When it comes to entertaining, drinks can be trickier than food. Anyone can have a surprising salad ingredient or a closely guarded low ’n ’slow barbecue procedure. Far fewer hosts think outside the wine-beer-soda box. But it can be done. Here, five leading international bartenders and mixologists share creative summer drink recipes you could easily make and that, whether for a riff on a Waldorf salad or a strawberry spritzer, will keep your guests cool, refreshed and, perhaps most importantly, impressed.
Waldorf Salad by Gn Chan, co-founder, Double Chicken Please, New York City
“In 1893, the Waldorf Astoria hotel invented what became its trademark salad. Over the years, with each new head chef in the kitchen, the salad’s recipe evolved, except for three ingredients — walnut, apple and celery. We took these three constants and blended them with two types of whiskey — a smooth scotch (Aberfeldy) and a smoky Scotch (Laphroaig) — which are complemented by freshly grated black pepper.”
- 35ml Aberfeldy 12 year
- 5ml Laphroaig 10 year
- 40ml apple juice
- 2 dashes walnut bitters
- 100ml ginger ale
Build in glass with ice, and top with ginger ale.
That Watermelon Drink by Naren Young, creative director of Sweet Liberty, Miami
“This is our take on a watermelon margarita. El Tequileño, the tequila, has a big reputation in Mexico but is fairly new to the United States, and the Montelobos mezcal is made in Oaxaca with 100 percent organically certified agave espadín. The drink has some herbal notes from the coriander, which can be omitted as not everyone loves that herb, but the result is far superior with it in there.”
- 30ml El Tequileño Blanco
- 15ml Montelobos mezcal
- 5ml Select Aperitivo
- 20ml watermelon juice
- 15ml lemon juice
- 15ml agave nectar
- 5 drops white balsamic
- 2 stalks coriander (in shaker)
- 4 cucumber wheels (in shaker)
Shake and fine-strain over ice.
Garnish: Half-rim of Tajín, sprig of coriander.
Spagliato by Monica Berg, bartender, co-owner of Tayēr + Elementary, London
“This is a classic recipe that we serve in carafes at Tayēr + Elementary. We use cava instead of prosecco (which is used in the more traditional Italian serve) as it is drier and less sweet. The Campari and sweet vermouth give the bittersweet taste that makes it a perfect aperitivo before dinner. Batch preparing it and building it in a carafe makes it a really simple yet effective serve when entertaining.”
- 200ml Campari
- 200ml Martini Rosso
- 200ml Pago de Tharsys cava (or any good quality cava)
Add all ingredients to a suitably sized jug and stir. Serve over ice.
Glass: Highball or rocks.
La Fine Fraise by Thibault Massina, creative director of Le Syndicat, Paris
“La Fine Fraise is a spritzer that is fruity and light, so perfect for summer drinking, with a relatively low A.B.V., which is great for garden parties. The candied strawberry flavour works in harmony with the freshness of the white Armagnac. The cocoa notes match the greediness of the strawberry and give a longer finish that highlights the complexity of this cocktail.”
- 10ml cocoa liqueur
- 10ml strawberry syrup (see below for recipe)
- 15ml Blanche Armagnac, not aged Armagnac (if you don’t have Blanche, you can use vodka)
- One teaspoon lemon juice
- A drop Tabasco
- Sparkling water to top
Strawberry syrup (or you can use a store-bought one):
1. Take 300g strawberries.
2. Hull and cut them into quarters.
3. Put them in an airtight jar.
4. Add 300g white sugar.
5. Mix and let the sugar melt and absorb the water from the strawberries.
6. Filter through a sieve to recover the strawberry oleo.
7. Keep in a cool place.
La Fine Fraise:
1. Put all the ingredients (except for the sparkling water) in a highball.
2. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
3. Stir once.
4. Fill with sparkling water.
5. Stir a second time.
6. Use a strawberry cut in two as garnish.
Ice Cream for Astronauts by Moe Aljaff, co-founder and owner of Two Schmucks, Barcelona
“This drink started off as a gin basil smash meets a gin and tonic, but as summer arrived in Barcelona and it got hotter, we found ourselves needing to add ice cream to everything. The coconut complements the vegetal flavour of the basil, and it works great with tonic as a highball. The result is a fresh, ice-cold fizzy drink for summer.”
- 50ml Fords Gin
- 25ml lime juice
- 20ml sugar syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut ice cream
- 5 leaves Italian basil
- 75ml tonic
- Pinch of salt
Glass: Highball or collins.
Garnish: Basil leaf.
Ice: Fill with ice or one big ice sphere.
1. Put all ingredients together (except for the tonic) and flash-blend in a hand blender or larger blender for 5 seconds without ice.
2. Strain out the liquid and shake with ice.
3. Add the tonic into the shaker and pour it all into glass.