Summer is finally peeking out from the clouds, and it feels like it’s been years since London has been able to properly celebrate the return of sunshine, the feel of a stress-free afternoon stretching ahead of you, and the cool, condensing touch of an excellent cocktail in the hand.
Yet the time has finally arrived, and we expect nothing short of a jovial revival of bars all across the city.
So to help Londoners get back into the swing of summery drinks and endless sunny days, here are our picks for the best cocktails of summer.
The frozen margarita
Frozen margaritas are the perfect antidote to a hot day in the sun. Whether it’s a classic with little else but triple sec, tequila, lime juice, agave syrup, and ice, or something fruitier with frozen strawberries or watermelon, this delicious cocktail is a winner for any hot day.
The fig & mint julep
The mint julep has long been a summer staple, with its refreshing menthol notes and sweet simple syrup with bourbon and ice, it’s hard not to love this classic cocktail.
However pay a visit to Jeru, a new bar in Mayfair, to discover the elevated fig & mint julep. This Middle Eastern twist on a beloved drink adds figs into the mix, adding a subtle and sweet honey flavour to the palate for something extra special this summer.
The fuzzy navel
No matter how far away the beach is, this cocktail can make anyone feel the sand between their toes and the ocean breeze on their face. A combination of orange juice and peach schnapps, this cocktail embodies warm, beachside holidays and is as light and fruity as they come.
The Pimm’s cup
Don’t fix what isn’t broken. The traditional Pimm’s cup is made with gin-based liqueur Pimm’s, then loaded with either ginger ale or lemonade, packed with summer fruit, and topped with mint for an incredibly refreshing cocktail.
This is an excellent choice when you’re hosting guests at home, as you only need one bottle of Pimm’s and whatever’s in season for the fruits.
The Rita’s sour
Sour cocktail fans will be familiar with the tart and floral notes of El Gobernador (the governor) pisco. It’s a common ingredient in the fan-favourite pisco sour cocktail, but here at Jeru, the Rita’s sour takes this popular brandy and creates something wholly unique.
As well as pisco, the Rita’s sour includes aromatic Kaffir lime leaf, and smooth, flavourful Aluna coconut rum. The result is an ethereal cocktail that’s at once familiar and exotic, and could well be your new favourite drink of the summer.
The Aperol spritz
A little sweet, a lot bitter, refreshingly bubbly, and enliveningly citrusy – the Aperol spritz is a global favourite for good reason. It dates back to the 1950s but has enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity in recent years, and there are few cocktails as immediately recognisable as large goblets of bright orange drink.
This cocktail contains Aperol, prosecco, soda, and a slice of orange to garnish.
The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, and is as refreshing as it is effortless. It contains just three ingredients – cachaça, lime, and sugar, making it sweet and bold and summery all at once.
If you’ve been looking forward to easy travel and international cocktails for the past couple of years, this could be your drink of the summer.
The Long Island Iced Tea
The Long Island Iced Tea is a legendary cocktail that’s essentially a party in a glass. It contains a number of spirits, including vodka, white rum, tequila, gin, and Cointreau, and is flavoured with lemon juice, simple syrup, and Coke.
This is certainly a drink to sip, but one that will see you through the summer in true party style.
When you’re looking for a summery cocktail this summer, the Pineapple punch is worth ordering just for its festive name.
But the ingredients are what makes it the perfect cocktail for warm, sunny days. It is made with Eldorado rum, pineapple, cinnamon, cloves, and milk, and you’ll find it at Jeru all summer long.
The Mai Tai
Any sun-soaked afternoon can be improved with a Mai Tai in the hand. It may be made from dark rum, lime juice, Curacao, orgeat syrup, and lime juice, but it tastes like hot sand under your feet, late nights exploring new places, and endless days of relaxation on the beach.
If you’re making Mai Tais at home, be sure to garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry for added summer vibrancy.
The Layla Cherry Club
The Layla Cherry Club is a complex and elegant cocktail, with sweetness and effervescent sunshine in spades.
It’s made with Hennessy VS Cognac at its base for depth of flavour, and is joined by cherry and champagne for a touch of summer. This is another cocktail you can discover and enjoy any day this summer at Jeru.
The Bellini is a classy drink that’s as summery as sandals and as bright as beach balls. It’s a sweet combination of prosecco and peach nectar or puree, and can occasionally include simple syrup for added sweetness.
Served in a tall glass with a slice of fresh peach adorning the rim, the Bellini is the perfect cocktail for afternoons with friends and loved ones in the sunshine.
The colour of sunshine and happiness itself, the Painkiller cocktail is one that can brighten any day.
It’s a heady combination of either dark or gold rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and coconut cream. The result is something with depth, a very citrusy sweetness, and a beachy creaminess. When shaken together, the hue is a deep orange yellow tone, and when topped off with a slice of pineapple and orange, it’s the kind of cocktail you can enjoy all summer long.
Visit Layla Bar this summer
Part of Mayfair’s newest Middle Eastern restaurant Jeru is the Layla Bar, a dedicated space for enjoying premium cocktails in a lush, welcoming atmosphere.
Stop by this summer to discover your new favourite drink.