Vintage Cellars


Summer Cocktails

The warmer weather is finally here. Get ready for a season of barbeques and long, festive lunches with these delicious ideas to showcase your favourite summer cocktail.

If you’re looking for a new way to showcase your favourite spirits, be inspired by these deliciously summery serving suggestions. You don’t have to abandon the classic combinations; a simple change to presentation or garnish is all you need to put a contemporary spin on your favourite summer cocktail.

Plenty of ice is key to a refreshing cocktail, but think beyond the standard ice cube tray and experiment with large format blocks or hailstones that will melt more slowly in the heat; or use crushed ice with something fizzy to prolong the pleasure.

Citrus fruit garnishes play into the theme perfectly, while mint is also a popular refresher. But it’s thyme that is the garnish of the moment right now. Offering a mild flavour profile, thyme is a delicate herb that’s an ideal addition to many cocktails. A Mediterranean native and member of the mint family, it has a wonderfully aromatic quality that makes a summer cocktail (alcoholic and non) a little bit special. It’s great with clear spirits and fruit flavours, but works well with darker spirits such as bourbon and Pimm’s. And it looks so pretty, too.

Here are four refreshers to serve at your next garden party

1. Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila Classic Margarita:

Build up 60mL Altos Plata Tequila, 30mL fresh lime juice and 15mL agave syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake, and strain into a margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge on the glass, that can be rubbed around the rim for a hit of sour. You can also scale up the quantity and blend with crushed ice in a blender if you’re serving delicious summer cocktails en masse.

2. Forty Spotted Gin & Tonic

Pour 35mL of Forty Spotted Gin over large square blocks of ice. Top with 120mL of tonic water and stir. With a quality gin like this one, a pared-back garnish will let the liquid do the talking. A simple lemon twist will add visual appeal, scent and a hint of flavour. Hold the fruit firmly and use a sharp knife (a channel knife is best) to cut the top layer of the peel in a spiral around the lemon. Carefully scrape off any excess pith then wrap it around a skewer to create a tight spiral and hey presto! You’ve transformed a classic G&T into an elegant summer cocktail.

3. Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin & Elderflower Spritz 

Pour 50mL Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin, 25mL elderflower liqueur and 15mL lime juice into a glass over ice, then stir and then top with 150mL ginger ale. Garnish with an orange wheel and a sprig or two of thyme for a refreshing summer cocktail.

    Tasting Notes

    Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila
    With herbal notes of cooked agave, this tequila is slightly citric and sweet with a fruity aroma. It’s a classic tequila for the modern world and bagged a Gold Medal at the 2015 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition.

    Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin
    For a taste that transports you straight to the Mediterranean, Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin has a zesty aroma that heads up a clean, citrus gin with a sweet fruit burst of Sicilian blood orange. Available in selected stores only.

    Brookvale Union Peach Iced Tea

    This sweet peach tea is spiked with vodka to create a light and refreshing summer cocktail. Peachy yet punchy, this intriguing lower alcohol (4%) beverage is made to be sipped over ice for the perfect refresher.

    23rd St Australian Vodka

    The finest Australian sugarcane molasses are mixed with rainwater and small-batch fermented to craft this exceptionally smooth vodka. It has a beautifully smooth mouthfeel and a lingering, silky finish

    Ambra Blood Orange Liqueur

    A premium blood orange aperitif inspired by an authentic Italian family recipe passed down through generations. It is a great addition to cocktails – try serving in a spritz, mixed with Prosecco and soda.

    Aperol Aperitivo
    Add a touch of Italian class to your next get together with the deep hues and refreshing taste of Aperol. Fill a large wine glass with ice. Add equal parts of Aperol and your favourite Prosecco. Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with orange.

    Ink Gin
    This premium dry gin is made with 13 organic botanicals. Like all true gins, juniper berries dominate, but the defining character comes from the second-tier botanicals led by lemon myrtle leaf,oriander seed, Tasmanian pepper berry and sweet orange peel.