Whisky, whiskey – whichever way you spell it (depending on where it’s from), it kind of conjures the same image, right? Stuffy rooms, lots of wood, probably one of those Chesterfield sofas that looks really nice in the dark but get a proper light on it and you notice something sticky.

Or, if you’re me, it also conjures up images of drinking it at a farm (any farm will do), just as the sun goes down. There’s a bonfire nearby. People are wearing Akubras. You feel so bloody Aussie.

You don’t think of it as a summer drink though, right? Summer is beer and cider and frozé all day (help us all). Whiskey is objectively not a summer drink, in part because the Scots drink it and they only have like three days of summer there.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.

Recently I joined in a Zoom whisky tasting with Diageo, because it’s 2020 and our entire lives are conducted by Zoom now. Tastings are fine for the schmancy fancy, but I’m not fancy. My tasting notes consist of “yum” and “yuk”. My palette is as sophisticated as hyperactive toddler.

But this Zoom event was a bit different. They were teaching us how to turn The Singleton, a 12-year-old single malt, into a summer drink. Mates, I was bloody hooked.

Here it is: 1/3 whisky, 1/3 pear and apple juice, and 1/3 Appletiser (a sparkling Apple juice). Lots of ice. If you have mint on hand, chuck some mint in. (With your mint, smack it in your hands first – it releases the flavour better. This is the only lasting knowledge I have from working in a pub for 18 months.)

That’s it. That’s the cocktail.

It’s got that deep flavour of whisky, a bit of sweetness from the juice, and bubbles from the Appletiser. Two days after learning about this cocktail, I hauled ass to a friend’s birthday lunch and made them for everyone, like some kind of psycho who’s joined a cult and must now spread the word. I think my friends were grateful.

This particular cocktail has been dubbed ‘The Orchard’, is 1.6 standard drinks, and uses 50ml of each component. However, as Diageo’s global Scotch whisky ambassador Ervin Trykowski recommends, you can use the 50-50-50 measurements for any cocktail you like. Just go one third of The Singleton, one third of a still mixer, and one third of a sparkling mixer.

“It’s so easy to open up a creative world of flavour, by adding cold brew and cola, or trying our signature fruity ‘Orchard’ serve,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you have in the fridge, you can try it with anything – just stick to the easy to remember formula – 50, 50, 50.”

And there’s your summer drink sorted. You’re welcome.

Image: Pedestrian