7 Quintessentially British Summer Drinks to Try at Home
Even if you won't be visiting a beer garden this summer, you can still drink like you're in one. Here are seven summer tipples – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – with a distinctly British flavor.
Perhaps the quintessential British summer cocktail, Pimm's is a gin-based, citrus-infused liqueur that's traditionally served as a long drink with lemonade. A glass of Pimm's feels especially summery, because it's generally garnished with sprigs of mint and slices of apple, cucumber, orange, lemon, strawberry, or just whatever fruit you have in the pantry. Bottoms up!
2. English Garden Cocktail
Fragrant and fruity, this cocktail is super-easy to make: simply mix two parts gin to three parts apple juice and one part elderflower cordial, then add a dash of lemon and – if you can be bothered – a cucumber garnish. It's a surefire way to bring a taste of the English countryside to any sticky city apartment.
3. Robinsons Fruit Squash
Purveyors of fruit squash (or cordial) since 1935, Robinsons is one of the U.K.'s favorite soft drink brands – they even have a royal warrant granted by Queen Elizabeth II. Head into any British supermarket and you'll find a range of Robinsons flavors – everything from pink grapefruit to the classic orange squash – alongside rival brands offering similar fruit squash drinks. Robinsons has sponsored the Wimbledon tennis Championships for decades, so you might recognize their logo from TV coverage of classic Serena and Venus Williams matches over the years.
The U.K. has the highest per capita consumption of cider, an alcoholic drink made from fermented apples, of any country in the world. In a British pub, you'd typically order a pint or half-pint, choosing between traditional plain cider or a jazzier flavored variety like strawberry and lime, rhubarb, or raspberry and pomegranate. It's a sweeter, fruitier alternative to a pint of beer or ale, and can range from 1.2% to 8.5% ABV.
5. Rhubarb cordial
Topped up with club soda, rhubarb cordial makes for a colorful and refreshing non-alcoholic treat. BBC Good Food has a great recipe to batch-make with just five ingredients: caster sugar, orange zest, lemon zest, root ginger, and of course rhubarb.
6. Elderflower pressé
Made using the flowers of the sambucus nigra, or elder, which is native to much of Europe and North America, elderflower cordial first became a popular summer quencher in Victorian times. The Great British Baking Show's Mary Berry has a straightforward recipe to make your own, but it's pretty easy to source pre-made elderflower cordial (or elderflower pressé as it's known when sparkling water is mixed in).
7. Gin and tonic
The classic "G&T" is a popular drink all year round in the U.K., but especially refreshing in summer. It was actually invented in the 18th century by Scottish doctor George Cleghorn, who realized that quinine, a bitter-tasting cure for malaria, could be made more palatable by adding water, lime, and sugar to make tonic water, and then finished off with a measure or two of gin.
Pre-mix "gin in a tin" cocktails are now super-popular in the U.K. – Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott even handed them out to theatregoers waiting to watch the West End production of Fleabag last year. "Cheers!", as a Brit would say.
Which is your favorite British summer drink?