Now that it's officially summer, mixing a cocktail shouldn't mean creating a "party drink" with the mystery liqueurs you found at the back of the booze cupboard or combining Bailey's with anything warm and vaguely viscous.
No, it should be about floral notes and fruity flavours—refreshing combinations to be sipped in a civilised manner on sunny patios or the deck of a yacht somewhere off the Italian coast. Probably with shaved ice and an edible hibiscus garnish.
Or—at the very least—something sweet and luridly coloured, drunk from a novelty picnic cup while you lounge on mismatched deckchairs in your back garden.
Whatever your level of summertime cocktail game, why not mix things up this year?
We've all drunk enough watery white wine spritzers and strawberry woo woos (seriously, what were you thinking?) to sink a thousand party boats, so MUNCHIES called on the beverage experts for their favourite alternative summer cocktail recipes.
First up is Pimm's. Well, obviously. It just wouldn't be a drizzly British summertime without the boozey lemonade cocktail.
But rather than reaching for the old plastic pitcher and squashed strawberries, take a (mint) leaf out of Lickalix's book. The London-based ice lolly purveyors serve their Pimm's on a stick.
Mix everything you'd usually stick in a Pimm's (strawbs, oranges, lemonade, the all-important fruity liqueur) and add it to a lolly mould, before sticking in half a slice of cucumber and freezing.
Part alcoholic beverage, part refreshing afternoon snack.
Ask for an iced tea cocktail at the average bar and you'll probably be served a tequila-heavy Long Island iced tea with too many mini umbrellas and a cack-handed lemon spiral (a.k.a. a bastardisation of pretty much every cocktail ever.)
London-based tea specialists Hope & Glory don't serve iced tea like that. Their chilled English breakfast tea concoction is made with gin, sugar syrup, and a simple lemon slice garnish.
It is, quite literally, a G and tea.
Punch is always a good idea in summer: zero effort, maximum booze. If you're hosting a barbecue, you don't have to run around making sure everyone has a drink. If you're just there for the ride, you can top up your glass as many times as you like without any suspicious glances.
And who better to call upon for the ultimate punch recipe than actual punch-based cocktail bar The Punch Room at London's EDITION Hotel?
Gin, herbal liqueur Benedictine, and ice form the base of this boozey bowl, which is then topped with maple syrup, orange flower water, lemon juice, and jasmine tea. Garnish with jasmine flowers and a lemon slice for dat ~sophisticated summer flourish~
We can't promise that no one will slip in an extra glug or two of gin, though.
Illustrations by Nilina Mason-Campbell.