It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Long hot days, the occasional thunder storm to clear the air and long balmy evenings. December is also our long holiday in South Africa. Our family tradition is to make all kinds of interesting summer cocktails during this relaxed month of December. Last year we focused on Whisky Cocktails. This year we tried something different. Below I compiled a list of the 4 most amazing summer cocktails that we enjoyed this December. They are all straight forward and you can easily make them at home. So, if you are dreaming of sunny weather and hot days and need something to inspire you, look no further.
Summer Cocktails: Gingerbread Martini
We found this recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood on the Food Network. The ice cream made it perfect for our hot summer afternoon and the crushed gingerbread cookies on top just made it spectacular. It takes a bit of planning and time to make the Gingerbread syrup, but is totally worth the effort. We used Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua and the Russian Standard Vodka that we have available. I suggest using the best ice cream you can get your hands on. The creamier, the better. We did not top it off with whipped cream as it is rich and delicious already. Of all the many cocktails we tried during December, this was the winner!
Summer Cocktails: Espresso Martini
Jamie Oliver was the inspiration for this stunning cocktail. It is perfect for hot days where you need a little caffeine boost but it to hot for a cup of coffee. The Espresso Martini is a cocktail you want to try again and again. It is made with a shot of cold espresso, vodka and Kahlua mixed over ice and strained into a glass. It is worth making a proper espresso if possible. Using coffee powder to make a shot of coffee is just not the same. The rich dark nature of the proper coffee balances wonderfully with the coffee liqueur. Another cocktail that we will continue making for the rest of the summer when we get a chance.
Summer Cocktails: Cadillac Margarita
A Margarita is such a classic. Some people rim the glass with salt or serve it with ice. However you like it, it is a great classic. We found a Cadillac Margarita on ‘The World on Wheels‘ that used brandy, tequila and Gran Mariner with lime. We used some South African Oude Meester brandy. Fresh lime juice makes all the difference. This Cadillac Margarita is refreshing with the right balance between the sour lime and the sweet brandy. Perfect for sunny days. In Europe, when you are missing the sun and need a sun and Vitamin C boost, this will brighten your day.
Summer Cocktails: Amaretto Flirt
I can’t even remember where we found the recipe for this Amaretto Flirt summer cocktail. We used a wonderful South African sparkling wine, Simonsig to make it. And it is always a delight to take out the beautiful Disaronno bottle. The almond flavour comes through perfectly and the sparking wine / champagne bubbles brighten up the orange juice. Serve it in a champagne glass and add a maraschino cherry for a bit of colour. This is another summer cocktail that you want to try again and again.
We tried about 15 different cocktails during December, but these were the ones we loved most. And when winter approaches in South Africa, we will make these again and be reminded of our wonderful warm December summer.