Toast the arrival of summer with a Ritz-worthy cocktail

Frances Hedges
·2-min read
Photo credit: Clerkenwell Boy
Photo credit: Clerkenwell Boy

From Town & Country

With lockdown measures easing and the heatwave in full swing, a refreshing cocktail in the sunshine feels like a well-deserved respite from a difficult year – and where better to sip yours than in the luxurious environs of Piccadilly’s beloved grande dame hotel, the Ritz? Whether you choose to take a seat on the terrace of the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant or to relax in the newly opened Secret Garden, a tranquil oasis blooming with geraniums, olive-trees and lavender, it’s the perfect excuse for an alfresco aperitif.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Ritz
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Ritz

If, however, you can’t make the journey into central London just yet, you can still recreate the flavours of the hotel’s superb cocktail menu at home, with a little guidance from its head barman Daniel Stepien. “I really recommend spritz-style drinks during the summer, as they are refreshing and easy to drink – or opt for long drinks served in a highball glass,” he advises. “Always use fresh and seasonal ingredients for the best flavours – for instance, in the UK we’re lucky enough to have great strawberries and raspberries.”

Photo credit: Clerkenwell Boy
Photo credit: Clerkenwell Boy

Champagne cocktails are always good for a celebration, says Stepien, but it’s also worth trying some of the excellent English sparkling wines made on our own shores. Beyond fizz, he has a few new drinks on his radar – “this summer, watch out for Fortunella Liqueur, a delicious liqueur made with kumquats” – but will always return to a classic gin cocktail too. “There are so many excellent varieties available now, with many coming from London and nearby,” he notes. “You can serve them with cucumber, mint or citrus to really enhance the flavour of the gin.”

Photo credit: Clerkenwell Boy
Photo credit: Clerkenwell Boy

For a taste of the Ritz at home, try one of Stepien’s three recipes below:

Ritz 110

Pour 25ml vodka, 10ml Grand Marnier, a dash of peach liqueur and some gold leaf into a champagne coupe and top up with champagne. Decorate the glass with a swirl of orange peel, and drop a sugar cube into the cocktail to create the fizz. Enjoy!

Negroni

Our negroni is served in an Old Fashioned glass and is made by throwing the ingredients, which are equal parts gin, red vermouth and Campari. Serve with a large ice cube and garnished with an orange twist.

Mojito

Our mojito is served in a highball glass and is built inside the glass. Combine freshly squeezed lime juice, simple sugar syrup, a bunch of mint leaves and a double pour of white rum. Serve with crushed ice and top up with soda. Gently stir and garnish with lime and a sprig of mint.