Summer Cocktails and New-age Sangria

July 4, 2009

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Forgive the shameless self-promotion there.

Summer is definately here. Ish.

It seems like barely a day goes by without it changing its mind. Shorts needed one minute, jumpers the next.

Regardless though, it certainly is that time of the year when seasonal drinks are finally allowed. Pimms for example becomes an acceptable drink to order for once (still expect to see some toff-esque gestures thrown your way).

Sangria as well becomes a firm staple of bar sales. Big balloons or jugs of the stuff worming its way on to nearly every table through the course of the day, with its deceptively weak and more-ish tasting mix.


I thought it would be applicable to throw a few of the more prominent and interesting items getting cobbled together of late up on here. All of them conjuring up images of lazy summer days and long summer nights.

I’m going to start with somewhat of a new drink on our bar. Less of a summer drink than an exotically flavoured cocktail of distinctly quaffable proportions.

Far Eastern Promise

25ml Kwai Feh
25ml Mozart White
25ml Vanilla Vodka
100ml Pineapple Juice
10ml Fresh Lime Juice
Dash Grenadine

Shake first four ingredients hard and strain into a hurricane glass over ice.  Add dash of grenadine to sink. Top with dash of soda. Garnish with a Chinese lantern.

Also creates an effective martini when cranberry is reduced to 37.5ml, whilst maintaining the original 1:1:1 ratio of th ingredients. Orange bitters come in useful for reducing the sweetness.

Notes. The traditionally over-powering Mozart White is toned down by the clinging Lychee flavours which spread throughout the entirety of the drink. Pineapple juice makes for an unoffensive mixer, diluting down (with help from the vodka) the powerful flavours from the other ingredients. The drink is refreshing whilst maintaining its inherent sweetness.

Ginseng Margarita

37.5ml Golden Tequila
12.5ml Grand Marnier
10ml Fresh Lime Juice
10ml Gomme
1 Ginseng Royal Jelly capsule

Shake all ingredients hard and fine strain into a Coupe. Garnish with a sugar encrusted and flamed lime wheel. DO NOT salt rim as this ruins the subtle ginseng notes.

Not much more than a simple variation upon a classic. But a breath of fresh air for the Margarita lover.

The various properties and benefits of Ginseng can be read about here.

Notes. Unsurprisingly similar taste to your bog standard Margarita, however with an underlying herbal texture and slightly thicker consistency thanks to the Ginseng jelly.

Mandarine Italian Royale

25ml Luxardo Bitter Orange
12.5ml Galliano
12.5ml Vanilla Vodka
10ml Fresh Orange Juice
10ml Vanilla Gomme (to taste)
2 Dash Orange Bitters
4 Squeeze Fresh Limes (leave husks in boston)
Top with Prosecco

Shake first 7 ingredients (including lime husks) and strain into frozen champagne flute. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a curled orange rind and rose petal.

Notes. Prosecco imparts a subtle dryness to an otherwise quite sweet and full-bodied drink. Vanilla sweet notes are found on first taste, progressing through to the vodka’s background burn and Galliano’s sticky texture at the end. Citrus notes on both the nose and throughout the taste aid in binding the sweet and the dry flavours.

Riverside Sangria

50ml Rose Wine
25ml St Germain
10ml Golden Rum
10ml Cognac
10ml Mandarine Napoleon
10ml Hendricks
50ml Cranberry Juice
25ml Apple Juice
25ml Orange Juice
10ml Lime juice
10ml Rose Gomme
Dash of Soda

Shake spirits, lime juice and gomme briefly and single strain into ice-filled and chilled extra-large brandy balloon or wine goblet. Add wine and juices slowly, stirring as you go to mix. Add a dash of soda to the top. Garnish with mixed summer fruits and lemon wedge.

Notes. The traditionally disguised spirits in sangria are done away with (excluding the brandy) and replaced with spirits and liquors imparting subtle and low-level notes upon the drink. The Rose wine leaves a cleaner palatte than the tradtitional red, and is more welcoming to the altered juice quantities. Overall a clean and zesty taste throughout, with the elderflower lending a clinging sweetness to the end.

Canal Side Dream

25ml Pimms No1
12.5ml Plymouth Fruit Cup
12.5ml Sloe Gin
50ml Apple Juice
10ml Lemon Juice
2 Dash Peychauds Bitters

Shake hard and double strain into a frozen martini glass. Garnish with a partitioned apple wedge.

Can be lengthened into a tall drink over crushed ice with the addition of dashs of soda water.

Notes. Refreshing and fruity notes reside throughout. The Sloe gin adding an edge of dryness to the middle of the taste. Ends on a distinctly fruit-cup esque note.

(A thank you to Eddie Lee, Alea Casino, Nottingham for the original inspiration on this.)


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