Summer brings a new atmosphere to the drinks cabinet – with an emphasis on cool and refreshing. Rose Unwin of Silver Swift assesses the options for summer drinks and comes up with some cool ideas for garnishes
This is the chill-out season when red wine has been swapped for rosé, and sales of fruit cider, Aperol and pink gin prosecco are on the up. And despite fears of shortages and price increases, sales of prosecco are expected to grow by more than 17% in the next five years so keep this one firmly on your drinks itinerary.
Our love affair with gin continues to burn brightly with delicious new creations launched each week. The first company to release its original pink gin was Pinkster Gin and since then both small producers and big brands are jumping on the pink gin bandwagon. Gordon’s got in on the act last summer with a rose-tinted gin infused with raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants. Proving the trend has gone mainstream, discount retailers Aldi and luxury department store Selfridges are now offering pink gin.
Having said all that, summer is very much the season of the spritz. With more daytime social events spreading through the calendar – such as picnics, barbecues and regattas – we continue to look for fun, easy-drinking cocktails that can run from day to night, all summer long. The advantage of a spritz is that it is low enough in alcohol that you can have a few without feeling too tipsy, while being light and refreshing – just perfect for warm days.
JAZZ UP YOUR GARNISH
If you want to raise your cocktail to the next level then plan your garnish to fit. A simple technique is to add your favourite fruit or herb garnish to your ice tray – just fill the trays with water and add the fruit or herbs. This creates beautiful and effective ice that releases flavour as it melts. Recommended ice trays are the large ice sphere moulds – the larger the ice the slower it takes to melt, meaning your drink won’t dilute so quickly.
THE FRUIT BOWL
Use fresh slices of fruit and the zest from lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges. Cotswold gin pairs beautifully with pink grapefruit and Indian tonic water so, in this instance, fill your ice mould with water and drop in a slice of pink grapefruit with some zest grated on top and pop the moulds in the freezer. Once frozen, add this to your G&T.
Fresh or frozen raspberries, blackberries and strawberries work brilliantly in ice. Pinkster gin is lovely served with tonic and a raspberry garnish. To jazz up the garnish for this drink, fill your ice tray, drop in a few raspberries, freeze and serve.
THE HERB GARDEN
Rosemary, thyme, mint and lavender are favourite garnishes in the drinking world. Gin Mare, meaning ‘sea’, is a Spanish gin inspired by Mediterranean culture, which is made using Arbequina olives, thyme, rosemary and basil. Serve with tonic, an ice sphere or ice cubes containing fresh rosemary leaves and a slither of orange for a perfectly balanced drink.
Silver Swift make elegant, low-calorie gin and vodka spritzers at 5% alcohol, perfect for summer day drinking. Each of their three spirited spritzers – Wild Rose Gin, Tipsy Iced Tea Vodka and Basil Blush Vodka – are free from gluten and are made with 100% natural ingredients and premium British spirits; silverswiftdrinks.com