3 Classic Summer Cocktails

Nothing quite beats sipping on a good cocktail outside on a hot summers day. And while I've tried out many a colorful concoction, there are a few classic combos I keep going back to. And that's because, surprise surprise, they're easy. 

Nobody wants to be juggling cocktail shakers, crazy garnishes, and a million different ingredients while trying to entertain their friends. So minimalistic cocktails made up of ingredients I usually have on hand are my go-tos. 

With this arsenal of classic summer cocktails in your back pocket, there's something for everyone. Gin, rum, and vodka based drinks are all crowd pleasers. In fact, the Moscow mule and mojito on this list are two drinks I've made many times back in Edinburgh for parties big and small. So you can trust me when I say these are good. Plus, Sunday evening cocktails have become somewhat of a tradition in my house, meaning I have lots of experience

Just a few tips before I dish out these recipes: 

Keep it chill // It's best to stick all your ingredients in the fridge or freezer (depending on how much time you have) before you start putting your cocktails together. Otherwise, you'll end up having to use much more ice than you need, watering down your drink (and nobody wants that). 

Make a batch of simple syrup in advance // If you want to add a touch of sweetness to your drinks, simple syrup is the way to go. Since you dissolve the sugar into the water beforehand, you don't have to worry about adding granulated sugar straight into a drink, and having it sink to the bottom. To make simple syrup, just add one part sugar to one part water, and let dissolve over a medium heat in a heavy bottomed sauce pan (stirring occasionally). Let it chill in the fridge or freezer beforehand, or else you'll end up with warm drinks!

Measure, measure, measure // I'm all for improvising on cocktails, but you have to be fair to everyone. While I'm not saying that you can't add an extra shot in for good measure, it's best to be exact in what you give everyone, so that each of your guests gets their fair share. Whether you invest in a jigger or do the classic student move of using a good ol' shot glass, there are plenty of ways to ensure that each cocktail is roughly the same (in strength, sweetness, and flavor). That being said, I'm not one to measure in ounces or "parts," so I've kept it simple by using shots as your base measure. 

Minty Mojito 

Mojitos are bound to get the party started. With plenty of lime and mint, mojitos are bound to please even the pickiest of drinkers.  

Add two shots of good white rum and one shot of fresh squeezed lime juice to a chilled glass. 

Make sure to muddle your mint before adding it to the drink. Either smash it with a spoon, or rub it between your hands to release the herb's strong aroma. Add a small handful of the mint to each glass, making sure to leave some fresh (un-muddled) mint for garnish. 

Add enough crushed ice to fill the glass two-thirds of the way up and top with club soda. Give it a little stir before topping with a sprig of mint.

Moscow Mule 

Light and fresh enough for summer, but warming enough for a cooler summers' night, Moscow mules are the unsung hero of the cocktail mule. And the best part? Whether the vodka you use is top shelf or store-brand, the flavors in this drink are strong (and tasty) enough that it really makes no difference. 

Start with two shots of ice-cold vodka in a tumbler- or if you're feeling really authentic, a copper mug. Add one shot of fresh lime juice. Pop in a few ice cubes to keep everything properly cold, and top with spicy ginger beer and a slice of lime. It's a simple as that!

Cassis Bramble

This recipe is a bit of a play on the classic bramble, which uses a blackberry liqueur. Instead, I used creme de cassis because we had that on hand (not everything has to be by the book after all!). With a deep berry flavor paired with zesty lemon, this drink is a pretty little winner all around. 

Two shots of gin make up the base of this cocktail. Add a shot (or a bit more) of fresh squeezed lemon juice as well as a half shot of simple syrup to counteract the sour lemon. Mix the ingredients together.  

Pack the glass with enough crushed ice to fill it up two-thirds of the way. Drizzle a half shot of creme de cassis over the icy mixture, lacing the glass with the purple-y hue. Top with a couple of fresh blackberries and a lemon peel for garnish. 

Sip, Instagram, repeat.    

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