I love a good cocktail.
So much so that I’ve taken it upon myself to organise an entire week in celebration of them this October. Whilst talking to people about Norwich Cocktail Week I’ve discovered that people think of cocktails in very different ways.
My wardrobe is inspired by my interest in history and vintage, but I love to put my own spin on things, and I like the same from my cocktails. I prefer them classic, with an established pedigree, though I’m happy when a good mixologist puts their own twist on things.
My favourite cocktails are generally short, strong, high on spirits and low on mixers. Like Manhattans and Martinis. To me these are autumn and winter drinks. Though they are still delicious when served super cold on a hot summer day, they are best sipped by candlelight in a dimly lit bar while watching rain roll down the windows outside.
Many people, it seems, think of cocktails as more a summer drink. Something long, refreshing, and served in a glass stuffed with ice, and fruit. So today I bring you 5 delicious Summer cocktails, ideal for sipping in a bikini by the pool while peering over the top of your perfect cats eye sunglasses, but that still have plenty of vintage pedigree. You can find plenty more just by searching “Classic Cocktails” on TheBar.com
The Mai Tai
The Mai Tai was born in the 1930s. Don the Beachcomber was a Louisiana bootlegger and bit-part actor who had travelled his way around the South Pacific. Shortly after prohibition was repealed he set up a bar to house memorabilia from his travels and shortly afterwards Trader Vic followed suit and set up a similar bar as the popularity of the Tiki style flourished into the 1940s and 50s. They even went to court to fight over who was the creator of the original Mai Tai, Trader Vic won, but many people still believe that Don the Beachcomber created the original Mai Tai.
Regardless of who created it, the Mai Tai is perfect for tiki lovers, all tropical fruit and rum, get yourself a tiki glass to drink it out of!
This one has a LONG history, going back to the 1850s. As with most cocktails this old, there is much discussion as to it’s true history, including that it was invented by British Royal Navy surgeon Sir Thomas Gimlette who used it as a way to encourage sailors to take lime juice to combat scurvy.
Some recipes use fresh lime, and others use Roses Lime Cordial, or a combination of the 2, but served really cold it is refreshing on a summer day, it’s definitely one to try for fans of London Dry Gin.
The Singapore Sling
Developed in the early part of the 20th Century in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, this is a drink that’s around 100 years old! My Mum & Dad have been, they bought me back tea, not cocktails, humph! This is a gin based drink that non gin lovers can enjoy as it’s mixed with several other strong tasting ingredients!
Even the name sounds like long balmy nights on the veranda. There are several versions of the drink around, and the original Raffles version is heavily modified from it’s original beginnings. Some versions use pineapple juice, this version uses just soda water as a refreshing alternative.
Pimms & Lemonade
So classic you don’t event think of it as a cocktail, right? Pimms was invented in 1823 by a London Oyster bar owner as a digestif, and has been sold commercially ever since. There was even a franchised chain of Pimms Oyster houses in the late 1800s.
Stuffed with fruit, cucumber and mint and lots and lots of ice it’s pretty much a summer classic in England, perfect for watching Tennis in wearing a straw hat.
Ah, I remember my boyfriend at the time making tequila sunrises back in the mid 90s and I thought I was immensely sophisticated drinking cocktails. The drink, however, has a much longer pedigree than that, with the original version dating all the way back to the 1930s. Created by Gene Sulitt in the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, the drink was named after the way denser ingredients settled in the glass to create a sunrise effect.
I have read that the original version had a different recipe, and the current most popular version using Orange Juice is a 1970s variation. Either way it’s still tasty!
Use a spoon to guide the grenadine syrup down the side of the glass to create the sunrise effect.
Do you have a favourite Summer Cocktail?
This post was sponsored by TheBar.com, but all opinions are my own!