Cocktails Spirits Uncategorized

Six Summer Cocktails for a Taste of Europe

Summer tends to bring out the travel bug in most of us. Dreams of warm beaches, rolling hills, exotic food, they all seem to get just that much more tantalizing during the summer months. But, if travel isn’t an option, then why not bring the exotic flavours to you? Here are six European inspired cocktails that will make you believe you’re already on vacation.

Aperol Spritz

Photo: Anders Mohlin

The Italian’s have it figured out when it comes to a refreshing summer cocktail. The Aperol Spritz seems simple, but it’s that simplicity that makes it a go-to summer cocktail again and again.

  • 3oz Cinzano Prosecco
  • 2oz Aperol
  • 1oz Soda Water

Add ice into a wine glass, then pour the Prosecco, Aperol and Soda. Top with a slice of orange for a nice citrus addition.

Pimm’s Cup

Pimm’s Cups are dangerously good. These refreshing British cocktails combine a bitterness with crisp cucumber to create something extraordinary. The recipe is for a glass, but you may end up needing to make a pitcher.

  • 2oz Pimm’s No. 1
  • 3oz Ginger Beer (in a pinch, Ginger Ale will do)
  • 1-2 Cucumber slices
  • Sprig of mint

Top a highball glass with ice, add Pimm’s and Ginger Beer. Garnish with cucumber and mint. For a variation, you can also add in sliced strawberries, lemon or rhubarb as garnish.


Photo: Bastien Deceuninck

Sangria is the embodiment of warm summer nights spent on the patio with good friends and good conversation. While there are a number of different ways of preparing Sangria, including white and red versions, here is a good starting point that allows you to experiment with different additions (like Brandy) or fruits. Try to avoid apples or pears, as they tend to absorb a lot of the alcohol from the mixture.

  • 1 bottle of Dry Red Wine
  • 1 1/2 cups of Bacardi White Rum (or for a twist, try Appleton Dark Rum)
  • 1 cup of Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Orange

Slice lemon, lime and orange into rounds and place into a large pitcher. Add in rum and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Chill for at least two hours, to allow the fruit flavours to mix in. Crush the fruit slightly and add wine and orange juice. Top with ice.

Prima Donna

Prima Donna.jpg

Generally when you think of Brandy, especially Apple Brandy, it invokes the idea of cooler fall or winter days. While that may be true, Brandy can actually be used to make uniquely refreshing summer cocktails as well, and it pairs particularly well with grapefruit as this recipe from Lauren McKenna proves.

  • 1 1/2oz Calvados Boulard Pays d’Auge Brandy
  • 1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/2oz Cinnamon Syrup (add equal parts sugar and water with two cinnamon sticks, brought to a boil and simmered for 15 minutes. Strain and cool.)
  • 1/2oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2oz Apricot Liqueur

Add all ingredients into a tall Collins glass and stir. Add ice and garnish with a grapefruit slice and two cinnamon sticks.

Kir Royale 

Photo: Shari’s Berries

Leave it to the French to find a way to turn Champagne into a cocktail. The Kir Royale is a twist of the traditional Kir (which uses white wine), and was designed for special occasions. However, you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy this cocktail on its own.

  • 6oz Champagne
  • 1/2oz Creme de Cassis
  • Lemon twist

Add the cassis to the bottom of a champagne flute. Slowly pour in the Champagne and add a lemon twist at the end.


Designed by Katherine Bouschel specifically with Grand Marnier in mind, this cocktail takes a lot of ingredients, but is most definitely worth the effort. It’s refreshing, bold and pairs the flavours of all the spirits in a well balanced manner.

  • 3/4oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2oz Forty Creek Whisky
  • 1/4oz Campari
  • 1/2oz Cold Brew Coffee
  • 4 Dashes of Bittered Sling Grapefruit & Hops Bitters
  • 2 Dashes of Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters

Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with either a twist of lemon and some cranberries or a dried rosebud.

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