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In good summer spirit; Sam Wylie-Harris embraces the season with some colourful cocktails.

AS the much-loved cliche goes, it's always Happy Hour somewhere! With National Tequila Day (July 24) been and gone, and National Rum Day (August 16) and National Whiskey Sour Day (August 25) still on the horizon, it's time to reach for the cocktail menu...

One of life's measured pleasures, with every concoction comes the promise of an exotic-sounding name, ample choice of spirits and, in some cases, lesser-known ingredients.

Worthy of your own little black book of cocktails, here are some award-winning recipes, tropical punches and refreshing sundowners to bring on a thirst and raise the bar...

DOWN MEXICO WAY MIXING it with the best, World Class UK Bartender of The Year 2015, Ali Reynolds from London restaurant Hawksmoor in Spitalfields, has created this fragrant recipe using Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Mexico (PS41.50, 70cl, www.31dover.com). Silky and smooth, it marries a citrusy freshness with an earthy, peppery note from the agave plant.

DJ'S OF OUR THYME: 50ml Don Julio Blanco, 10ml lemon juice, 20ml thyme and ginger Don Julio syrup, pinch of saffron.

Syrup: Blitz together three sprigs of thyme and 400g ginger. Add two parts sugar to whatever juice you get from the ginger and thyme. Dissolve the sugar in the ginger and thyme juice.

Half fill a tumbler with ice. Add the tequila, lemon juice and syrup, stir slowly, top with saffron and garnish with a twist of orange.

ISLAND LIFE A WHITE rum with a cult following, 90 per cent of Jamaican's cite Wray & Nephew Rum, Jamaica (PS26, 70cl, Sainsbury's) as their favourite rum of choice. Overproof at 63 per cent abv, it's sweet and fiery.

REGGAE RUM PUNCH: 25ml Wray & Nephew Rum, 50ml orange juice, 50ml pineapple juice, 25ml grenadine, fresh lime Half-fill a highball glass with ice. Add the rum, orange juice and pineapple juice and stir slowly. Top with grenadine and garnish with a lemon wedge and mint.

AMERICAN CLASSIC THE quintessential American whiskey made predominantly from corn grain (by law, bourbon must contain at least 51 per cent), Western Gold Straight Gold Bourbon Whiskey (PS11.99, 70cl, Lidl) at the Supermarkets Own Branded Spirits Range of the Year. Fairly priced for the worn leather, oaky, spicy, honeyed mouthfeel, it's a good mixer for a taste of Kentucky.

Gold Straight Gold Bourbon Whiskey WHISKEY SOUR: 50ml whiskey, 20ml fresh lemon juice, 1 egg white, 20ml sugar syrup, maraschino cherry Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, egg white, and sugar syrup. Shake well and strain into a tumbler filled with fresh ice and garnish with a cherry.

WORTH FORAGING FOR RECIPE One: Botanical recipes are usually a closely guarded secret, but with juniper at the fore, coriander, angelica and liquorice are all evident in Tanqueray Special Dry Gin (PS20, 70cl, Tesco). Fresh and vibrant, the flavours won't be drowned in the crush.

FROZEN AVIATION: 50ml gin, 25ml lemon juice, 10ml maraschino, 10ml creme de violette, 15ml sugar syrup Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend with crushed ice until smooth. Pour into a tumbler and garnish with lemon zest and a cherry.

Recipe Two: Made with infusions of cucumber and rose petals, Hendrick's Gin (PS28, 70cl, Waitrose) expresses itself particularly well with mixers that have a touch of sweetness.

HENDRICK'S SUMMER MULE: 50ml gin, 10ml St Germain Elderflower Cordial, 12.5ml fresh lemon juice, 6 mint leaves, 3 slices of cucumber, ginger beer Muddle the cucumber in a high ball glass. Add gin, cordial, lemon juice and mint and build together over cracked ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with mint.

Western QUICK FIXES APEROL SPRITZ: The perfect aperitivo, mixing three parts prosecco, two parts Aperol and one part soda water is a fashionable serve to share with friends, happily the bitterness of the Aperol (PS15, 70cl, Waitrose) dials down the sweetness of the Italian fizz. Fill a large wine glass with ice, add prosecco (75ml) first, then the Aperol (50ml) and finish with a dash of soda. Garnish with a slice of orange.

LITTLE BLACK DRESS: lbd is a light and refreshing vodka-based drink aimed at thirsty fashionistas looking for a lighter style of spirit at 20 per cent abv. Available in Peach & Raspberry, Apple & Cranberry and Lime & Watermelon, lbd (PS9.48, 50cl, Asda) is deliciously fresh and fruity. Simply fill a highball with ice, add your favourite lbd flavour and top with lemonade. Or, try it with tonic water for a bitter sweet taste.

Andrew Campbell is away. |

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2015
Words:754
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