Have summer that! Designing a summer drinks menu

Summer is a season when people call out for long, refreshing drinks, but there is plenty more experimentation and innovation for bartenders to enjoy, explains Charlie Whitting in the latest issue of BARS&clubs.

Put simply, the ideal summer cocktail is one that overcomes the blazing sun and the stifling heat to bring cool refreshment. Within that requirement, however, there is plenty of scope to bring twists to the table.

And while there is a plethora of classic drinks that guests expect during the warmer months – and bartenders shouldn’t ignore these – a little bit of experimentation can go a long way to making that classic summer drinking experience more special, and something worthy of telling other people about.

“Classic summer drinks would be your Aperol spritz, Margarita, Mojito, Caprioska etc.,” says Mitch Townsend, bar manager at Beneath Driver Lane in Melbourne. “I like to think more along the lines of a Jungle Bird, Fog Cutter, Naked and Famous, Old Cuban – slight twists on classic cocktails. It’s not hard to change a few ingredients in a classic to make it fresh and seasonal.”

The first thing to get right with summer cocktails though is to make them cold. Ice is critical for most cocktails, but in summer this need is even more acute. Be prepared to go through enormous quantities of ice with long mixed drinks, tall cocktails and even soft drinks, and maybe even use your ice as another way to create a talking point among customers.

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