The sun is finally shining, spring is in full bloom, and there are three Bank Holidays this month, so we hardly need an excuse to enjoy a tipple outdoors in May. But, if you needed a bit more encouragement, then take time to celebrate World Cocktail Day on May 13th and let us inspire you with some delectable cocktail recipes to enjoy in the sunshine.
1. Pimm’s No.1 Cup
Nothing says Great British Summer like a glass (or jug) of Pimm’s. A fruity easy-drinker, this quintessentially English fruit cup – created by James Pimm himself – is super easy to make and can be packed full of tasty treats, so if you grow strawberries and mint, get picking for some extra flavour!
- Pour 1 part Pimms No.1 and 2 parts lemonade over ice into a big jug
- Add in slices strawberries, oranges, slithers of cucumber and mint
- Stir and then serve, ensuring each glass gets a good amount of the tasty additions
We have also included an alcohol-free version below to make sure you cater to all guests.
The Brit’s love of gin is still going strong and this zingy historic cocktail is beautifully-refreshing on a warm day. It was said to have been invented by British sailors in the 18th Century when it was believed that citrus juice helped ward off scurvy. In fact, in 1867 it became mandatory for all ships to carry a supply of lime juice. The best way to get sailors to drink lime juice was apparently to mix it with liquor; thus the Gimlet was born!
- Add 2.5oz of gin, 1oz of lime cordial to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled (alternatively, replace cordial with 0.5oz of fresh lime juice and 0.5oz of simple sugar syrup)
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or lowball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lime wheel
3. Espresso Martini
Ideal if the sun has got you flagging or you want to keep the party going until late, this coffee-infused cocktail was created by mixologist Dick Brasdell in the late 1980s when a British model at Fred’s Bar in London asked for something to “wake me up”.
- Add 2oz vodka, 0.5oz coffee liqueur (usually Kalhua), 1oz of espresso (freshly brewed or cold brew concentrate) and 0.5oz simple sugar syrup to a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans
We know secret agent James Bond famously likes his martini ‘shaken, not stirred’ but did you know that author, Ian Fleming, actually invented his own cocktail in the book Casino Royale? If you’re looking for a 007-style smooth, sophisticated drink, then this is for you. Be warned though, this stiff martini, inspired by character Vesper Lynd, is quite a strong tipple!
Note: An original component of the Vesper, Kina Lillet is no longer made but can be substituted for Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano
- Add 3oz of Gordons gin, 1oz of vodka, and 0.5oz of Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled
- Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with lemon peel
If any of the recipes above require a bit more effort than you’re willing to put in, you can’t beat simple British classics like Buck’s Fizz or a Gin & Tonic. Enhance flavours in the latter with some tasty edible plants from the garden, such as basil and cucumber; sage, rosemary and thyme; strawberry with a crack of black pepper, or even red chilli, lime and coriander.
Mark the occasion with a mocktail
Just because you don’t enjoy alcohol, doesn’t mean you can’t sip something delicious on World Cocktail Day. For a more sober experience, why not try one of the many alcohol-free gins on the market for all the flavour but none of the hangover symptoms the next day.
Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can whip up the perfectly-British London Fog, an Earl Grey-infused alcohol-free cocktail, garnished with a sprig of lavender.
You needn’t miss out on an Espresso Martini either with this easy recipe that uses a splash of balsamic vinegar to add the perfect sharpness and depth of flavour. Believe it or not, you can use your trusty balsamic vinegar to create the perfect virgin Pimm’s cocktail.
Sit back and get sipping
You’ve got your recipes, now you just need somewhere comfy and stylish to enjoy them. LifestyleGarden has a great selection of furniture that is perfect for relaxed entertaining, allowing you to sit back, cocktail in hand and enjoy great conversation or even lounging in peace and quiet.