Summer in a glass…

Warm? Thirsty? Skint? Don’t worry, Hannah Mclaren has got you covered. Summer is the perfect time to not only work on your tan, but your mixology skills too.

Be it cocktails, beers, sodas or Ribena, this weather is made for sipping on something iced. I’ve compiled a list of summer-time slurps that should quench your thirst, but feel free to add a splash of spirit to the mix if you really want to chill out. Here’s how to make your favourite summery drinks at home for cheap.


Feel young again and treat yourself to some cream soda before dinner. Ice-cream floats are still relevant and delicious.

Revisit this vanilla gorged dream this Summer, and maybe even play hide and seek too – for old time’s sake!

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (depending on your own taste)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or vanilla ice-cream (optional)
2 litres sparkling water

(Serves jug-full)

1) Add sugar to water in medium sized saucepan over medium heat until mixed

2) Transfer mixture to bowl and swirl gently (DO NOT STIR)

3) Boil mixture until clear (3-5 minutes) and remove from heat

4) Add vanilla extract, 1 to 2 tablespoons and stir

5) Leave to cool at room temperature and transfer to airtight container for refrigeration

6) Serve: add all of the syrup into 2 litres of sparkling water and add whipped cream/ ice cream if desired for extra sweetness


ginger beer

There are fewer beverages more refreshing than good old ginger beer – chilled. Spice up your Spring/Summer with this home-made ginger beer recipe.

Whether you’re having a garden party or planning a deckchair-bound afternoon with your fave book, this tasty drink will keep your body hydrated and your sweet tooth satisfied.

140g of fresh ginger
2-3 lemons
4 tablespoons of muscovado sugar
1 litre soda/sparkling water
Fresh mint

Method (serves a jug-full)

1) Grate the ginger into a bowl and sprinkle with muscovado sugar

2) Remove the skin from 2 out of the 3 lemons and add to the bowl

3) Press the mixture with a pestle or rolling pin for around 10 seconds to mix the flavours

4) Squeeze all 3 lemons into the bowl

5) Pour in soda/sparkling water

6) Taste test: if the lemons are too sour, add sugar; if too sweet, add lemon juice

7) Sieve the mixture: discard of the residue and save the filtered juice

8) Serve: in a large jug with lots of ice and some sprigs of mint