Belfast Telegraph

Hold all the aces with these unusual tipples

Because sometimes it's just fun to serve up something different

By Sam Wylie Harris

Wimbledon has finally arrived and watching the grass-court action at one of the nation's favourite sporting events can bring on quite a thirst.

Last year, more than 280,000 glasses of Pimm's were quaffed at the tournament.

Because although we love Pimm's and plan to sip lots of it, sometimes we fancy a top-seeded tipple that's not laced with bitter herbs and citrus, and drowned in lemonade.

Luckily, these four not-so-traditional drinks are just the ticket. Be sure to serve them with a punnet of strawberries.

1. Sipsmith Strawberries & Cream

To celebrate Wimbledon, London distillery Sipsmith have released a Gin Liqueur Gift Set (£16, includes 1 x 90ml bottle of Strawberries & Cream Gin Liqueur, 1 x 5cl bottle of London Dry Gin, Sipsmith).

Suggested serve: Top with bubbles for a Berry Fizz, or mix yourself a Wimbledon Collins: 45ml Gin Liqueur, 20ml lime juice, top with soda and garnish with a strawberry.

2. Lawn Tennis Tonic

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Lawn Tennis Tonic

The premium tonic trend has filtered into the Sportsworld hospitality bar at Wimbledon, and this year The London Essence Company will be creating this ace serve to win over the crowds.

This recipe uses their all-light mixer, The London Essence Co's Classic Tonic Water (£1.50, 20cl, Harvey Nichols), which is low sugar, but well balanced.

Ingredients: 50ml Gin, 15ml elderflower cordial, London Essence Classic Tonic, three lime wedges, and a sprig of mint for garnish.

Method: Half fill a tall glass with ice and lime wedges. Add the gin and elderflower cordial, stir slowly and top with tonic. Garnish with the mint.

3. Wimbledon Green

Summer socials, manicured lawns and ball games... what you need to cap it all off is an enticing green cocktail. Cue Tanqueray London Dry Gin (£25.50, 1 litre, Tesco) mixed with a mean green juice.

Ingredients (serves five): 250ml Tanqueray Gin, 40ml ginger juice (such as Waitrose Ginger Shot), 12ml salt water, 120ml agave, 80ml lime juice, 80ml lemon juice, 400ml green juice (we recommend Innocent coldpress easy greens from Waitrose.com).

Method: Pour the Tanqueray, ginger juice, salt water, agave, lime and lemon juice into the sharing vessel. Top with the green juice and slowly stir. Pour into the martini glasses.

How to make salt water: 200g boiling water, 50g Maldon salt. Combine boiling water and Maldon in a heatproof container. Stir until salt has dissolved. Allow to cool and transfer to an eye dropper or dasher bottle.

4. Strawberry punch

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Strawberry punch

At first glance, this may look like a lot of effort for one serve - punches are all about sharing after all. But once you've made the strawberry puree, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Strawberry puree ingredients: 250g strawberries, washed and stalks removed, 50g caster sugar, 100ml water, and zest of orange.

Strawberry punch ingredients: 35ml Black Moth Truffle Vodka (£42.85, 70cl, Whisky Exchange), 25ml strawberry puree, 10ml fresh lime juice, 80ml ginger ale

Method: To make the strawberry puree, put the washed strawberries and sugar into a small pan with 100ml water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for five minutes until the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the orange zest. Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor, and whizz to a puree, then strain through a sieve, rubbing it through with the back of a ladle or spoon.

To make the drink, half fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, lime and strawberry puree. Shake vigorously and strain into a large wine glass filled with ice. Top up with ginger ale. Gently stir and garnish with a strawberry and sprig of basil.

Strawberry Punch excerpted from The Flavoured Spirits Enthusiasts' Manual, priced £17.24, available from Haynes.

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