That sweet summer feeling has arrived and we’re here for it all. Everything from balmy evening walks, living in swimwear, sporting an epic tan and, of course, delicious summer drinking.
When it comes to summery concoctions, people tend to opt for clear spirits and there is a general misconception around darker spirits, like whisky, not being regarded as a go-to summer cocktail base—but that couldn't be further from the truth. So to help you up your summer cocktail ante and expand your drink trolley arsenal, we sat down with mixologist, Michael Dhinse, from Sydney’s legendary Papa Gede’s, to discover easy tips for nailing your cocktail game this summer, thanks to Maker’s Mark.
Keep It Long And Fruity
When it comes to the building blocks of a good summer cocktail, Dhinse’s criteria for a banging beverage is long, fruity and acidic. “For me, summer cocktails are always garden fresh. Think cucumber, fruit, strawberries, lemon and lime,” says Dhinse. “Anything with a good hit of citrus or mint is going to tick the box.
“I love a good whisky sour. I like to use 60mls Makers Mark, 30mls lemon juice, 15mls sugar syrup and 10mls egg white. That's the classic recipe but you can always add a drop of bitters to give it another layer of flavour.”
So, when you’re shaking up your summer beverage, make sure to incorporate lots of fruit, keep it long and easy-drinking, and make sure there’s a good acidic hit. Along with whisky sours, Dhinse recommends mixing up drinks like gin fizzes, Tom Collins, mojitos and frozen margaritas. Yes please.
Ice, Ice Baby
While it seems obvious, people all too often forget the number one ingredient, ice. We all know that no matter how good you shake up a cocktail, if it’s lukewarm, it’s bound to taste pretty average. “Use as much ice as possible. Don’t go short on the ice,” Dhinse says. “Put tonnes of ice in your glassware before you pour your drink. If you fill with just a couple of cubes it will instantly melt and dilute your drink.
“Filling up with ice won’t dilute your drink, it will simple keep it cold and allow the flavours of the drink to continue without tasting watery.”
Whether it’s a punch bowl, a jug or a glass, make sure to fill her up to the brim and enjoy summer served ice cold.
All In The Garnish
A great summer drink is all about the garnish and Dhinse’s go-to garnishes include cucumber, fresh lime, mint and blood orange. “A really good summer garnish is mint, but just remember to clap the leaves to get the flavour out of it.
“Blood orange is also great for entertaining as it makes it look like you’ve gone to a lot of effort when you really haven’t,” Dhinse assures.
If you’re keen to sling a bit of mint around this summer, Dhinse recommends a mint julep. A tasty combination of bourbon, mint and sugar —it screams refreshing.
Experiment With Flavours
While we’re a stickler for following recipes and methods, laid-back entertaining with friends is the best time to experiment with flavour combinations. “Share drinks are on the rise,” claims Dhinse. “Alcoholic tea infusions are great to play with as well as vermouth and sherry, which are emerging in the drink scene.
“If you're looking for something you can really play with, whisky is probably the most versatile spirit out there. If balanced well, it can work with an array of flavours. Some of my favourites are apples, pears, citrus and ginger.”
So when you’re feeling a little tired of the old vodka, lime and soda, don’t be afraid to get experimental in the kitchen and shake up some of your very own summer delights.
Get The Right Glassware
If like us, your glassware collection is a wonderous mismatch of sizes, heights and shapes and you can barely muster three of the same variation, so it’s probably time to upgrade. “Glassware is important for the experience of the drink,” Dhinse says. “Our ‘Zombie’ comes in a tiki mug, served on fire, which adds to the experience.
“For example, a martini is a clean-cut cocktail, so it’s served up in a frozen martini glass. A mojito is long, refreshing and fruity so it’s served in a tall glass.”
So, forget about serving up your legendary punch in a champagne flute or your salty margarita in a mug and invest in the right vessel for your beverage.
Make your mark this summer and shake up some of the seasons most refreshing flavours thanks to Maker’s Mark.
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