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ON THE PLATE: A cocktail list for your summer drinking pleasure

Summers arrival calls for drinks. Not just any drinks, but incredible ones. Drinks that take time to make and savour. Drinks that come with a garnish of accomplishment.
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Summers arrival calls for drinks. Not just any drinks, but incredible ones. Drinks that take time to make and savour. Drinks that come with a garnish of accomplishment. This week, I asked five innovative local barkeeps to walk me through original recipes that were designed for the season and boy did they ever deliver...

Bar manager Trixie Blumel at Chinatowns award-winning Bao Bei calls this floral, light-green coloured invention a Number 8, simply because its the eighth drink on the cocktail menu. Its fresh, aromatic and approachable, she says, a great summer drink. I sipped one while taking respite from the hot madness of the Chinatown Night Market last Friday night, and couldnt agree more.

What You Will Need

1 oz. Osmanthus tea-infused gin*

oz. fresh lemon juice

oz. Momokawa Pearl unfiltered sake

oz. lemongrass syrup

dash of celery bitters

*Osmanthus tea is a type of dried yellow flower that is prized for its delicate floral and apricot scent. It can be found in any of the herbal stores around Chinatown.

How To Make It

To make infused gin, add 1 tablespoon per cup of gin and let sit for two hours or until it achieves the colour of apple juice. For lemongrass syrup, add 1 part water and 1 part sugar to a pan and heat until mixture starts to boil. Reduce heat. For each cup of syrup use 1 full stalk of coarsely cut lemongrass. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove, let cool and strain. Add all ingredients to shaker, shake and strain over rocks in a snifter.

If ever there was a drink to conjure visions of Hemingways To Have And Have Not (especially the film adaptation starring Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart), this is it. According to Sweetapple, it was inspired to represent a Caribbean summer storm, when the humid, warm weather still requires an ice cold drink.

What You Will Need

1 oz. Havana Club Anjeo

oz. Creme de Violette

oz. cloudy apple juice

oz. elderflower syrup

1 bar spoon of falernum syrup

How To Make It

Combine the rum, apple juice, elderflower and falernum syrups into a mixing glass. Top with ice and shake. Double strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Layer the

oz. of Creme de Violette over the top. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Crosstowns Wild Rice is renowned for putting twists on traditions, and they dont stop with the food menu. The Buddha Caesar is a case in point. Says Wong, Its a nice, refreshing twist on a classic cocktail and it works with a barbecue in the backyard as well as with brunch.

What You Will Need

Fresh horseradish root small baton about 1 cm x 2 cm

26 oz. bottle of vodka

2 slices (full rounds) of lemon

tsp sambal oelek (available in Asian groceries)

6 fresh cilantro leaves

dash of dark soy sauce

Clamato juice

1 pimento-stuffed green olive

How To Make It

This one requires a weeks lead time. Prior to making the cocktail, drop the horseradish into the bottle of vodka and let it infuse. After a week, remove the piece of horseradish. In a Collins glass, muddle 1 slice of lemon with sambal oelek and cilantro leaves. Fill glass with ice. Pour in 1 oz. of infused vodka. Add a dash of soy sauce. Top with Clamato juice. Garnish with remaining lemon slice and olive.



West's David Wolowidnyk mixes up a signature summer concoction.

Wolowidnyk is something of a legend for his encyclopedic knowledge of all things booze related. His drink is a complicated one, the inspiration for which came during a recent visit to Japan, where he saw plum wine used in many drinks. The name Kakkoii means cool, he says, adding how it could describe the overall disposition of the people he met on his trip.

What You Will Need

1 oz. GVine Floraison Gin

oz. Ume Plum Wine

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

oz. cinnamon syrup

lemon zest

3 cinnamon sticks

How To Make It

Boil one litre of water with two cinnamon sticks and reduce to 500 ml. Remove sticks, add one litre of granulated sugar and simmer until dissolved. Remove from heat to cool. Add oz. of resulting syrup to other ingredients in shaker. Shake and strain over ice into an rocks glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick and lemon zest.

This drink is inspired by the Paloma, a simple Mexican highball. Layton says it needs to be served ice cold and that the salt on the rim really is key in making this citrusy drink refreshing.

What You Will Need

1 oz. watermelon infused tequila

1/3 oz. Aperol

juice of 1 lime

sparkling grapefruit soda

salt rim to taste

How To Make It

Slice up small watermelon into pieces. Fill an air- tight container with a bottle of blanco tequila (he uses El Jimador). Muddle watermelon in container. Let infuse for 12-24 hours. Press through cheesecloth and store in fridge. Half-rim a Collins glass with salt. Add all ingredients except sparkling grapefruit (including squeezed lime, cut in two halves). Fill glass with ice. Top with sparkling grapefruit soda. Garnish with watermelon.