8 Summer Cocktails That You Only Need 3 Ingredients To Make

For a long time in my teens, making cocktails consisted of mixing together the dregs stolen from my parents’ liquor cupboard; more recently, it involved combining things from my own cupboard and hoping for the best. However, if "beach-ready hair" and dinners I just "threw together" have taught me anything, it's that happy accidents take planning and preparation. Now, I mix to impress.
But just because you're after something more grown up than a Peach Schnapps and lemonade doesn't mean it has to be complicated. Great cocktails are made of just a few great ingredients, perfectly matched. We've curated the very best cocktail recipes that need just three ingredients and pack a delicious punch.
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Try the easy cocktail recipes ahead with the tips above and keep your friends and family refreshed and impressed all summer (ps- ice doesn't count as an ingredient!)
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
Summer Solstice Spritz

Perfect for the week before payday, this rosé spritz is easy on the ingredient list and super-quick to whip up.

Ingredients
125ml dry rosé wine
50ml sparkling water or soda
3 strawberries

Optional
Sprig of mint
Slice of lemon

Method
Muddle the strawberries at the bottom of a large wine glass and fill with ice. Add the wine and top with soda. Garnish with the mint and lemon if you're using them.

Serves 1.
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
Negroni Spagliato

Spagliato literally means 'mistaken' in Italian, and this cocktail is rumoured to have come about when a bartender mistook sparkling wine for gin when making a Negroni. Thus was born the love-child of Negroni and Aperol Spritz – rejoice!

Ingredients
25ml Campari
25ml red vermouth
25ml sparkling wine, such as prosecco
Ice

Optional
Slice of orange

Method
Stir together the Campari and vermouth in a short glass. Top with ice and the sparkling wine, followed by a chunky slice of orange, if you're using it.

Serves 1.
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
The New Piña Colada

We can't help but reminisce about all-inclusive family holidays on the Costa del Sol, clutching a sickly sweet Piña Colada and feeling like the queen of sophistication. Try this lighter, more modern version made with coconut water or milk alternative (from a carton, not a tin).

Ingredients
25 ml white rum
25ml coconut water or milk
50ml pineapple juice

Optional
Slice of pineapple
Slice of lime

Method
Fill a tall glass with ice and pour over the rum, coconut water or milk and pineapple juice then gently stir. Top with a slice of pineapple and lime if you're including them.

Serves 1.
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
Grapefruit Salty Dog

The bitter yet fresh taste of ruby grapefruit is ideal for summer cocktails, and this salty number is our alternative to the classic margarita. If you can't get crushed ice, cubed is fine.

Ingredients
100ml pink grapefruit juice
25ml vodka
2 slices of ruby grapefruit
Crushed ice

Method
Circle the rim of a short glass with grapefruit, dip in salt and fill the glass with crushed ice. Separately, shake the vodka and pink grapefruit with ice and strain into the prepared glass, garnishing with a slice of grapefruit.

Serves 1.
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
Camomile Spritz

I don’t want this to sound like an awful gendered cocktail found on hammy menus in Soho. So don’t feel you have to drink it on a rocking bench wearing white broderie anglaise with your homegirls but that is recommended. Dissolve sugar into any leftover camomile mixture and use as you would a cordial.

Ingredients
25ml camomile distillate (to make, soak 3 tbsp camomile flowers or 3 camomile teabags in 250ml boiling water for 10 mins, adding 1 tbsp of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice)
25ml St Germain
125ml prosecco

Optional
Mint leaves

Method
Chill a coupe or champagne glass, pour in the prosecco. Add the camomile distillate and St Germain liqueur. Garnish with mint leaves if you're using them.

Serves 1.
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
Kyoto Iced Tea

A spiked Japanese version of a peach iced tea. Plum wine is available in most Asian supermarkets. Otherwise Sipsmith’s Sloe Gin is the perfect alternative. Keep the oolong leaves after you’ve used them as the second brew is even smoother.

Ingredients
700ml oolong tea
400ml plum wine or sloe gin
Borage flowers or, if you can't get these, sliced cucumber with a twist of black pepper has a similar taste.

Method
Brew a strong jug of oolong tea and leave to cool. Fill a pitcher with ice and add the sloe gin or plum wine. Add the chilled oolong tea and stir. Garnish by sprinkling over the borage flowers or peppery cucumber.

Serves 4.
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
Side Chick

A sidecar, with the optional addition of thyme. If you’re lucky enough to live near a fruit and veg market, look for the knobbly, green-skinned Jamaican oranges, which make it even more aromatic.

Ingredients
50ml cognac
25ml Triple Sec
Juice of half a lemon and its rind

Optional
3 sprigs of thyme

Method
Muddle the lemon juice, rind and, if you're using it, thyme. Add to a cocktail shaker full of ice, cognac and Triple Sec. Shake until the shaker is too cold to handle. Strain into a frozen martini or champagne flute.

Serves 1.
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Photographed by Roxana Azar.
Spanish Gin and Tonic

The best gin and tonics are served Spanish-style. Many bars in Spain, where the market for gin is actually larger than the UK, have a house special, featuring different spices to bring out selected notes in selected gins. I’ve gone with a classic choice of juniper and grapefruit, which bring out gin’s green notes. Experiment however you like: cinnamon, star anise, coriander seed and liquorice root are also good places to start.

Ingredients
50ml dry gin
150ml Fever Tree tonic
1 tsp juniper berries

Optional
Slice of grapefruit

Method
Fill ice cubes to the top of a chilled glass. Add the gin, juniper berries and stir. Top with 150ml of tonic or to taste. If you fancy giving it a fruity twist, gently rub the rim of the glass with the grapefruit and drop the slice in to garnish.

Serves 1.

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