We all know the secret to undulating happiness is jumping on a plane to some far-flung corner of the earth with paradisiacal shorelines, white-sand beaches and azure waters that are perfectly stained by the soothing sounds of white-capped waves gentle crashing one after another, and never stopping.
It’s pure bliss. And for a plethora of reasons:
It’s walking through the salt-whipped streets of some distinctly charming beach town. It’s forgetting about the world as you explore the secrets of your hush-hush honeymoon destination, hand-in-hand with your gorgeous wife. It’s being sat on the water’s edge, poignantly staring out at the horizon as the sun sets on another day in paradise. It’s becoming an amateur seashell collector, shuffling your feet through the sand in the hope of unearthing a chunk of sea glass. It’s enjoying al fresco dinners at your favourite beach restaurant, sitting around life-affirming beach bonfires, and taking selfies of your incredible beach hair, which has been licked by the elixir of salt, sun and warm winds to create a look that can’t be replicated by any amount of hair product.
But despite all that stuff, there is an unspoken fact that rattles around every beach-lounger’s mind like a marble bouncing about a Bagatelle board, and we all know it’s true: half the fun of a beach holiday is sipping (or slugging down) cocktails.
Most of the time, the idea of ordering a drink that comes with a large wedge of bright-coloured fruit and a paper umbrella standing to attention is completely absurd. But the moment you feel the sun on your face, sand between your toes, and see the ocean merge into the sky above, wrapping your clammy hand around a chilled cocktail becomes the best decision you can possibly make in your whole entire life.
At least, that’s what the first and last sipple of a beachside tipple should feel like.
It should slip down with the sort of unabashed “ahhhhhhhh” that let’s the ocean know you picked from the Magna-Carta-length menu like a seasoned pro, the exotic flavours making your taste buds trip the light fantastic as this, that and delicious t’other dances down your gullet and into your soul, in the same way your favourite record does.
But while your vacation bartender is unparalleled in the art of pouring by eye and shaking a mixer over his shoulder, not all cocktails are beach-worthy. That’s why we’ve carefully curated your essential guide to the most creative, innovative and refreshing summer cocktails, using our favourite bars perched on our favourite beaches as inspiration. Enjoy.
This drink hasn’t just enjoyed a revival over recent years, it has become the undisputed cocktail of the moment - a bitter favourite among gentlemen gin-sippers the world over - and a ginormous reason for this is the delicacy required in making it perfect. But you’ll know when you’ve been handed something special because this seductively vermillion cocktail will dance a jig along the tightrope of sharp, bitter, aromatically complex and yet, somehow, wonderfully refreshing. As for the need for finger stirring, it was the creation of Gary Regan, who once had to stir twenty Negronis and, to speed things up a tad, he used his index finger - and the crowd went wild.
1 oz. Salcombe Gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
The garnish: a twist of orange
The glass: a rocks glass
- Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and, one by one, pour in your ingredients.
- Once in, stir this glowing elixir with your index finger.
- Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.
- And then garnish with a beach-perfect orange twist
When you see a fizz cocktail on the menu, it’s easy to put your bottom dollar on the line and say, “this one’s gonna be straightforward; a drink that involves a spirit, a splash of club soda, some citrus juice and sugar.” And you’d be right. You can also guarantee it will come in a highball glass. But the Summer Fizz is deliciously different. We can’t explain it exactly, but there’s something magic about it. Totally. Bloody. Magic.
1.5 oz Don Papa 7 rum
0.5 oz ginger syrup
0.5 oz peach purée
0.5 oz lemon juice
1 egg white
Splash of soda
The garnish: fresh ginger and lemon twist
The glass: a collins or highball
- Rather unusually, you want to give these ingredients a dry shake.
- Once complete, add some fresh ice and re-shake.
- Pour into a highball or collins glass and top with soda.
- After this, add a sprig of fresh ginger and a curled lemon peel.
The Salty Bird
Ask a bartender to make you one of these and you’ll be met by the most confused look ever thrown in your direction (possibly, maybe, hopefully). But that’s not because we’ve made this one up. Not at all. It’s because this cocktail is the creation of Theo Lieberman of Milk & Honey fame, a fruity and bitter invention that is impossibly perfect for tropical adventures. What’s more, the fact no one will have heard of it is actually the best part: you’ll get to have your James Bond moment and tell your bar-hero what you want and how to pull it off, just like in Casino Royale (#VesperMartini).
1.5 oz. lovely local rum
0.75 oz. Campari
1.5 oz. freshly squeezed pineapple juice
0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar)
The garnish: a pinch of salt and some (dehydrated) pineapple (and pineapple leaves)
The glass: rocks
- Whip out your cocktail shaker and combine all the ingredients.
- Then shake well over your shoulder.
- When happy, strain into a rocks glass over lovely fresh ice.
- Garnish with a pinch of salt and a chunk of dehydrated pineapple.
The Mexican Mule
We’ve all heard of the Moscow Mule. But this is different. This is better. This is the mule Mexican-style, the twist of tequila and spicy ginger syrup really turning up the wow factor. It’s epic. It’s what beach-holidays were made for, sipping from your copper mug (or rocks glass) as you swing back and forth in your hammock, the sun creeping through the large emerald leaves above you. Now that’s what we call living.
2 oz. Belvedere vodka
0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
0.75 oz. fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz. spicy ginger syrup
The garnish: spiced rum
The glass: rocks or mule mug
- Like all wonderfully complex cocktails, this one needs to be pulled together in a cocktail shaker and then stirred twenty times
- After this, strain the results into a mule mug or rocks glass with ice.
- To garnish it, throw in a splash of savoury spiced rum because, well, it would be rude not to.
Raspberry Gin Rickey
It’s hard to find a more perfect cocktail to welcome a beach holiday than a Raspberry Gin Rickey. That’s partly because it contains gin and partly because raspberries celebrate the taste of summer. But it’s mainly because this drink is super-easy to make and almost impossibly refreshing. That said, don’t let its simplicity put you off. No way. And the reason is: for bartenders, the simplicity of this classic recipe makes creating innovative riffs that much easier.
1.5 oz. Salcombe Gin
4 oz. club soda
2 tbsp simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar)
Some fresh raspberries
2 tbsp lime juice
The garnish: slice of lime and extra raspberries
The glass: rocks or highball
- Jumble up a couple of raspberries in the bottom of either a rocks or highball glass.
- Once done, pour the rest of your ingredients into a mixer and add some ice.
- Shake well, and strain over your raspberry mush.
Garnish with a lime slice and, you guessed it, some more raspberries.
The Il Palio is hands down one of the most cool AF new cocktail trends. It’s incredible. It’s the most delicious and boozy science experiment out there, and that’s because the Il Palio is like having two tipples in one - it’s a drink that morphs itself into a different cocktail right in front of your taste buds. We know that sounds too good to be true, but it is true. By its very definition, a morphing cocktail is all about enjoying a plethora of experiences in one glass, which is what this sucker offers up. And it’s all thanks to the ever-melting and perfectly-infused ice-cubes.
0.75 part Campari
2 parts water
The garnish: an orange twist
The glass: a rocks
A few hours before you plan to pour yourself one of these, you need to mix together the Campari and water and then freeze it in a square ice mould. When it’s finally frozen, that’s when you can start making the cocktail:
- Place two of your Campari ice cubes into a rocks glass and then pour all of your ingredients over the top of them.
To top off all your hard work, garnish this tipple with a wide orange twist. Oh, and to start the melting process, simply start stirring the ice cube. Schimples.
There aren’t many universal truths, but this is one: Nothing is more refreshing than the first sip of this classic cocktail. Not even the azure waters of the Amalfi coast slapping against your still-pale shins feels this good. It’s the ultimate summer drink. Seriously. It has such an unrivalled ability to refresh it became immortalised when they named the glass after it, sort of like a fragile statue (that you can buy from all good retailers).
0.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz Simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar)
1.5 oz Salcombe Gin
The garnish: lemon wheel and a cherry
The glass: Collins or highball
- Grab your glass, add the lemon juice, simple syrup and gin, and then fill it with ice.
- With that lot in, stir it well - really well - and then top with your club soda.
- Then pop the cherry on top, literally (as well as a lemon wheel).
Gin & Tonic
Made perfectly, the gin and tonic is nothing short of an alchemic masterpiece - the cocktail version of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. It’s what made this simple tipple the most quintessential summer cocktail, bar none. But here’s the real kicker: it’s one of those rare cocktails you can pour liberally, eyeballing your way through each part of the alchemy knowing it’s definitely going to taste epic no matter what. That’s its beauty.
1.5 oz Salcombe Gin
Fever Tree tonic water
The garnish: lemon or lime wedge
The glass: highball
- Toss your shaker to one side and pour this one straight into your highball glass, starting with the gin before filling all the way with fresh ice.
- After this, top with a posh tonic water and then squeeze your lemon or lime wedges over it, dropping them into the glass when you’re sticky-fingered and satisfied.
- To finish, simply stir away.
And there we have it.
Eight beach-worthy cocktails that we absolutely love ordering. Of course, you might spit them out in disgust, but that’s the beauty of a subjective guide to something. In all seriousness though, you will be totally blown away by each one of these tipples, and that’s because no cocktail tastes bad when you’re abroad. So, basically, all we’ve done is made that FOMO-ridden moment of trying to decide what to order when you’re next in line at the bar that much easier and, for that, we deserve to be remembered as modern day martyrs.
Thanks for reading. For more ideas on how to embrace the endless summer, chase the horizon and keep your skin sun-kissed all year round, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and sign-up for a naughty-little newsletter below (you’ll get a cheeky 10% off if you do).