A guide to building a beautiful basic bar for summertime drinks.
Gin Of course! I myself am partial to citrus and floral gins in particular, with my current two favourites being Tasmanian brand Lawrenny’s Meadowbank Pink Gin infused with local berries, flowers, orange and thyme, and Old Curiosity’s Secret Garden Apothecary Rose Gin a subtly floral drink hailing from Scotland. For a basic gin I love Japanese Roku Gin.
Sweet red vermouth I find myself reaching for red vermouth more than its dry white counterpart because it features in two of my favourite drinks, the Manhattan and the Negroni. I tend to go for a mid level vermouth, as the price and quality varies a great deal.
Campari If you haven’t tried Campari but you enjoy an Aperol Spritz, I encourage you to give it a go. Its bitter orange flavour is a lovely addition to spritzes, or served with tonic, or soda, or simply ice as an aperitif.
Prosecco I’m a big fan of bubbles, and Prosecco is especially good for summertime, which is why it’s so popular. Often lower in alcohol than other sparkling wines, it’s perfect for a large range of cocktails and there’s even a book ‘Prosecco Made Me Do It‘ filled with cocktail recipes that feature it.
Tonic Increasingly there are more and more styles of tonic water available, and I always seem to keep more than one kind on hand. Fever Tree’s range is easy to find, and my other favourites include Capi’s Dry Tonic as a reliable classic, and StrangeLove‘s Coastal Tonic for something a little more unusual. The latter has bergamot and lemon, and comes in the most lovely bottles. StrangeLove also do a gorgeous Yuzu Tonic, which removes the need for extra citrus.
Soda Any plain soda will do, for topping up long drinks.
Citrus I love lemon for a dry gin and tonic, but just as often I choose to have ruby grapefruit, oranges, or limes. If you’re a citrus lover like me, I recommend trying different combinations. Blood orange and ruby grapefruit are especially lovely.
Below is one of my most recent connections for lazy summer days.