National day cocktails

Spirits of independence

If you needed any further excuse to break out your cocktail shaker this summer, July holds several international days of celebration to raise a glass to. Helen Brownless has compiled a list of easy-to-mix cocktails to help you celebrate in spirit this summer to mark the national days of Canada, the United States and France.



A Canadian twist on the classic Bloody Mary cocktail, the Caesar was invented in the 1960s and the creator took inspiration from the dish spaghetti alle vongole, a pasta dish made with clams. Unsurprisingly then, Clamato juice is the mixer for this concoction, a Canadian delicacy that combines tomato juice and clam broth, now widely available in the UK. Although traditionally made with vodka, a Peated flavour profile SMWS whisky would go down a treat in this briny cure-all.

You’ll need

  • 50ml vodka or Peated SMWS whisky
  • 2 dashes Tabasco (or to taste for more spice)
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 150 ml Clamato juice
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • Celery salt to top
  • Stalk of celery (garnish)
  • Glassware: Highball


  1. Run a slice of lemon around the rim of your glass and dip into celery salt to coat the rim. To the glass add ice, the vodka or peated whisky, Clamato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Stir well to mix together.
  3. Garnish with a stalk of celery, lemon wheel or a gherkin to make a meal of it.

Maple Old Fashioned

There is not a lot of background to this cocktail other than what’s one of the first things you think of when you think of Canada…maple syrup!  This is a straightforward switch on a classic cocktail, simply replace the sugar usually used with maple syrup. As bourbon is often in short supply at the SMWS, our venues have found that our Juicy Oak & Vanilla flavour profile works as a wonderful substitute.

You’ll need

  • 50ml bourbon or SMWS Juicy Oak & Vanilla whisky
  • 10ml maple syrup
  • 3 dashes of orange or Angostura aromatic bitters – can use either or combine
  • Orange peel (garnish)
  • Glassware: Rocks glass


  1. Add the whisky, maple syrup and bitters to a rocks glass filled with a small amount of ice.
  2. Stir until well chilled and ice has diluted the mixture slightly. Top up the glass with ice. Garnish with an orange peel.
  3. For an extra citrus hit, squeeze the peel over the drink and run the orange peel around the rim before adding to the glass

US independence day: 4 july


The Old Pal is a no-frills cocktail that originated in the 1920s at the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, although it’s often overshadowed by its counterpart cocktail, the Boulevardier. Old Pal is the less sweet of the two and is made using rye whisky rather than bourbon. It is an easy recipe consisting of only three ingredients, all in equal measurements, making this recipe a reliable, lifelong friend.

You’ll need

  • 25ml rye whiskey
  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist (garnish)
  • Glassware: Coupe


  1. Add the rye whisky, Campari and dry vermouth into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Mai Tai

Maybe not the first concoction to come to mind when you think of the United States, but America has had a long love affair with Tiki culture.  In the early 1940s, after the Great Depression, the need for escapism fuelled Americans’ attraction to Polynesian culture and spread the Tiki trend. With fresh lime juice and sweet orgeat, this tropical cocktail could be a breakthrough introduction for those that find SMWS rum too strong. The spiciness of our Cask No. R2.17: Swaggering Bravado could add an interesting kick to this classically mellow tipple.

You’ll need

  • 50 ml white rum
  • 25 ml Cointreau liqueur
  • 25 ml fresh lime juice
  • 12.5 ml Orgeat (almond syrup)
  • 50 ml pineapple juice
  • 12.5 ml SMWS rum or dark rum
  • Pineapple wedge/maraschino cherry/drinks umbrella (garnish)
  • Glassware: Highball (or Tiki Glass if your bar is well equipped!)


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add the white rum, Cointreau, lime juice, Orgeat and pineapple juice.
  2. Shake until the liquid is well chilled. Strain into a glass filled with ice and top with the SMWS rum, it should trickle down into the glass.
  3. Your choice of garnish: pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, lime wheel or a cocktail umbrella.

Bastille day: 14 july


The d’Artagnan is aptly named after the fourth Musketeer, a native of Gascony, which is the birthplace of armagnac. This is an armagnac variation of the classic Champagne Cocktail that uses cognac. It’s arguably better suited to the summer celebration of Bastille Day, with its fresh citrus flavours from the orange juice and Grand Marnier. If you are replacing the Brut champagne with a sweeter alternative like prosecco, it may be best to skip the simple syrup.

You’ll need

  • 25 ml Armagnac
  • 12.5 ml Grand Marnier
  • 50 ml orange juice
  • 5 ml simple syrup
  • Brut champagne
  • Orange twist (garnish)
  • Glassware: Champagne flute


  1. Fill a shaker with ice and combine the armagnac, Grand Marnier, orange juice and sugar syrup and shake until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled flute and top with champagne.
  3. Garnish with orange twist


The Sidecar is a quintessential cocktail originating in World War One Paris. Traditionally made with equal parts cognac, triple sec and lemon juice served with a sugared rim to cut any bitterness, though modern-day bartenders tend to opt for the addition of simple syrup instead. This variation is perfect for summer with the sweet freshness of the elderflower liqueur contrasting with the rich cognac.

You’ll need

  • 50 ml cognac
  • 25 ml elderflower liqueur
  • 12.5 ml fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon twist (garnish)
  • Glassware: Coupe


  1. Fill a shaker with ice and add the cognac, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice.
  2. Shake until well chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist