No classy garden party feels like it’s really kicked off unless one is holding a beautiful cocktail. Colourful, heady and ideally stuffed with tropical shrubbery, the cocktail heralds the beginning of Good Times with a capital G&T! As always, summer brings with a new catalogue of trends in cocktails, and this year is no exception, in fact mixologists everywhere are pushing the boundaries of what’s traditionally expected. Here are 5 of summer 2016’s hottest cocktails for a chic garden party…
Words: Anick Sinclair
1 The Savoury
The most sweeping craze of 2016 is the savoury cocktail; it stems from the healthy smoothie movement and focuses mostly on flavours that are less sweet and syrupy than we remember. Think the slicker, cooler older cousins of The Margarita cocktail, with her retro salted glasses, the Pisco Sour – a Peruvian classic – The Basil Martini or even The Bloody Maria, which includes chillies, coriander and a trickle of clam juice. Bar-wizards today aren’t past pouring pure saline syrup into more common drinks like Sangria or Campari – the salt tempers bitterness and accentuates flavours.
2 The Classic… with a twist
Nothing beats a classic cocktail and sometimes it’s ‘better the devil you know’, but how about throwing in an ingredient or two that just slightly changes the direction these traditional beverages usually take? There’s the The Rosemary and Cucumber G&T, The Maple-and-Bacon-Infused Martini or The refreshing White Peach, Thyme and Blueberry Mojito. Throw away the rule book and be as creative as you like, the options are limitless!
3 The Draft Cocktail
The artisan draft trade has not stopped growing in the last couple of years, from home-brewed beer to iced tea and now draft cocktails. It shows you’ve gone a little further for your guests, you’ve taken the time to discuss which beverages would be popular at this particular party, and what pairs better with the food on offer. As these cocktails are previously mixed, it allows for consistency in every drink and less work at the bar, ergo less time standing there without a drink in hand! The draft is really the Marmite of this industry – either you love it or you hate it! What is certain is that it will be a showstopper at your party, whether it’s manned by a bartender or whether guests are welcome to help themselves.
4 The Clever Infusion
The theory that the spirit within a cocktail should be neat and clean is so ‘passé darling’! Today vodkas and whiskeys are being infused with everything from jalapeño peppers and shiitake mushrooms to a wide range of Asian teas and South American coffees and of course the more down-to-earth fruit and veg. It simply adds a different taste structure to the cocktail and enhances the flavours that are then added. Why go back to clear?
5 The Mocktail
A non-alcoholic alternative is an absolute must at garden parties but that shouldn’t exclude any of the above trends. So go with The Cucumber, Mint and Basil Soda, just add a touch of sugar syrup to stave off the feeling one’s having a salad – even serve it on draft! Trending in mocktails at the moment, and again catching that smoothie bandwagon, is the mix of any fruit purée – say blackberry and lemon, with added seltzer and grated ginger. Don’t forget the sprig of any of the abundant summer herbs, thyme, basil, rosemary – always classy!
Your garden party will be the tres chic with one or more of these concoction options. Of course, if you don’t rate your skills as a mixologist, it might be wise to call in the professionals and hire a mobile cocktail bar service like Liquid Chefs. Shaken or stirred, I’ll drink to that!
Anick Sinclair is a resident writer for The Source. A London start up success co-founded by Aron Schlagman and Talya Zysblat, The Source is a hand picked collection of over 40 innovative and trusted brands whose expertise are at your service – coupled with the latest trends, and event inspiration – to help you create any event. See thesourceinspires.com