I take a stout tumbler, three ice cubes and then a dash of concentration.

Equal parts of Campari, Martini Rosso and gin trickle into the glass over ice, followed by a twist of orange zest. A brief swirl of the perfumed contents, then I engage in some peaceful, reflective sipping. The aromatic bitterness of a Negroni makes it my favourite cocktail. Best of all, it is simple enough to concoct at home; even an amateur like myself can be mistaken for the suave gentleman I wish I were. Any cocktail calling for muddling, pounding, shaking or persistent prolonged mixing, I happily leave to a real barman.

Cocktails are more than just flavour of the month. Their glamorous, marvellous come-back is big business. I, for one, am a complete convert. Is it the summer sunshine which makes the tinkle of ice cubes in a long drink even more compelling? Possibly, but one thing is for sure: I have carried over my enthusiasm from the bar into the kitchen. Cocktails make great ideas for sorbets

For a start, a cocktail is always chilled and hence refreshing. A sorbet can perform the same palate-cleaning job, post-meal, as a cocktail does beforehand. The mojito flavours of rum and mint, or the classic partnership of Campari and orange, or a breezy gin, pink grapefruit and mint all translate perfectly to the smooth iciness of sorbet. For a grown-up dessert on a baking summer's day, what could be more elegant than a sorbet selection?

Mojito sorbet

Recipes serve four

300 g caster sugar

75g soft brown sugar

500 ml water

1 tbsp finely grated lime zest

250 ml freshly squeezed and strained lime juice (about 12-15 limes)

Fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, about 8-10 depending on size

Several fingers of white rum


1. Place sugar and water in a saucepan with a few pinches of lime zest over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then let the syrup come up almost to the boil. Turn off heat at once and leave the syrup to cool completely.

2. Once cool, stir in the juice and remaining zest and chill the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight, before pouring into an ice cream machine - follow your specific model's instructions. Once it begins to set, add the chopped mint.

3. If you don't have an ice cream machine, pour the lime syrup into a Tupperware box and place in the freezer, stirring vigorously every half-hour or so, to prevent ice crystals forming. It will take around four hours to set. Take the sorbet out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving, scoop into glasses and pour over a generous glug of white rum.

Campari, basil and orange sorbet

200g granulated sugar

Finely grated zest of 1 blood orange (or normal orange)

535ml blood orange juice (or normal orange juice)

Juice of ½ lemon

10 large basil leaves

4 tbsp Campari


1. Measure 200ml water into a saucepan then add the sugar. Warm gently so the sugar dissolves then bring almost to the boil. Add the juices, basil leaves and zest, leave over the heat for a minute then remove from the heat, add the Campari then leave to cool completely

2. Once cooled, strain through a fine sieve then transfer to an ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn then store in a suitable container in the freezer, removing the container about five to 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften very slightly. As with the previous recipe, if you do not have an ice cream maker, simply transfer to a tub and place in the freezer, beating the mix every half-hour to prevent ice crystals from forming until you arrive at a frozen, smooth sorbet mixture. Serve in elegant Martini-style glasses with a sprig of basil to decorate. Lovely with slices of chilled oranges served alongside.

Pink grapefruit, mint and gin sorbet

2 pink grapefruits

350ml water

230g caster sugar

8 mint leaves

100ml gin


1. Combine water and sugar and warm gently to dissolve the sugar then bring quickly to the boil and remove from the heat at once. After about 10 minutes add the mint then leave to cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, peel and segment the grapefruit, working over a small tub to catch any juice, allowing the segments to drop into the tub as you go. Once you have segmented the fruit, squeeze the core hard to extract remaining juice.

3. Add all the fruit and juice to the cold syrup. Transfer to a food processor, add the gin, and blitz to a puree. Press firmly through a fine sieve then freeze, as in the previous recipes, either in a machine or by hand, beating the mix every few hours as it sets in the freezer. Resist the temptation to add more gin: the alcohol will not freeze ...

Geoffrey Smeddle is the chef patron of The Peat Inn, by St Andrew's, Fife, KY15 5LH 01334 840206 www.thepeatinn.co.uk