As summer approaches and the Pimms adverts start to frequent our TV screens, thoughts inevitably turn to the party season and outdoor dining.
Food is often the main star of the show but do any of us pay much attention to the drinks we serve?
With so many ready-made cocktails on the market, it has become easy to prepare a delicious pina colada or mojito and if you add a few finishing touches of fresh fruit and crushed ice, your guests will be none the wiser.
Supermarkets even have pouches of fruit puree especially designed to add to wine for that extra flourish. So which are the bartenders dream and which ones make a poor replica of the original?
Smirnoff have introduced a brand new cocktails range that you can serve in three different flavours.A Vodka Mojito which includes vodka, lime and mint, the Grand Cosmopolitan, triple sec liquor with a dash of cranberry and the Pomegranate Martini, vodka with lemon liqueur. Simply add ice, mint leaves or a slice of lime or lemon and call them your own.
On the market right now from Bacardi are the Bacardi Mojito and the Bacardi Cuba Libre. Retailing at £3.75 each, the Mojito is made with Bacardi Superior rum with mint, lime and soda and the Cuba Libre is made with Bacardi Gold rum with lime and cola.
First introduced in Brighton, they are now available nationwide. Serve either with a wedge of lime in the bottle or in a branded glass with ice and a wedge.
For those of you that already have a spirit like tequila at home but are not sure how to make up a batch up of margeritas, help is at hand.
Jose Cuervo has concocted a special margarita mix that combines the flavour of Triple sec and Mexican Lemons. By adding tequila and crushed ice, take yourself straight back to that holiday in Mexico. Made in England apparently. Word is however it is cheaper and tastes much nicer to make these from scratch.
To give your cocktails a final flourish and add zest and fruity zeal to sparkling wines, most supermarkets and off licenses now sell pureed fruit in pouches or bottles. The best I could find were on thedrinkshop.com and included Finest Call, a bottled puree available in flavours including banana, mango, raspberry and strawberry.
Funkin fruit pouches which come in blueberry, kiwi, lychee and green apple flavours. Lastly Monin, a fruit syrup used to enhance the strength of your cocktails. Flavours include red berries and peach.
One final note about Pimms, which is possibly the most well-known cocktail drink. Some people add spirits to Pimms and believe you need more than just the Pimms bottle to make the cocktail.
Pimms is already blended in the bottle as a ready-made cocktail and the only thing you need to add is lemonade and fruit, in fact, to make an authentic Pimms you must include cucumber and mint when you are making it up.
To achieve the correct taste of Pimms the company recommend you only add around two or three parts of lemonade or this will weaken the taste.
Don’t forget if you are attending a summer party this year to drink responsibly and arrange a designated driver.