Hands up if you’ll be spending this summer making up for lost time. Yeah, that’s pretty much everyone. One way to soak up every second? Be your own bartender. Forget the basic mixed drink you mastered in college; DIY mixology means getting creative, exploring bold spirits and putting a fresh twist on traditional cocktails. It’s a surefire way to jumpstart the good vibes, whether you’re staying in for a solo dance party or lying poolside with pals.

To boost your summer-season bartending skills, start by stocking your bar with single malt. Whisky might be cemented in your mind as a cold-weather nightcap, but when it comes to The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve—an ideal starter single malt—this golden-hued spirit is as versatile (read “summer-ready”) as it is alluring. It matures in traditional oak casks, and its zesty orange and sweet pear notes are matched by a delectably smooth and creamy mouthfeel. “Founder’s Reserve is built to stand up to and complement many different flavour combinations, resulting in a fun, dynamic mixology experience,” says Claire Freel, The Glenlivet’s portfolio consultant, resident mixologist and all-around whisky guru.

Another way to level up your cocktail-making competence? Get creative with your mixes. At the height of summer, when high-noon temps reach towering heights, there’s nothing more refreshing than perfectly steeped iced tea. “Tea concentrates bring a punch of flavour and complexity to single malt cocktails,” says Freel. “Not to mention they’re easy to make and have a long shelf life in your home bar.”

Ready to get shaking? Try the Sunset Colada, an impressive crowd-pleaser of a  cocktail to add to your summertime bartending lineup. Think of it as a more nuanced (and seriously simple to make) take on the classic beach bevvy. Founder’s Reserve and its sophisticated sweetness are at the heart of this tropical-fruit-spiked drink. As it collides with Coco Colada tea blend—a DAVIDsTEA staple made with real pieces of pineapple, roasted coconut and mango—its zingy palate is amplified to new levels. “The lively quality of the pineapple and hibiscus in Coco Colada brightens up the drink, resulting in a fun, colourful spin,” says Nadia De La Vega, director of tea sustainability and content at DAVIDsTEA. Whether it’s a Coco Colada or the boldly thirst-quenching Mango Punch, these The Glenlivet-plus-tea cocktails play well with daytime dock hangs or late-night pizza-making—or both. This is the summer of making every moment count, after all.

RECIPE: Sunset Colada

Tea concentrate
2 Perfect Spoons of Coco Colada
1 cup hot water (95°C / 200°F)
1½ teaspoons sugar

1½ oz The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve
3 oz Coco Colada concentrate
2 dashes cherry bitters
Amarena cherries to garnish
Pineapple leaf (optional)

1. In a DAVIDsTEA steeper, steep the Coco Colada in hot water for 5 minutes.
2. Pour into a measuring cup, dissolve ½ teaspoon of sugar in it and allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 3 oz of the tea concentrate and The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
4. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice, add 2 dashes of cherry bitters and garnish with the cherries and pineapple leaf.

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