I think the true sign of British Summertime beginning isn't marked by a calendar, or clocks changing or even really the weather. It's noted by the nations sudden urge to drink alcohol outside all day. It doesn't even have to be that warm. It might be four degrees outside but if we think Summer has arrived, we're having a barbecue damn it, because that's what Brits do.
Knowing this change was arriving and my weekends would soon be filled with picnics and beer gardens (or more likely crying while I watch thunder storms happen outside), I recently enlisted Dave's help to spend an afternoon with me testing out a few cocktail recipes and this is some of what we came up with.
These were made using two flavours of Oddka, a company who make weird and wonderful flavoured vodka drinks. I picked up their Salted Caramel Popcorn and Strawberry Milkshake flavours last year but just never really got around to doing much with them. My first thought was to use the caramel for a more Pinterest friendly version of an irish coffee. Here I've made a more versatile version, a take on the white russian which is one of my all time favourite cocktails. A delicious, boozy, iced coffee, that would be really good for finishing up a meal or a late evening drink.
There are a lot of suggestions for how to serve their drinks on Oddka's website, and we took inspiration from these for our other cocktails. We settled on two light, summery cocktails made with the Strawberry Milkshake flavour - a boozy milkshake that would make a fantastic accompaniment to some American style barbecue food, and a fruity punch, incorporating this years drinks trend for bitters, that would be an amazing replacement for Pimms or fruit cups.
If I absolutely had to choose, the punch is probably my favourite, but I think they all bring something different to the party. I'd expected the impulse purchase of these flavoured vodkas to be a novelty we'd get out at parties but never really drink the rest of the year but it turns out they're a surprisingly versatile and fun addition to our drinks shelf. Oh and the best part is all these cocktails only take about 30 seconds each to throw together, so you can pretend to be a master bartender without making much more effort than you'd use opening a beer bottle, or maybe that's just me...
Have you tried any Oddka flavours? Which of these cocktails would you like to drink this summer?
Sweet Oddka Milkshake
A splash of grenadine
25ml of Strawberry Milkshake vodka
Cut up the fresh strawberries into small peices, throw all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well. Finish with more strawberries or whipped cream.
Oddka Fruit Punch
A dash of angostura bitters
A mixture of fresh fruits (I used strawberries and limes, but pretty much any fruit will work)
50ml of Strawberry Milkshake Vodka
Caramel White Russian
25ml of Kahlua or other coffee liquer
25ml of Salted Caramel PopcornVodka
50ml of milk
Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker or use a small blender to combine the drinks and pour over ice.