Refreshing drinks to sip on this summer. Picture: Patrick King
Finding cool solace from summer’s consuming heat is a favourite South African pastime.

Someone who knows how to put summer in a glass is AJ Snetler, aka "The Tattooed Bartender". 

Snetler shares his tips for creating knockout summer cocktails at home and seeking out the trendiest drinks when you're out and about.

On trend

Cocktails that are low in alcohol and incorporate fresh flavours are really popular right now, according to Snetler.

"We are seeing a lot of people ordering either a classic Mojito or an Aperol Spritz.  But it's not just cocktails, a lot of people are (also) enjoying cold, crisp white wine or bubbles."

Think fresh

This summer, go green when it comes to ingredients. 

Think about incorporating mint, basil and celery into your cocktails. 

Citrus is also really great and can be used in many ways, so get your hands on fresh fruits like naartjies , oranges and limes.

Seasonal spirits

In spring and summer, the best spirits to use in cocktails are fresh flavoured and best served cold. 

Think along the lines of Aperol, gin, and sparkling wine. 

Tequila and cachaça are also two of Snetler’s personal favourites for the warmer seasons.

When the weather turns colder, you'll want to serve darker, heavier, more spirit-forward cocktails.

Summer is all about chilled days spent outdoors, sipping on refreshing cocktails. Picture: Gavin Withers
Twisted classics

Snetler advises taking classics and giving them a unique twist for any occasion. 

Shake up your brunch beverage, for example, by serving a Red Snapper instead of a Bloody Mary

Essentially, you simply replace vodka with gin to give the classic a whole new dimension. 

To take it a step further, Snetler recommends using Gin Mare which is an attempt to distil and bottle the flavour of the Mediterranean.

So, you'll taste basil, thyme, rosemary and olive from the spirit alone ‒ far above and beyond the usual celery stick.

Another good classic cocktail for summer is a Tequila Sunrise, but why not try it with grapefruit and soda for a lighter, refreshing twist? 

Pair this with some delish Tapas and you have the perfect summer sundowner session!

Day to night

As a welcome drink, consider something light and easy to refresh your guests when they arrive. 

Again, an Aperol Spritz is very light, easy to make, and low in alcohol, so it's great to start with.

Around the dinner table, try a Mint Julep ‒ a short drink perfect for warm evenings. 

People generally prefer lighter spirits like gin in summer, but the fact that it is made with bourbon means it is a bit heavier to serve with food at the table while light and refreshing enough for the warmer weather.

Diet drinks

Anything made with vermouth is lower in alcohol and calories. 

One trend among the diet-conscious set is the reverse martini, which uses a double measure of vermouth and a single gin to change the dynamic of the drink.