If you are planning a summer party, then cocktails are a must. Served ice cold, on the rocks, they are an inescapable part of the British summer (when it happens!). Here’s a little list of our top tipples and how to make them:

Pimm’s

Pimm’s is the quintessential English summer drink, a gin-based liqueur tasting of citrus fruit and spices that can be used in a variety of ways. For the ever-popular original, mix one part Pimm’s No 1 with two parts clear and carbonated lemonade and lots of chopped fruit. Cucumbers are essential, oranges a must, and the rest can be made up of apples, strawberries and lemon. Finish with a refreshing sprig of mint. For an alternative take on this classic cocktail, swap the lemonade for ginger ale, and to make it a Pimm’s Royal Cup, champagne or sparkling wine.

Mojito

Another classic summer cocktail is Cuban favourite, the Mojito. White rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint are the basic ingredients. Crush the mint leaves in the lime juice and sugar to release its essential oils, then add one part white rum. Stir the concoction and then fill up with three parts sparkling water and a lot of ice. The relatively low alcohol content make it a perfect light summer drink.

Margarita

Tequila, a highly alcoholic Mexican drink made from the blue agave plant, is the key ingredient of a Margarita, served in a salt-rimmed glass. An orange liqueur and a dash of fresh lime, shaken and served on ice, form the basis of the classic Margarita. However, there are many variations on the theme, such as grapefruit margarita. For two cocktails, mix seven parts freshly pressed grapefruit juice with two and a half parts tequila, add the juice of half a lime and a good dash of orange liqueur. This fruity little number is guaranteed to make any backyard feel like the tropics!

Negroni

Originating from Italy, Negroni is a gin-based drink. It is simple to make, and the recipe is easy to remember – just mix one part gin with one part each of Campari and Sweet Vermouth. Serve on ice and garnish with an orange peel twist. Although rather old fashioned, the Negroni is thought to be making something of a comeback, though most bars these days serve Negroni with double the amount of gin. A popular variation is the “Negroni sbagliato” where sparkling wine replaces the gin.

Piña Colada

This cocktail screams tropical beaches, glorious sunsets, and more than a little 80s tackiness! Still, it’s great fun for a summer party.  A concoction of rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice, the Piña Colada is the official drink of Puerto Rico, where it was invented by Ramón Marrero as a cocktail for the celebrity guests of the Caribe Hilton International Hotel in the 1950s. The original recipe calls for three parts coconut cream, six parts pineapple juice and one and a half parts white rum blended with crushed ice until very smooth. A pineapple wedge and/or a maraschino cherry decorate the chilled glass. Alternatively, use one part rum and two each of pineapple juice and coconut cream.

This article was brought to you by sofa.com fans of all things summer from cocktails and parties to relaxing at home.

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