Exams are over… at least for the majority of us, and what better way to celebrate (or grieve if you’ve still got some coming) than with some tasty ethanol-containing beverages? Thankfully, summer means a chance to venture out of your comfort zone and try something more unique than your typical Union IPA or Jägerbomb, and it’s not only for basic white girls – the cocktail. Here’s a handy summary of a selection of the classics.

Dry Martini

The titular reference has to come first – I mean, who doesn’t want to be James Bond? Preferably made with gin, but can use vodka too. 4 parts Gin/Vodka, 1 part dry Vermouth (although ratios are debatable), and don’t forget the olive!

Bloody Mary

Commonly consumed at brunch, this is a bit of a strange one (who mixes alcohol and tomatoes?). 3 parts Vodka, 6 parts tomato juice, and 1 part lemon juice, with a dash of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Nutritious?


Ideal for summer due to its many fruity variations - strawberry, raspberry, or maybe mango or passion fruit? Mmmm. 2 parts Tequila, 1 each of Cointreau/Triple Sec and Sour Mix or lime juice, and don’t forget to salt/sugar the rim of the glass.

Cuba Libre

A simple mixer with a name, this is low effort and high satisfaction if you want to greet your guests with something other than a beer can. 2 parts Cola, 1 part White Rum, and a dash of fresh lime juice and you’re set.

Old Fashioned

Partially reserved for the posh, partially for those who enjoy whiskey (but who says that the two are mutually exclusive?). 2 parts Whiskey, 3 dashes of bitters, and a sugar cube, topped off with soda or water and garnished with orange.


Probably the first cocktail you’ve ever ordered when aged 15, but still a good staple. 4 parts White Rum, 3 parts lime juice, topped up with club soda, and a teaspoon of sugar and some mint for good measure.


A citrusy classic and Hemingway’s supposed favourite drink – channel your inner author by sipping on this on a sunlit balcony (preferably in Cuba). 9 parts White Rum, 5 parts lime juice, and 3 parts syrup or half a teaspoon of sugar.

Gin & Tonic

Honestly, there isn’t much to say about the G&T. Eponymous contents of this drink, mixed in your desired proportions, topped off with a lime and you’re good to go.

Long Island Iced Tea

Easily one of the strongest cocktails which typically doesn’t taste of alcohol (and you know what that means…). Equal parts of Vodka, Rum, Gin, Triple Sec and Tequila, plus 2 parts lemon juice, and topped off with Cola. Add a lemon for good measure.

Piña Colada

The definition of summer in a glass (complete with pineapple, cocktail umbrellas and colourful stirrers). 3 parts pineapple juice, and 1 part each of cream of coconut and White Rum. Blend with ice for a frozen twist!

Sex on the Beach

Yes, this is in fact a cocktail, and a very good one at that, combining a lot of exoticness in one. 2 parts each of Vodka, orange juice and cranberry juice, and 1 part Peach Schnapps. And, you guessed it – an orange slice.


Originating in Florence, this drink is one of Italy’s many aperitifs striking that sweet/bitter balance. Equal parts Sweet Vermouth, Gin, and Campari. Add an orange for the summery vibe.

Whiskey Sour

Not going to lie, probably not one of the more confusingly named cocktails nor one of the better tasting ones. 3 parts Whiskey, 2 parts fresh lemon juice, with a part of syrup or a teaspoon of sugar.

Moscow Mule

Although Russia is a hot topic, this cocktail is anything but, adding a refreshing twist to a vodka cocktail. 1 part Vodka, 2-3 parts ginger beer, and a dash of lime juice.

Aperol Spritz

The epitome of summer and the perfect drink, in terms of aesthetics, flavour and the fact it is acceptable at any time of day (and a personal favourite if you couldn’t tell). 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and 1 part soda. An orange is a must.


Now we’re getting into celebration territory; although the field is vast, this is arguably the best kind of bubbly cocktail (brunch anyone?). The most common peach version has 2 parts Prosecco and 1 part peach purée.


Not only for Carrie Bradshaw, this is a sweet (but not too sweet) vodka sour for those who love their vodka cranberries. 4 parts Vodka, 3 parts cranberry juice, and 1 part each of lime juice and Triple Sec.

Mai Tai

Tastes nothing like alcohol, yet guaranteed to look Insta-worthy; a decent deal for those basic white girls out there. 4 parts Rum (mix of white & dark in a 2:1 ratio), 1 each of Orange Curacao, lime juice and syrup. Commonly served with pineapple.