Do you have plans to gather with friends and family for the weekend? Want some easy suggestions for cocktails that taste great but come together (almost) as quickly as pouring a glass of wine?

Look no further. Easy is the byword for these delicious concoctions, and you sacrifice no taste or sophistication for ease of preparation.


Mott's Cucumber Basil

As we noted on National Cocktail Day, cocktail trends for 2022 include more fruits, vegetables and herbs, and I’m wildly impressed by this herbaceous twist on the brunch staple Caesar. The new Mott’s Clamato Reserve – Cucumber Basil flavour gives your brunch cocktail all of the body of a traditional Caesar, but it has a softer flavour profile. If you’d like to steer away from the bite and spiciness of its traditional format, this Garden Caesar is the way to go.

A traditional Caesar calls for vodka, but the botanicals in a London Dry gin will work wonderfully in this drink, too. My fave non-alcoholic gin, Seedlip Garden, is also perfect in this drink as it plays up the green of the basil and cucumber.

1 1/2 oz gin or vodka or Seedlip Non-alcoholic spirit Garden

4 oz Mott’s Clamato Reserve Cucumber Basil

yellow tomato and basil leaves for garnish

Combine gin or vodka and Mott’s in a collins glass. Stir. Fill with ice and garnish with a skewer of tomatoes and a basil leaf.

Mott’s Clamato Reserve Cucumber Basil is available at select retailers across Canada for $5.99.

Afternoon Cocktails

Laneway Distillers, whose spirits we featured in farmer’s market cocktails, have partnered with Slurp fresh juices to create some standout ready-to-serve cocktails. With little or no added sugar, these mixes allow you to customize your sweetness, and because they’re freshly pressed, you get the brightness and flavour punch of a freshly prepared juice.

Laneway Distillers is available at the LCBO and Slurp is available online. (Check out Libby’s Cinco de Mayo cocktails made with Slurp too!)

For a lunch or a late afternoon gathering, you probably want to stay light and long, and this recipe for a lengthened daisy is the perfect daytime drink. I made mine with the strawberry jam, and it added the perfect hit of sweetness.

Rhubarb Sparkler

This tart and fresh mix with a bold hit of cardamom comes alive with some vivacious bubbles and a clean, crisp vodka. And just look at it! It’s gorgeous! (See header image.)

Add to a shaker with ice:

2 oz (50 mL) Laneway No.12 Vodka

3 oz (75 mL) Slurp Rhubarb Cardamom mix

optional: 1 tsp strawberry jam

sparkling water

Shake vigorously for one minute. Strain into a highball glass over ice and top with sparkling water. Optionally, garnish with a mix of fresh sliced fruit and herbs for a vibrant presentation: any mix of lime, lemon, shaved rhubarb, strawberry and mint leaves. The optional jam will make for a sweeter, smoother cocktail.

Grapefruit Collins

Laneway Distillers & Slurp Grapefruit Collins

A frozen twist on a Collins, with tart grapefruit, herb notes and a bright, citrus-forward gin – perfect for a hot, lazy afternoon. (Preferably while others prepare dinner??)

Add to a blender:

• 2 oz (50 mL) Laneway No.33 Gin

• 2 ½ oz (63 mL) Slurp Grapefruit & Mint Mix

• 1 cup ice

Blend just until mix becomes a fine slush then pour into a cocktail coupe or lowball glass. Optionally, garnish with fresh mint and a slice of lime, lemon or grapefruit. This cocktail is beautifully tart, but if you like things a little sweeter, rim your glass with coarse sugar or add a teaspoon of honey or agave to the mix.

Blackberry Bramble

Laneway Distillers & Slurp Blackberry Bramble

Ripe, luscious blackberry and a bright citrus gin combine to make for a sensational classic bramble cocktail.

Add to a shaker with ice:

2 oz (50 mL) Laneway No.11 Gin

3 oz (50 mL) Slurp Blackberry mix

sparkling water or tonic water

Shake vigorously for one minute then strain into a double old-fashioned or coupe glass. Add ice and top with sparkling water. Optionally, garnish with fresh blackberries and a twist of citrus. The blackberry and gin mix also makes for a beautiful twist on a G&T – just add 150 mL of Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water instead of sparkling water.

Evening Cocktail Hour

For a bolder, more concentrated cocktail as you move towards evening, try out this twist on a whisky sour.


Laneway Distillers & Slurp Ever Maple Sour

This cocktail is bursting with flavour and perfect for sipping in the evening. The simple but potent mix of lemon and maple is elevated with fragrant forest aromatics.

Add to a shaker with lots of ice:

• 2 oz (50mL) Laneway Ever Gin Liqueur

• 2 oz (50mL) Slurp Maple Sour Mix

Shake vigourously for 30 seconds then strain into a lowball glass or cocktail coupe over ice. Garnish with a twist of lemon or dehydrated lemon slice. If you like your cocktails with a kick, rim your glass with a hot pepper and salt mix – we prefer Espelette pepper with Maldon salt for just the right amount of heat.

Whichever you choose, cheers to you and yours and to the ease of tasty entertaining!