Crush cocktailsPosted on: 16 May 2013 by 50connect editorial
Sunny days means more time in the garden with friends and what could be better than a few cocktails to enjoy?
With spring finally arriving to save us from winter’s icy clutches, we can at last feel the sun’s warmth. It’s officially the season for bright cotton dresses, strappy sandals, outdoor dining, garden parties, and flirtatious flings... We could go on, but that’s quite enough reason to celebrate the new season, don’t you think? Get the revelries rolling with some cocktails designed specifically for spring.
Flavourful fresh herbs
Whether you have an actual garden or just a windowsill to work with, start by getting yourself some potted herbs so that you can mix fresh and fragrant cocktails. Mint, basil, and lemon verbena are a good three to start with as they complement the sweetness of fruit juices and syrups.
Stock up with the right equipment
Be the perfect host and look like a pro by ensuring that you have all the necessary items ready. Vintage glass pitchers are surprisingly inexpensive and easy to find in charity shops and flea markets. Distinct tableware will add instant charm and help to set the right tone. Stock your bar with a muddler (for those fresh herbs!), a shaker/strainer, and an ice bucket at minimum. Shop for a few versatile spirits to have on hand (Alexander & James stock everything you need for cocktail making). Then finally, whip up a simple syrup that you can store in the fridge for the entire season.
The Vodka Grapefruit Julep
Refreshing, tangy, and subtly sweet, a julep is sure to get a spring party going because it goes down easily. Like a mojito, a julep is a minted smash cocktail (meaning it’s muddled with mint and uses crushed ice). Opt for a quality vodka brand for this cocktail. Like with tequila, high-end vodka offers a completely different experience to the standard liquor you gulped back during your uni years. Stir 50 ml of vodka with 25 ml of pink grapefruit juice, 15 ml of lime juice, a small handful of mint leaves, and a dash of pomegranate syrup. Once mixed, stir in a dash of honey, add ice, then shake and strain over crushed ice in a highball glass.
The Basil Vodka Gimlet
Sail into those long spring evenings with a fragrant drink reminiscent of the 1920s. While traditionally made with gin, you can easily substitute with a type of vodka such as Cîroc. For a recipe that serves six, mix 265 ml of vodka, 90 ml of fresh lime juice, 90 ml of simple syrup and a handful of basil leaves in a pitcher and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. To serve, add ice to the pitcher, strain into glasses and then garnish with sprigs of basil.
The Lemon Verbena Spring Fling
Lemon Verbena, as the name suggests, has a slight lemony and minty flavour which makes it the perfect accompaniment to gin cocktails. This concoction is ideal for laid back Saturday afternoons spent outside with friends and, as it’s a cinch to prepare, you can spend more time gossiping and less time bartending. Simply muddle a small handful of lemon verbena with juice from half a lemon and 30 ml of simple syrup in a tall glass. Add 100 ml of gin, fill with crushed ice, and then top up the glass with soda water and garnish with a lemon slice.
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