drinks in the summer garden

by ally redmond

I love the spontaneity of summer entertaining. With the long evenings and warmer temperatures, we often invite friends for dinner or simply for a pre-dinner drink in the garden. Working long days means that I need to be able to pull everything together for drinks quickly and easily, and I’ve found this cocktail basket that feels more appropriate in the garden than a traditional drinks cart.

Shop the cocktail basket on the MFCH Boutique!

My turn-to drink is a rosé wine, with lots of ice, and for those who prefer not to drink alcohol, then I’ll always offer alternatives such as elderflower cordial, iced tea or a cucumber and mint infusion with a few red berries for colour. To make the cucumber mocktail, I use this recipe handed to me by a friend.

Cucumber Mocktail

Ingredients (about 8 glasses)


  1. Chop a thick slice of a cucumber and a handful of mint leaves into small pieces
  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a small pan, then add the mint and cucumber
  3. Turn off the heat and leave for 2 minutes
  4. Add a small handful of frozen or fresh berries (personally, I like to use raspberries and blueberries), let them soak for a minute, then crush them lightly with the back of a spoon
  5. Strain the mixture and serve in a jug with a sprig of mint

Note: This can be made ahead and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours

For a wine-based cocktail, I generally turn to my friends at Mirabeau wine, who offer a wonderful selection of cocktail ideas using rosé wine or their pink gin. Here is my current favourite, which they call “Sparkling Summer Folie” (madness) – an apricot and lavender cocktail. Find out how to make it below!

“Sparkling Summer Folie” Cocktail

© Mirabeau

Ingredients (about 8 glasses)

For the cocktail:

  • 1 bottle of La Folie sparkling rosé
  • 250 ml fresh apricot juice
  • 200 ml lavender syrup
  • 8 fresh lavender sprigs

For the lavender syrup:

  • 6 buds of fresh lavender
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. For the syrup, put the sugar and water in a saucepan 
  2. Rip the flowers off the bud and add them to the saucepan
  3. Cook the mixture until the texture thickens a bit and then sieve it into a glass jug and set aside to cool
  4. Place one lavender bud into each glass, with 3 tablespoons of apricot juice and 2 tablespoons of the lavender syrup
  5. Top up the glass up with chilled La Folie and stir very gently
  6. Enjoy the taste of summer in Provence!

Don’t miss our feature on Mirabeau in our July/August 21 issue!


Kathryn Gauci June 8, 2021 - 3:03 pm

I will try these. They sound refreshing. Thank you, Sharon.

Mary June 8, 2021 - 3:51 pm

Thank you, Sharon. How do you make the elder-flower cordial?

Jacqueline Hughes June 8, 2021 - 5:12 pm

Sounds delicious, Sharon. Thank you for the recipe!

Giftbasketworldwide June 9, 2021 - 11:52 am

Such a wonderful post. Thank you so much!!

Carol June 9, 2021 - 1:56 pm

Love this post!

Lorrie June 9, 2021 - 9:59 pm

These sound delicious! Here’s to cooling drinks while seated outdoors!

Mrs. Laura Susan Bamberg Gideon June 16, 2021 - 2:53 pm

The cucumber mocktail sounds so, so refreshing on a hot summer evening. Thank you for sharing both with us!


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