Salt, sun, and something to drink. This is what spells Australian summer. As we melt into our couches, decks, beach towel (your pick) there's nothing more complementary than a summer cocktail. From widely loved classics to complete curveballs, here are the best summer drinks recipes according to the RUSSH editors. Salut!
Jess Blanch, editor-in-chief
For an after-work summer drink I’ve made up my own version of what is widely known as a Chelada. Chill a large wine or beer glass. Squeeze 1-2 limes in the bottom. Open a very cold craft beer. I especially love the Reschs Pilsener for this concoction, specifically its ‘silver bullet’. Open Ortiz anchovies and place one on a fork. Pour the beer into the glass and stir the lime through with the anchovy on the fork. Try not to lose the anchovy in the drink as the next step is to eat the anchovy. If you don’t have any anchovies (or don’t like them) you can replace with a sprinkle of sea salt and some spice.
This is inspired by an old Italian gentleman named Custanti. It spells summer in Sicily.
Dirty Gin Martini
Ella Jane, fashion & brand features editor
My drink of choice this summer (and every season) is a classic dirty gin martini, served ice cold. I like to add 60ml gin of choice into a mixing glass over ice with 10ml dry vermouth. Add a couple teaspoons of olive brine and stir until you feel the vessel turn cold, (give it a taste) then strain into a chilled glass. Add your favourite brined green olives and proceed with caution.
Mia Steiber, digital strategy director
I’m not a big cocktail person, but I can’t go past a classic and authentic Bellini. I fell in love with this summery drink on a trip to Positano. I ordered one at Franco’s Bar and was immediately hooked. There’s something so instantly summery about peach juice, then coupled with prosecco – it’s European summer in a glass. I like to make mine with equal parts peach puree and prosecco, but the ratios are really up to you.
Elyssa Kostopoulos, content director
With my birthday on the cusp of summer, it became tradition for my girlfriends and I to mark the occasion with a celebratory caprioska. This quickly became our summer drink of choice and there’s nothing I look forward to more than a sultry afternoon by the pool with this ice-cold cocktail in hand. The recipe is incredibly simple, consisting of just four ingredients – lime, vodka, sugar and mint. While there’s definitely a few spot-on recipes out there, the beauty of a caprioska is that the quantities are subjective, so you can definitely make this drink your own.
Ginger peach soda
Meg Nolan, digital operations manager
While I’ve always been a fan of the classics, the lack of overseas travel recently has got me dreaming of a European summer and something a little more exotic. Rum is my spirit of choice for warmer weather and pairs perfectly with this ginger peach soda recipe. You’ll need your favourite white or dark rum, some ripe peaches, ginger, sugar syrup (sugar dissolved in water in equal parts) and soda water. Some mint leaves to garnish also never go astray. The perfect summer cocktail, whether you’re sitting by the pool or cooling off inside watching your favourite European summer films.
When I get sick of alcohol-soaked peaches (unlikely) I plan to switch to a rosé-inspired sangria. All you need is a rosé, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a touch of simple syrup for sweetness, elderflower liqueur, and a splash of soda to ensure you make it to the good part of the night.
Natalie Petrevski, former fashion editor
Tequila will always be my number one… I’m usually the best version of myself when I drink it. For this reason a margarita will forever be my favourite cocktail. There’s nothing like a summer’s afternoon or a fun date night with an icy cold glass in hand. All you need is tequila, ice, cointreau, fresh limes, some coarse salt and this spec to guarantee the good times.
Hot tip, if you’re looking for the best margaritas in Sydney, Cantina OK! is the place for you.
Gabriela Hidalgo, former art director
The Pisco Sour, a forever classic in my family. No one will ever make one as well (or as strong) as my own father but I still can never go past it in the rare case I find it on a menu.
The hero ingredient of course is pisco, and do not let any blog tell you otherwise (no, it cannot be substituted with whisky! – a whisky sour is an entirely different drink). This Peruvian grape brandy can get up 48% ABV, so needless to say, proceed with caution when trying this at home. Somewhere in between a margarita and … well, I’m not quite sure, it’s frothy, sweet and so perfectly zesty. This drink has me feeling patriotic and like I’m three weeks into a summer vacation, unable to feel my knees. Salud.
Kitty Callaghan, contributing editor
My summer drink of choice is a Diane Keaton. It’s a hard recipe, so follow closely. Here it goes. 1. Make sure the last person who took ice cubes out of the fridge refilled the tray. Punish them if they didn’t! 2. Or maybe you are a fancy person with an ice dispenser... in that case press that button, release the ice. 3. Prepare several ice cubes, depending on how hot it is. 4. Place said ice cubes into your glass of red wine of choice. Mine is a Beaujolais or maybe a Gamay, but as Diane Keaton says, you can add your ice cubes to any red wine.
Diane first started enjoying a chilled red living in New York in the 1970’s. “I used to go on the balcony to cool down since my apartment didn’t have AC and one day I thought about trying it on ice. It has stuck ever since then!” Keaton has more recently launched her own “unpretentious” wine, announcing on twitter in 2015: ”It’s here. Don’t forget the ice. Cheers.”
Jasmine Pirovic, arts & culture editor
My approach to cocktails is as laid back as my disposition whenever the sun in out. Serve me up an aperol spritz and we're laughing (what – they're delicious?). Sling me a margarita and I'll throw it back in three sips. A simple glass of Champagne? It'd be rude not to. That being said, the ultimate warm weather drink is a michelada (opt for a bloody mary instead if you can't find Clamato or Modelo Especial). It's got all the umami, MSG and spice a girl craves, and for those making it at home, you really can't stuff it up.
Image: Cocktail (1988)