Well, hopefully in the sun if we ever get any and there’s any heat to it! Let’s not be pessimistic and hope that the sun is around the corner. Spring is the time of growth, the new fresh year finally throwing off the winter and bursting into bloom. It also is the first time of the year we have a chance to get out in the garden for an evening cocktail or even enjoy a sunshine drenched afternoon. So therefore, what are the best spring cocktails we should stock up on ingredients for, just in case the sun shows up?
Okay, so fruit doesn’t really have seasons any more though my Dad tells me that it used to be the case that some fruits weren’t available until spring came around. But spring is definitely a time when fruits seem appropriate, maybe because it is when most of our native fruits really start to grow. So fruit cocktails are a good starting place on the spring cocktail line-up.
Margaritas are a drink with a thousand variations and one that shouts summer is the Strawberry Basil Margarita. It makes a great pitcher drink to share out on those spring events. All you need is around 10-12 strawberries, 8 basil leaves, 12 ounces of lime concentrate and around 480mls of tequila, either gold or silver. Add the limeade to the pitcher with the tequila and the same amount of water. Slice the strawberries and either crumple or slice up the basil to release the flavour. Leave it in the fridge for at least four hours and the result will be a pale pink coloured drink.
Another strawberry cocktail is the Sparkling Strawberry Cocktail which is a little like an alcoholic smoothie! The recipe requires 2 cups hulled strawberries, ¼ cup orange juice, 1 orange sliced and mint springs for garnish. Add the strawberries to a blender with two tablespoons of water then add to a pitcher with the orange and juice then fill with Prosecco or another sparkling white wine. Add the mint for garnish.
Blueberries are another fruit that make for great coloured cocktails and the Blueberry Rum Smash adds ginger ale to it. Take a glass jar and fill the bottom with blueberries then add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, ¾ ounce of fresh lemon juice and muddle it all together until the skins are broken and the sugar dissolved but not completely to a pulp. Fill with crushed ice and then add 2 ounces of rum before topping up with ginger ale.
If you like your drinks a little heavier on the alcohol, then there are still plenty of great spring cocktails to choose from. The Hurricane is a cocktail that has been around for a long time and is another to have various incarnations. The original cocktail uses 2 ounces of dark rum, one ounce of passion fruit syrup and the same of fresh lemon juice. Added over ice, shaken and strained, it is garnished with a slice of orange and a cherry.
The Whiskey Sour is another classic that can be given a slightly sweet, spring twist. The original recipe uses two ounces of whiskey, ¾ ounce of lemon juice and the same of basic sugar syrup. To make it sweeter, add ¼ ounce of honey and use hot water rather than sugar syrup.
If you want a fresh and crisp flavoured drink, then the Cucumber Rosemary Gin and Tonic may do the job perfectly. Peel one half a cucumber and slice a lime into eight. Put three of the slices into a highball glass along with a sprig of rosemary, juice from one lime wedge and one ounce of gin. Give it a muddle with a spoon and strain into another glass. Toss in some ice cubes, three slices of cucumber and top with another ounce of gin as well as around four ounces of tonic water. Garnish with another rosemary sprig.