5 Classic Cocktail Recipes With a Twist

Simon's Twist: The Watermelon & Mint Martini

Summer’s here, and the living should definitely be easy, especially when it comes to cocktail recipes.

So, in the quest for throwing an easy, breezy summer fete, we don’t want to just rest on our beer and wine laurels. Why not add a twist to a classic pina colada or lemonade? And, with that, why not add a global spin to your drink menu? With origins from Ireland to Puerto Rico, we’ve got your international cocktail recipes covered.

Consider this your one-on-one cocktail session with Simon Hooper, Diageo Canada’s Reserve Brand Ambassador, who we’ve photographed in action on some of these pages – and co-owner of the award-winning cocktail bar, Rush Lane & Co., in Toronto’s Queen Street West neighbourhood – who gave us his recipes and tips for making the most of sunny weather get-togethers.

His big tip: always put the least expensive ingredient, say lime juice or ginger beer – rather than cognac, into your shaker first, in case you mess up. Simon also gave us a tip on the easiest way to make simple syrup. (Instagram video @simondangr)

And don’t forget to take it easy, and enjoy responsibly, arrange for designated drivers and taxis, or have a good old-fashioned sleepover! Camping out is, after all, a summer thing.

Scroll through for Simon’s recipes. Cheers!


Simon’s choice: Baileys Original Irish Cream

Origin: Ireland

The Classic: Baileys on ice

Simon’s Twist: The Baileys Shiver

1.5 oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream

2 to 5 large ice cubes

Handful of raspberries

Drop 2 to 5 ice cubes into blender. Add Baileys. Blend until completely smooth. Serve in a tall glass. Add raspberries on top.


Plus, Simon gave us a sneak sip of the new Baileys Almande that’s appropriate for the lactose intolerant.

Baileys Almande Refresher

3 oz. Baileys Almande

3 oz. Coconut water


Pour Baileys Almande and Coconut water over ice.



Simon’s choice: Ketel One Vodka

Origin: Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, the Netherlands

The Classic: The Vodka Martini

Simon’s Twist: The Watermelon & Mint Martini

1.25 oz. Ketel One Vodka

2 oz. watermelon juice

0.25 oz. lime(s), plus a lime sliced into wheel shapes.

3 fresh mint leaves

0.25 oz. pure cane syrup

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into a well-chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel or fresh watermelon cubes.



Simon’s Choice: Captain Morgan Pineapple Flavoured Rum

Origin: Puerto Rico

The Classic: any fruity rum punch drink

Simon’s twist: The Captain’s Breeze

1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Pineapple Flavoured Rum

1 oz. Cranberry Juice

1 oz Pineapple juice

In a tall glass filled with ice, add rum and 1 oz. pineapple juice. Top with 1 oz. cranberry juice.


Simon’s Choice: Smirnoff Vodka

Origin: Russia (Smirnoff brand began with a vodka distillery founded in Moscow)

The classic: Vodka soda

Simon’s Twist: The Blueberry Lemonade

0.75 oz. Smirnoff Citrus Flavoured Vodka

0.25 oz. Grand Marnier Liqueur

0.5 oz. Smirnoff Blueberry Flavoured Vodka

Lemon-lime soda

Shake, pout into a tall glass, top with lemon-lime soda and stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


Simon’s Choice: Cîroc Vodka

Origin: France (Mauzac grapes, of which the spirit is distilled, are grown in the Gaillac region of France)

The classic: Pina Colada

Simon’s Twist: The Cîroc Colada

1.5 oz. Cîroc Pineapple Vodka

1 oz. coconut water

0.5 oz. lime juice

0.5 oz. simple syrup

a splash or two of club soda

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake well. Strain into an ice-filled, highball glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.