These 5 yellow cocktail recipes are perfect for a summertime soirée

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Megan Murray
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Looking for some beautiful and delicious cocktails to serve at your next summer party? Look no further.

Yes, cocktails are meant for imbibing: we know that. However, in today’s world of Instagram and Pinterest, we also expect our beverages to be pretty enough to warrant a chorus of “oohs”, too.

Of all the shades of all the alcohols that could grab our attention, there really is nothing quite as arresting to the peepers as a zingy, citrusy yellow. And for good reason: not only does this bold, bright hue look great in a glass, the sheer amount of yellow-coloured fruits out there make it a tasty choice, too. A squeeze of lemon, a slice of pineapple, a slosh of peach puree: it all makes for delicious drinking.

To celebrate this colour of the moment, we reached out to some of the coolest, most knowledgeable mixologists in London to gather a selection of yellow-themed cocktail recipes. Max and Noel Venning are brothers from Manchester who share more than their heritage. The bar-tending pair have a passion for cocktails, which is why they opened their own bar called Three Sheets in Dalston, London.

 Their tiny bar feels like a place where only those in-the-know go to drink (trust us: we’ve been and can assure you it’s very good). The drinks menu is small and perfectly formed, with original creations, many of which are batch prepared. 

In addition to their venue the brothers have recently released a recipe book called Batched & Bottled, filled with seasonal cocktail recipes, some of which you can see below. We’ve hand-picked our favourite five yellow cocktails and have managed to get the full recipes and serving suggestions so that you can try them at home. Each recipe even comes with a description and story behind it, as told by the brothers themselves. Don’t say we never do anything for you! 

Howie in the Jungle

It’s straightforward and ideal to mix up in advance of a dinner party. It contains pineapple juice – it’s best if you can juice it yourself (using an electric juicer), but if you’re buying it make sure it isn’t made from concentrate and is 100% pressed. Also, squeeze the lime just before you batch the mix.

To batch:

  • 100ml/4oz Cherry Heering liqueur
  • 150ml/6oz strained pineapple juice
  • 150ml/6oz fresh, strained lime juice
  • 150ml/6oz Aperol
  • 300ml/12oz Zucca (an Italian aperitif)
  • Jug or container, at least 1 litre/40oz

To serve:

  • Soda water
  • Mint sprigs, to garnish
  • Colourful edible flowers, to garnish

How to make a batch:

 1. Put all the ingredients together in the jug and stir to combine. 

2. Cover and refrigerate until your guests arrive. It will keep for 24 hours, so best to make on the day.

How to serve:

1. When you’re ready to serve, stir the mix again, then pour two large measures – about 100ml/4oz – into a highball over ice for each guest. 

2. Top with 50ml/2oz of soda and stir to combine. 

3. Garnish with a mint sprig for some fresh aroma, and some colourful flowers for wow factor.

Rangoon Ice Tea

You can garnish it elaborately, so make it a centrepiece – it’s perfect for an afternoon gathering. If you want to read more about the fascinating history of punch (well, we think it’s fascinating!), get yourself David Wondrich’s book ‘Punch: the Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl’. Experts like him agree that the main challenges with making punch are avoiding over-dilution and getting the balance of all the ingredients right, but this recipe should nail it.

To batch:

  • 4g/1½ tsp dried almond flowers (best from the Rare Tea Company)
  • 5g/2 tsp Assam or other black tea leaves
  • 200g/8oz orange flower honey
  • 300ml/12oz London dry gin – Beefeater is ideal as the almond used in its distillation will shine through
  • 75ml/3oz fresh, strained lemon juice
  • 75ml/3oz fresh, strained lime juice
  • 5ml/1 tsp Angostura bitters
  • Coffee filters
  • Funnel
  • Jug or container, at least 1 litre/40oz

To serve:

  • A punch bowl, or other big bowl you’d be happy to display at a party
  • Dainty glasses to ladle the punch into
  • 300ml/12oz soda water
  • Aromatic edible flowers, to garnish
  • Citrus peel – orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit – to garnish

How to make a batch:

 1. First off, brew the teas separately. In a saucepan, heat 400ml/16oz of water to just off boiling temperature, around 80ºC/176ºF. 

2. Pour it over the dried almond flowers in a jug or teapot, and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. 

3. Strain through a coffee filter into the jug. You can save the flowers and brew them again for a relaxing caffeine-free tea. 

4. Heat 200ml/8oz of water to just off boiling temperature, again.

5. Brew the black tea in a jug or teapot, for eight minutes this time. 

6. Strain through a coffee filter into the almond tea in the jug. 

7. Let the tea mix cool, and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. 

8. Cover and chill in the fridge. It will keep for 24 hours. 

How to serve in a bowl:

1. When you’re ready to serve, fill a nice punch bowl with ice, and pour the mixture in. 

2. Top with the soda water and gently mix. 

3. Garnish with the edible flowers and some citrus peel, and ladle into dainty glasses.

Palm Milk Punch 

Milk punch is, as the name suggests, a milk-based drink with spirits (usually brandy and rum) as well as gentle spices. Our amped-up version includes palm wine, made from the sap of palm trees, and rhum agricole, a cane-sugar rum from the French Caribbean. It’s packed with spices and is great to sip before sitting down for some food.

To bottle:

  • 200ml/8oz light rum
  • 200ml/8oz palm wine
  • 100ml/4oz rhum agricole
  • 12g/2 tbsp lemon peel
  • 10g/1¼ tbsp chopped tiger nut
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 seed of grain of selim (see ‘Wine’ introduction, p114)
  • 20g/¾oz acacia honey
  • 0.5g/¼ tsp whole allspice
  • 100ml/4oz fresh, strained lemon juice
  • 200ml/8oz whole milk
  • Caster (superfine) sugar
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Funnel
  • Coffee filter
  • 2 jugs, at least 1 litre/40oz
  • Sterilised bottle, at least 1 litre/40oz

To serve:

  • Edible flowers, to garnish

How to bottle:

This method may have many steps to it, but it is fairly straightforward.

1. Put the ingredients into a saucepan with the exception of the lemon juice, milk and sugar: they come in later. 

2. Using the thermometer, heat the liquid to between 50ºC/122ºF and 55ºC/131ºF and cook for 30 minutes. You will need to be vigilant as you do not want to burn off any of the alcohol, so make sure the temperature does not rise to 60ºC/140ºF. Alternatively, cook sous vide for 30 minutes at 52.5ºC/126.5ºF. 

3. After 30 minutes strain the liquid through a coffee filter into one of the jugs and set aside. 

4. Add the lemon juice to the cooked alcohol in the jug. 

5. Heat the milk in a saucepan on a medium heat until just before boiling point. A good time to remove it from the heat is when the liquid first starts to roll. Add it immediately to the alcohol and lemon mix. 

6. You should start to see large, cloud-like curds forming straight away. 

7. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and put in the fridge for two hours.

8. After two hours set up the funnel and a coffee filter over the other jug and strain the mixture through. This step can take a long time, so we recommend setting it up in the fridge and leaving it overnight. 

9. Sometimes the first strain does not produce the crystal-clear liquid you want. If this is the case, just pass the strained liquid through the same coffee filter you used the first time, and it will be clear when you come back to it.

10. Once the straining is finished weigh the liquid and add 10% of that weight in sugar. 

11. Stir to dissolve the sugar – it shouldn’t take long. 

12. Transfer to the bottle, seal and store in the fridge. It will keep for six months.

How to serve:

1. Add ice to rocks glasses and fill them with the palm milk punch.

2. Garnish with some edible flowers, which will contrast with the opaqueness of the liquid and look stunning.

Tips: Swapping out the lemon for lime, both the peel and fresh juice, will give an extra-tropical feel to this drink. Also, you can experiment with different spices: the likes of cinnamon, star anise, cloves and nutmeg will be ideal. Remember to start with small amounts and work your way up.

Cumin Paloma 

We came up with this smoky version of the classic Paloma (tequila, grapefruit and soda) for International Tequila Week, which is in the middle of summer. When we get that rare glorious weekend of uninterrupted sun in the UK, this drink springs to mind. Make it in the morning and it’ll be perfect for afternoon sipping in the garden while your mates take care of the barbecue.

Cumin tequila: 

  • 450ml/18oz blanco tequila
  • 1.5g/1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Kilner jar or similar airtight, non-reactive container, at least
  • 500ml/20oz
  • Sterilised bottle, at least 500ml/20oz

To serve:

  • 350ml/14oz cumin tequila
  • 250ml/10oz fresh, strained pink grapefruit juice
  • 15ml/½oz tomato vinegar (alternatively, 7.5ml/¼oz
  • red wine vinegar)
  • 35ml/1½oz 2:1 sugar syrup (see p11)
  • Soda water
  • Pink grapefruit wedges, to garnish

How to make the cumin tequila:

1. Measure 350ml/14oz of the tequila and pour it into the Kilner jar. 

2. Toast the cumin seeds in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Keep an eye on them as you don’t want to burn the seeds. Once you can smell toasted cumin, they are ready. 

3. Add the cumin to the tequila in the Kilner jar. Seal the jar shut and give it a quick shake to incorporate the seeds throughout the spirit.

4. Leave to infuse for three hours. 

5. Strain the infused tequila through a sieve, transfer to the bottle. 

6. Add the remaining uninfused tequila to the bottle. 

7. Put the cap on the bottle and give a gentle shake to mix everything together. It will keep indefinitely.

How to make a batch: 

 1. Add the cumin tequila, pink grapefruit juice, tomato vinegar and sugar syrup to a carafe or jug. You can keep this in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. It will keep for 24 hours.

How to serve in a jug:

1. Fill the glasses with ice, add 100ml/4oz of the cocktail from the carafe, and top with soda water. 

2. Garnish with pretty wedges of pink grapefruit.

Tip: In the bar we char the pink grapefruit wedges for the garnish with a blowtorch. At home you can do this by holding them in tongs over a flame on the hob. This adds an extra layer of scent and flavour.

Fennel and Elderflower Fizz

This is perfect for a picnic and really easy to prep the day before. The savoury note from the fennel means this pairs well with light food. Along with the prosecco and a few fronds of fennel to garnish, it makes for a very sophisticated summer tipple.

Elderflower and fennel cordial:

  • 200g/8oz bulb fennel
  • 500ml/20oz elderflower cordial – Belvoir is really good
  • Plastic tub or bowl, at least 750ml/30oz
  • Funnel
  • Coffee filter

To serve:

  • 25ml/1oz elderflower and fennel cordial per serve
  • 100ml/4oz prosecco per serving
  • Fennel slices and fennel leaves, to garnish

How to make the elderflower and fennel cordial:

1. Slice the fennel very thinly – if you have a mandoline use that, otherwise use a sharp knife and go as fine as you can. Keep some of the sliced fennel for garnishing, plus the leaves if they’re there. 

2. Place it in the tub, pour the elderflower cordial over, cover with a lid or cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. Keep the empty cordial bottle: you will need it later. Alternatively, cook the fennel and cordial sous vide for 30 minutes at 52ºC/126ºF, then allow to cool. 

3. Strain through a coffee filter into the empty cordial bottle. It will keep in the fridge for up to one week. has had a yellow makeover on 15 August, to celebrate our Yellow Issue and pay homage to the colour of the season. Read more about the most playful shade of all here.

Images: Courtesy of Batched & Bottled by Max & Noel Venning, published by Quadrille, £18. Photography © Ola O Smit