly pour over the Aperol and secondly prosecco.
Give a quick stir, just once, and add a dash of soda water and slice of orange.
One serving of an Aperol Spritz is quite low in alcohol units. One may wish to add a shot of gin to the mix after adding the Prosecco. Intoxicating is it may sound; it is just as refreshing and works well with or without the gin!


The Aviation. Picture: WC

The Aviation. Picture: WC

A classic Prohibition-era cocktail you should definitely be familiar with. Boasting a beautiful light blue, reminiscent of a summer sky, this popular serve is typically shaken and served straight up in a cocktail class.
Oozing with sophistication, I would recommend you have this gin-fuelled beverage with a light meal. The Aviation stands out for its typically polarizing flavours and is cited as a drink you will either love or hate.

35-40ml (1and a half shots) of Gin
12.5ml (½ shot) of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
¾ shot of Maraschino Liqueur
Dash of crème de violette (optional)
Maraschino Cherry

Add the above ingredients with the exception of the maraschino cherry to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake hard until chilled.
Strain into cocktail glass and serve with a maraschino cherry for garnish.

For any die-hard cocktail enthusiasts and bartenders, the infamous Aviation is thought to have first appeared on print almost 100 years ago in a book namely ‘Recipes for Mixed Drinks’ by Hugo R. Ensslin. The author was a bartender in New York’s Hotel Wallick and is widely credited as the creator of the Aviation.

Lychee Mojito

Lychee Mojito. Picture: WC

Lychee Mojito. Picture: WC

It goes without say that a slight glimmer of sunshine always puts us Scots in the mood for all things “alfresco”, no matter the temperature. A typical classic summer drink, everybody loves a mojito and there are several variations you can make to this diverse serve to suit your own personal taste.
A personal favourite of mine is the Lychee Mojito - a lauded take on the classic Mojito - I guarantee it will instantly get you in the mood for an exotic holiday.
When making this tropical tipple, you may decide to add Kwai Feh, a lychee liqueur, which is available to purchase online through Amazon and various drinks websites such as Alternatively you could add fresh lychees and syrup which should be easy to find in Asian stores and supermarkets.

35ml of White Rum
25ml of Lychee Liqueur (Kwai Feh)
Lime Wedges
2 tea spoons of Brown Sugar
6 Mint Leaves
Crushed Ice

Take a tall glass and squeeze in one wedge of lime. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and the crushed mint leaves and muddle altogether.
Add crushed ice to class then top with white rum and lychee liqueur and stir well.
Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

If you decide to use fresh lychees instead of a liqueur, then place the lychees with syrup in a blender and whizz. Then, you can add to the white rum and stir the concoction well before serving.

Gin Ice Lollies

Gin Ice Lollies. Picture: WC

Gin Ice Lollies. Picture: WC

An absolute must for fellow gin lovers!
Gin Ice Lollies, for adults only, should go down a treat this summer as they are very simple to make and they allow a degree of diversity to suit all palettes. Think of brambles, gin sours or gimlets as an ice cold lolly whilst listening to the likes of The Beach Boys and lazing under the beating sun. Not a bad image…
Taken from Croatian publication Mrvica, here is a recipe for White Currant & Cucumber Gin ice lollies.

350g of Fresh White Currants
½ cup of Sugar
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
½ cup of Gin
½ litre of Water
1 sliced Lemon
1 sliced Cucumber

Depending on the amount of moulds you have, this will determine the amount of ice lollies. If you do not have any moulds, you can use plastic champagne glasses which work just as well.
Simmer the white currants and sugar with about ½ a cup of water and leave for approximately 8-10 minutes then leave to cool.
Strain through a sieve to avoid seeds going through.
Add lemon juice, gin and water.
Pour in mould and insert sliced lemons and cucumbers.
Freeze for at least 4 to 5 hours.

Warren Campbell is a food and drink enthusiast who has his finger on the pulse when it comes to the Scottish licence trade. Having written for various publications and worked behind several bars, Warren’s passion for all things trade related is what drives him. He can be seen enjoying a Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood in his favourite haunts around Glasgow or frequenting between Glasgow and Edinburgh’s thriving restaurant scenes.

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