Elke’s blueberry gin cocktail.

Cheers to a great summer

As the sun’s rays become warmer, there’s no better way to celebrate the joys of summer than with a refreshing cocktail in hand.

Whether you are hosting a garden barbecue, or enjoying a quiet evening on the patio, the right drink can elevate the mood greatly.

Summer cocktails are all about embracing the season’s best flavours and creating moments of relaxation and enjoyment. Whether you are a fan of the classic Mojito, the elegant Aperol Spritz, or the tropical Pina Colada, there’s a summer cocktail out there to suit every taste.

With a few bottles of gin and a stash of fresh blueberries in my fridge, I decided to get creative with a new concoction. I started by whipping up a blueberry-infused sugar syrup - equal parts sugar and water bubbling away until syrupy, adding the blueberries halfway through.

I crushed them to release their vibrant juices and then strained the mixture. Once the syrup had cooled, I poured a generous splash into a glass, followed by a good slug of gin, and topped it off with tonic water.

After the first sip, I knew it needed a little something extra. I grabbed some lemon verbena leaves from my garden, gave them a good mash to release their aromatic oils, and let them infuse the cocktail briefly before removing them.

The result? An absolutely delicious and refreshing drink, bursting with layers of flavour. This blueberry gin cocktail is a new summer favourite. For those who appreciate a more herbal drink, try using basil.

This drink brings together the botanical notes of gin with the aromatic essence of fresh basil. Shake gin, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup (infused with basil) with ice, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a sprig of basil to enhance the fragrance. This drink is a perfect example of how garden-fresh ingredients can transform a classic cocktail into something special. My all time favourite cocktail has to be the classic Pina Colada. This creamy concoction of rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice is synonymous with beach vacations and island getaways. Blending the ingredients with ice creates a luscious, frosty beverage that’s delightful to drink.

As watermelon is currently in season why not incorporate this juicy fruit into your cocktails? The Watermelon Margarita is a twist on the classic Margarita, adding a refreshing sweetness that’s perfect for the season. To make it, blend fresh watermelon chunks with lime juice, tequila, and a splash of triple sec. The result is a vibrant, thirst-quenching drink that captures the spirit of summer perfectly. It seems that the Aperol Spritz is on almost every cocktail menu at the moment. This vibrant orange cocktail originated from Italy and is a perfect drink for a lazy sunny afternoon on the terrace or balcony. The recipe is simple. Combine equal parts Aperol and prosecco, add a splash of soda water, and serve over ice with an orange slice for garnish. The result is a slightly bitter, bubbly drink that’s both refreshing and visually stunning.

Cheers to a summer filled with great memories and even better cocktails!