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In the kitchen:

cocktails and mocktails for garden parties

Every party is better when there's a cocktail involved, and this is especially true at two particular events: the garden party and Christmas. So this summer, we've been experimenting with home-grown garden herbs to create two delicious (and more importantly, easy) pitcher tipples destined for summer soirées. One alcoholic, the other virgin, everyone can be served at our venue, even the smallest of guests.

The virgin one

Rosemary lemonade

What you’ll need

  • 1.5l water

  • 240ml lemon juice (fresh, not concentrate)

  • 120ml agave nectar

  • Two sprigs of rosemary (and a few more for serving)

  • Pinch of salt

And what to do

1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.

2. Once bubbling, remove it from the heat and drop in the rosemary and a pinch of salt (trust us, the best home-made lemonade has a sprinkling of salt).

3. Cover and steep for 30 minutes so the water takes on the herby flavour.

4. Next, strain into your jug and cool to room temperature.

5. Stir in the lemon juice, nectar and another 480ml of cold water directly into the pitcher. Take a teaspoon to taste it and add more lemon or nectar depending on your taste.

6. Store it in the fridge until your guests arrive and serve with iced slices of lemon, chunky ice and a spring of rosemary.

The alcoholic one

Strawberry-basil margaritas

What you’ll need

  • 355ml lime juice (ideally fresh, if not a good quality cordial)

  • 890ml water

  • 530ml tequila

  • 10 large strawberries

  • Eight basil leaves

And what to do

1. Empty the lime juice into your jug and add both the water and tequila.

2. Cut the leafy part out of each strawberry and slice the rest lengthways. Give them a little wash and then add those to the jug too.

3. Scrunch the basil leaves up (your fingertips will do) to help release the basil flavour into the liquid. Then tumble those into the pitcher and stir.

4. Pop it into the fridge for at least four hours and pour onto ice when serving.

Both recipes are to be served in a large jug and will quench six-eight people's thirst. They can be made on the night or the night before and left to chill in the fridge.

Summer party prep

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