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The Spirit of Summer

We are used to beer, cider and wine around the barbecue. But the summer season demands cocktails too. ANDY CLARKE mixes six of his favourites

 Andy Clarke   Spring 2023

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 #SummerCocktails #BBQCocktails #WorldCocktailDay




Now that garden entertaining has made a welcome reappearance in our lives, it’s the ideal time to complement our outdoor mealtimes with cocktails. I’ve got some fun, easy-to-make cocktails that I hope are going to make your summer barbecues really special.

In short, I love outdoor entertaining and I want to encourage people to ‘sip happy’: Drink to celebrate rather than commiserate. So, let’s keep our smiles on, get the barbecue ready and fix those drinks. 

Andy Clarke is a food and drink writer, TV producer and broadcaster. Recent television credits include his regular drinks slot on ITV’s Love your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh.

Lemon Drop Fizz

When your guests come over, you want to make a statement with something bright and spectacular. Nothing does that better than fizz. I love the freshness of lemon – it gives you that summer feeling whatever time of year it happens to be. I’ve come across many citrus-based fizzy cocktails, most of which use sugar syrup, but by using my retro hidden gem – Asti, that retro northern Italian fizz – you avoid having to make the syrup. The drink is also very simple to make as it contains only three ingredients. I use Edwards potato vodka from Lincolnshire as its smooth texture is perfect with the acidity of the lemon juice.

Equipment: A jug, a stirrer, 

6 Champagne flutes or coupes.

Ingredients (Makes 6 servings)

1 bottle of Asti (750ml)

300ml vodka

The juice of 3 lemons



A handful of ice

Lemon verbena/lemon balm/lemon slice (for garnish)


Put the ice into a large serving jug. Juice the lemons. Pour the vodka into the jug and add the lemon juice. 

(I don‘t filter the lemon juice as I love the fleshy bits)

Open the Asti and gently add to 

the mix, so it doesn’t froth up too much. Gently stir and pour into Champagne flutes.

Decorate with sprigs of lemon verbena, lemon balm or a slice of lemon.

Rhubarb Sparkler

Sticking with fun of fizz, I want to share a simple crowd-pleaser of a cocktail that uses just two ingredients: Cava and rhubarb gin. I love brut Cava because of the crisp flavour and the vivid bubbles it gives at a good price. And with this drink, I’m celebrating one of the UKs best seasonal treats: rhubarb. I like to use Warner’s Rhubarb Gin which is made on a farm in Northamptonshire as has the tang of fresh rhubarb with a beautiful sweetness.

Equipment: A jug, a stirrer, 

6 Champagne flutes or coupes.

Ingredients (Makes 6 servings)

One bottle of Cava (750ml)

250ml Rhubarb Gin

A handful of ice

Sprigs of mint


Place the ice in the jug. Pour in the gin and the Cava. Gently stir.

Pour into your glasses and decorate with a sprig of mint.

Cognac Kicker

Good brandy isn’t just for making brandy butter or putting in your cooking, it should be celebrated as the well-crafted and unique drink that it is. Cognac is the really good stuff from western France and is fabulous as a long drink, as well as in cocktails that complement flame-grilled food perfectly. In my cocktails I use Cognac Frapin 1270, which is made by a family that can trace their history in Cognac back 750 years or so, and I hear that they love a cocktail too. Cognac goes really well with ginger ale and this cocktail proves that theory.

Equipment: A jug, a stirrer and highball glasses

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings)

100ml Cognac

300ml ginger ale

The juice of two limes

A dash of Angostura Bitters

A handful of ice

Wedges of lime for decoration


Fill your glasses with ice. Juice the limes and pour the juice into the jug. Add the Cognac and ginger ale and gently stir.

Pour into the glasses and decorate with a lime wedge.

Raspberry Frosé

When I was in Miami a few years ago, I was relaxing by the pool as the outdoor bar opened and the only thing they served was frosé – yes, that‘s frozen rosé. This was the beginning of my love affair with what is basically an alcoholic Slush Puppie. Rosé in any form is the perfect partner to sun-drenched entertaining, and my raspberry frosé takes it to the next level by celebrating the fruit that epitomises the vibrancy of our summer: Scottish raspberries. I love to add Tayport Distillery 1992 Raspberry Liqueur which is made in Scotland. The fruitiness and acidity of this drink will also go really nicely with dessert.

Equipment: A freezable container, a blender, a stirrer.


(Makes 6 servings)

One bottle of rosé wine (170ml) preferably a pale European rosé

200ml raspberry liqueur

A handful of frozen berries (I like a mix of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries)


Pour the bottle of rosé and the raspberry liqueur into a freezable container that clips shut and leave in the freezer until it has frozen. (Best to leave it overnight or for around 8 hours.) Note that, because of the alcohol, it will not freeze totally solid.

Once it has frozen as much as it can – it will still appear slightly wet in places, making it easy to shatter and stir – gently jab the frozen mixture with a butter knife. Once it has broken up a bit, stir with a spoon until it is slushy.

Spoon it out into wine glasses and top with frozen berries.

Aloha Cooler

I fell in love with Hawaii many years ago when I visited with my husband on our honeymoon. I loved the friendly welcome, the laid-back culture, the sun, the ocean and the fruity cocktails. But we don't have to be thousands of miles from home to appreciate the spirit of the Aloha State when a spirit called Aloha 65 can help us do it from home. This spirit was originally made by an expat

British barman with the intention of luring surfers to his beach bar, but who needs a beach or the ocean when you can have a pineapple, ginger and chili infused spirit in your glass in the garden. Here's an idea for a sundowner you're going to love and it goes great with fruit salad too.

Equipment: A jug, a stirrer, two highball glasses, a couple of cocktail umbrellas.


(Makes 2 Servings)

200ml Aloha 65

200ml tonic water

150ml cloudy apple juice

A couple of handfuls of ice

2 cherries


Put a handful of ice in the jug. Add the Aloha spirit, then the apple juice and finally the tonic water.

Put some ice in the glasses, pour in the drink and decorate with the cherries on the cocktail umbrellas!

Open up the umbrellas and imagine you're on Waikiki beach

Smoky Whisky Sour

I associate whisky sours with good times, think that dates back to having sipped them all evening one time in Dublin, but that's another story! A slight tweak to the classic whisky sour can make it the perfect complement to barbecued food, meats especially. Using a smoky whisky like Glen Moray Single Malt Whisky from Speyside (aged 18 years) instead of bourbon and adding smoked paprika-infused honey to the mix instead of a simple sugar syrup, you can create the perfect match to food treated to barbecue rubs and marinades.

Equipment: A shaker, a strainer, 2 lowball glasses


(Makes 2 servings)

100ml Glen Moray Single Malt Whisky

(Aged 18 Years)

50ml lemon juice

25ml honey syrup (see recipe)

25ml egg white (approx one egg)

A handful of cubed ice

To garnish:

A cherry and an orange slice


Equipment: A saucepan and a stirrer


100ml runny honey

25ml water

1 tsp smoked paprika


To create the honey syrup, put the honey and water in a saucepan and gently heat. Add the smoked paprika, stir and allow to cool. Leave to infuse for at least 24 hours.

To make the whisky sour, put ice and all of the ingredients into a shaker and shake hard for about 20 seconds.

Strain the mix into ice-filled glasses and garnish with the cherry and slice of orange. Let the egg white froth settle and enjoy with your flame-grilled food.


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