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Easy Summer Cocktails for Your Next Cocktail Party

Impress your guests with our easy summer cocktails guide on how to make cocktails and the very best summer cocktails recipes. 

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Our Savona Clear Ribbed Tumbler encompasses an elegant yet contemporary design.

If you’ve taken the momentous task of inviting friends and family round for a summer soiree and cocktail party, then you’ll want to impress them with your mixology skills. Don’t panic - from classic cocktails like the gin and tonic to more complex mixes, the following guide is here to help you host an unforgettable cocktail party that is sure to be remembered for all the right reasons.

Having a comfortable place to mix your drinks and sit to enjoy them is ideal. If you are promised great weather and clear skies, set up a seating area outside for your guests. Make sure your chosen spot is comfortable, has enough seating, and outdoor tables for mixing but also for placing cocktails when being enjoyed.

TIP: If you plan for your cocktail party to go into the evening, make sure to include mood lighting. LED lights and candles can be easy ways to add ambience to your seating area, while still providing enough light while the sun starts to dip.

Plan the Seating Area

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Create a Cocktail Menu

Rather than hope for the best, organise a cocktail menu so you know what ingredients you need, while also offering insight on what you plan on serving your guests. Make it known that if your guests wish to drink other cocktails, they are required to bring the ingredients – the fruit, herbs, spirit and mixer – and may need to mix it themselves.

Try and base your cocktail menu around your own tastes but also the tastes of your guests, without offering too much variety. When it comes to cocktails, less can mean more, making it a much more enjoyable drinking experience. You may even wish to make your cocktail menu a certain theme – for instance, choose a spirit and build cocktails around this choice.

You might need these:

  • Gin and tonic
  • Espresso martini
  • Negroni
  • Daiquiri
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Mojito
  • Old Fashioned
  • Long Island Iced Tea
  • Bellini

TIP: Don’t forget to offer non alcoholic cocktail options for those who may not wish to drink or who may need a break from alcohol throughout the evening. 

Serve Nibbles that Complement the Cocktails

Pairing drinks with the correct food is essential if you wish to provide them with a pleasant cocktail evening. And although you may not be serving a three course meal, serving nibbles and small plates can elevate the evening. However, for this to be a success, you need to understand which spirits complement what flavours. Here are our tips to cocktail and food pairings.

Base Your Food on the Base Spirit

Always check the flavour notes associated with your choice of spirits. For instance, aged tequilas featuring a smoky flavour profile work great with chocolate desserts. However, certain cocktails like a margarita or paloma have citrusy notes that highlight the lime squeezed over tacos and other citrus-based delicacies, while floral gin goes nicely with seafood and bourbon based cocktails pair well with duck and other meat dishes.

Find a Good Balance

Avoid serving food that’ll overpower the drinks that you’re serving. After all, the cocktails should be the star of the show. You can help balance the two by serving small, bite-sized food like sushi or lighter dishes such as a shrimp cocktail or tiny filo pastries.

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Prep the Cocktails

Each cocktail has their own twists that make them unique. A classic negroni is typically served with ice and a slice of orange, while a gin fizz is typically served in a long tumbler for added carbonation and a lemon slice. With each cocktail incorporating their own garnish and glass type, you may wish to prepare the fruit ahead of time and stored in airtight food storage containers to preserve its freshness.

Cut the Herbs Properly

Avoid cutting herbs into small pieces that hinder the texture of the drink and adds bitterness to your cocktails. To unlock the full flavour of your herbs, gently twist until there’s an aroma. Stir the herb into the drink with a cocktail muddler or spoon.

TIP: Cut long stalks and stems off any herbs or fruit. Stalks can add a layer of bitterness to your drinks, which can be rather unpleasant. Use Herb Scissors  to trim and cut your herbs properly.

Make Sure to Have Enough Fresh Ice

Ice is essential for many cocktails, so make sure you have fresh ice that hasn’t been tainted by scents. Uncovered ice cubes can take on the smells of food around it, which can easily ruin a cocktail by changing the taste to something unpleasant. You can either buy fresh ice and keep it stored until the day of your cocktail party, or you can make your own. We offer a Lidded Ice Cube Tray , so you ice can remain untainted by nearby food in the freezer.

How to Make Clear Ice

Impress your guests by adding clear and completely transparent ice to your cocktails. However, achieving perfectly clear ice can be difficult and more time consuming than usual ice making. The best way to make clear ice is to use a professional ice maker, however, there are ways to make clear ice without one – if you want to put the extra effort in.

Slow freezing is one of the best methods for making clear ice. This is because the longer it takes to freeze the water, the more time air bubbles and impurities have to escape – it is these air bubbles and impurities that cause the water to become cloudy.

Prepare your freezer by removing any food from it first and changing the temperature settings to around 30 degrees. Fill the moulds with fresh water (tap water contains chemicals that cause ice to cloud) and place in the freezer overnight. This method should see you obtaining clear ice cubes for your cocktails.

Check out our cocktail accessories:

ProCook Ice Mould 2 GlobesTypical Price £9Only £6Shop Now
ProCook Ice Tongs Stainless SteelTypical Price £4.50Only £3Shop Now

Use the Right Glassware

There’s a lot of emphasis on the right wine glasses, but drinking your cocktails from the right glass is also important if you wish to unlock their full flavours. Here’s a list of the common glassware and which cocktails they suit best.

Highball Glasses

The highball glass can be considered the standard cocktail glass as it is commonly used for a variety of cocktails such as a gin and tonic or a rum and coke. In fact, the term ‘highball’ simply refers to an alcoholic drink made from a shot or two of spirit that’s topped up by a non-alcoholic mixer.

Make the most out of your highball glass by filling the glass with ice and pouring your cocktail of choice on top. Decorate with some fruit or an herb that complements your cocktail’s flavour notes.

Collins Glasses

A Collins glass can be easily confused with a highball glass, purely because they’re similar in shape and size. However, a Collins glass is taller, narrower, and can hold a higher capacity of drink. That being said, you can interchange highball and Collins glasses.

Martini Glasses

Probably one of the most recognisable cocktail glasses, the martini glass has become famous due to its association with James Bond. However, the martini glass pre-dates the martini cocktail and was primarily used to serve Champagne (it is considered the modern day Coupe glass). Regardless of its name, the martini glass can be used for any shorter cocktails, and can be ideal for sophisticated parties.

Gin Balloon Glasses

Gin balloon glasses are a Spanish invention and have become popular over the last few years, seeing many establishments and cocktail enthusiasts trading in their highball glasses for gin balloon glasses. This could be because of their unique and impressive ballooning shape, which allows for added space for ice, garnish, and purees or syrups.

Gin balloon glasses are perfect for long, summer evenings as you unwind by sipping on your gin and tonic with friends and family.

Coupe Glasses

The Coupe glass is synonymous with lavish evenings spent sipping on Champagne, however, it can become less favourable throughout the years. Nowadays people prefer Champagne flutes because of their shape that makes it easier to keep bubbles, so your Champagne remains fizzier for longer.

That being said, the Coupe glass is a great way to serve other chilled cocktails such as a classic daiquiri or a strawberry daiquiri.

Lowball Glasses

Lowball glasses, also known as old fashioned glasses or tumblers, are great for cocktails on the rocks. Perfect for spirit lovers who enjoy a classic cocktail, the lowball glass offers enough room to add ice if wanted.

Why not browse our beautiful glassware?

Rochelle Gin Balloon Set of 2 - 820mlTypical Price £18Only £12Shop Now
Savona Clear Ribbed Highball Set of 4 - 360mlTypical Price £25Only £19Shop Now
Cocktail Collection Tumbler Set of 6 - 410mlTypical Price £29Only £19Shop Now
Modena Tumbler Set of 6 - 500mlTypical Price £32Only £22Shop Now

Prepare ahead of time and practice your cocktail making skills, so you can impress your guests with cocktails that are full of flavour and visually stunning. You may even wish to invest in a Cocktail Shaker, which is great for budding mixologists and cocktail lovers.

We have a variety of cocktail recipes, from the classic gin and tonic to a more complex English garden cocktail. Why not serve a batch of freshly made cocktails at a barbeque? If this sounds perfect to you, read our guide on How to Host the Best Summer Barbeque

Easy summer cocktail recipes by ProCook:

Cocktail Recipes

Margarita Recipe Tom Collins Cocktail Recipe English Garden Cocktail Recipe

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