Glasgow's top bartenders give their tips on how to make the perfect summer cocktail

Cocktails in the City is heading for Glasgow this month, so we asked some of the best bartenders from the city for their top summer tips.

Published 11th Aug 2017
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Arriving in Glasgow on the 25th August, Cocktails in the City will bring together the city's top mixologists to offer guests the chance to sample an amazing array of cocktails.

Hosted at the Briggait, sixteen bars in pop up form will be guiding those who attend in the art of cocktail-making for an evening of interactive drinking experiences.

The Tips

Make your life easier and pre-batch your cocktails

(Conor Jones – The Salon At Blythswood Square)

Conor said: "It means you can measure everything and make sure it tastes great. One way to impress friends is create a homemade syrup.

"Simply simmer equal amounts of sugar, water and a fruit/herb of your choice until you the sugar dissolves in the water. You can then make a simple twist on classic drinks such as the Tom Collins, etc."

Pay attention to flavours and pick the right ingredients

(Daniel Robertson - Bar Soba Merchant Square)

Daniel says: "Passionfruit is an extremely versatile flavor in the way it can add both fruity as well as citric qualities to a drink, at Bar Soba we tend to use a passionfruit syrup for ease of use and speed of service, however it’s an extremely easy ingredient to get a hold of in the supermarket and you merely need to half the fruit, decant the seeds before mixing with sugar to create your own!

Summer cocktails

Passionfruit is a great ingredient for a summer cocktail. Picture: Wikimedia

"For a herbaceous, summery alternative element to your cocktail, you can’t go wrong with basil. The main benefit to this is that it adds a peppery element that’ll off set the sweetness of a lot of drinks, much in the same way as actually using black pepper without the grainy texture.

"Watermelon is a very naturally sweet fruit with extremely high water content that is extremely healthy, with that in mind the best thing for it is a good slug of gin (or rum, or tequila, or vodka!), while Grapefruit has a great ability to bridge the gap between lemon and lime to make a happy medium which is also aesthetically pleasing."

• Competition: Win two VIP tickets to Cocktails in the City and two bottles of Makar Glasgow Gin

Use the right glassware and prepare some simple garnishes

(Barry Oates – Kelvingrove Café)

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Picture: Cocktails in the City

Barry said: "Take some time to source nice glassware, the right size for the drinks of your choice and prepare some simple garnishes.

"The first taste is with the eye and any drink served up in beautiful glassware with a nice garnish will make your guests feel really special."

Pay attention to your other ingredients

(Scott McLeod - Atlantic Bar & Brasserie) 

Scott said: "There is no point buying a good quality spirit and then mixing it with cheap fruit juices and modifiers. Spend a little more on your other ingredients and you will really notice the difference

Keep it simple and keep it fresh!

(Ian Sanderson – Tiki Bar)

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Ian said: "Don’t overcomplicate your drinks, fresh juices and ingredients are the difference between a good and great cocktail."

The Tools

Invest in large ice cube moulds

(Paul Reynolds – Gin 71)

Paul said: "Invest in large ice cube moulds, the small ice cube trays you get as standard melt straight away diluting your drink. A little trick we like to do is freeze tonic water into cubes with a little fruit inside.

Picture: Kenn Wilson\Flickr

"It looks great visually and the flavours slowly release. Perfect for putting theatre into something as simple as a Gin and Tonic."

Buy yourself some cocktail making equipment if you really want to go the extra mile

(Daniel Robertson - Bar Soba Merchant Square)

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Daniel said: "A muddler is easy enough to pick up in the shops and great for breaking down flavours in the glass before adding other liquid, however if you can’t be bothered with the hassle of going to the shops, I’d just get a hold of a small rolling pin, as that’s essentially what it is, you can also use this to break down crushed ice for your mojito’s!

A muddler is a very useful tool. Picture: Didriks\Flickr

"One of the things that’s probably worth looking into getting a hold of is a bar spoon as this is ideal for churning, layering and stirring down drinks as well as carefully moderating the flavours you’re putting into drinks

"Coming in a variety of different styles, shapes and sizes, the cocktail shaker is a very useful bit of equipment however I’d recommend opting for the Boston Shaker style because as well as shaking your drinks it’s also possible to stir them down in the base of the Boston shaker glass, you’ll soon find yourself as adept at vodka martinis as you are French martinis."

• Tickets for the one day event are £12 - including one drink on arrival - and can be bought here

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