Words: Mallory Legg
When it comes to cocktail night, my friends and I often find ourselves resorting to the same old same old: Moscow Mules, Sex on the Beach and, as the night begins to spiral, the trusty Gin and Tonic. While these classic drinks are great, we often begin the next meetings by racking our brains to try and come up with a drink that is a bit more interesting, something we can bring to the table on a tray to impress as well as a drink that can be made as the evening progresses into a more thoughtless arena. Complicated, isn’t it? So here is a list of those drinks that have managed to bring that effortlessly elevated quality to our pitchers:
Watermelon Cucumber Vodka
Photo: With Spice
To me, there is nothing better than a drink which incorporates cucumbers. It is light, it is refreshing, and its conspicuous flavour takes an edge off of a strong liquor punch to the palette. What's better? A sweet watermelon and strong sour lime to pair. So upon finding this watermelon, cucumber, and lime vodka lowball, I knew it had to be a showstopper. A salt rim paired with fresh muddled fruit… it's a winner coming together within five minutes. Regardless, this is one of those drinks that opens you up to the concept that garnish might be the best aspect of a drink as it completely shapes the flavour of the final product and especially, to never underestimate the powerful flavour of a thinly sliced cucumber.
Photo: Zen & Spice
If there were a cocktail that was safe and reliable, it would be a Moscow Mule. It's friendly, everyone likes it, the mule is a crowd pleaser. But that’s not the point of this article, we want elevated, we want interesting, we want twists and turns, and we definitely want a Watermelon and Mint Moscow Mule. This drink doesn't pack too much of a punch, it's peppy from the watermelon but sassy from the ginger beer. It’s not complicated in flavour or in effort and it’s a great excuse to add some copper mugs to the inventory, just make sure to shake it until your hands freeze and not to overlook the garnishes.
Homemade Hard Seltzer
Photo: Fit Foodie Finds
If you like seltzers and want to up your game and lower the cost of it, this is the link. With three different options and depending on fresh juice to give it an upper hand, these are sure to be some of the more refreshing drinks that the table will see. Simple, yet elevated, it screams seltzer.
Gin Elderflower and Prosecco
Photo: Garnish with Lemon
For what seems like it should be quite a polarising flavour, I find that everybody likes elderflower and what goes with elderflower other than gin? This is probably the simplest pour on the menu today but I dare say it is definitely the most elevated in flavour. Anything topped with Prosecco might give that illusion. And with a sugar and lime rim to combat the ever-so-complicated gin, the balance in flavour, smell and overall palate is impressive.
Frozen Cucumber Lemonade
You may have figured out by now that I am partial to cucumber, but if you haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet, you’ll have to give this one a chance. Especially on a warm, sunny day, reconnecting with friends, who could pass up a frozen lemonade, packed with fresh herbs and vibrant citrus and spiked ever so kindly with your favourite vodka. The perfect drink to make in bulk and keep cold to continue revisiting throughout the evening. Although, saying that, you might want to do that with all of the above.