Free fruity tonic on table photo, public domain beverage CC0 image.

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Cocktails have never appealed to me. The short ones are too short and I finish mine in seconds rather than minutes, which can be rather embarrassing.

I once had superb margaritas made by a Mexican friend that were so good I downed four before she called time and said lunch was ready. But for that, I would have had five…or six. They really were excellent. But so short.

Long cocktails do not grab me at all. I’ve never actually drank one but I’ve seen many and I’ve tasted a few — the last time being about 10 days ago.

I abhor their juvenile marker pen colours and I immensely dislike the perfumes and flavours. Make mine a pint of lager in a long stylish glass of Czechoslovakian make — or a simple gin (Gordon’s) and tonic (Schweppes) with thin slices of lemon, orange and lime…which I last had 10 days ago.

Much as I love the island (especially Palma) during a Mallorcan heatwave I’d rather be elsewhere, such as the northernmost tip of Finland, thus having Siberia within walking distance in case Finland also has a heatwave.

A Finish heatwave is a distinct possibility. Last week the temperature in Copenhagen was at 42C, a high most Danes have never experienced in their own country.

I have never known Mallorcan heatwaves to start so early — mid-May to be exact. I’ve been in summer mode since then, meaning I eat food at room temperature and always have ice cold cafés con leche with my breakfast toast and bitter orange marmalade. I also have ultra cold drinks on hand at all times.

Cold drinks, however, are not the best way to keep cool during hot weather. It’s a scientific fact that ice-cold beers, soft drinks and ice cream do not lower our body temperature for very long.

As soon as we down something cold, the body’s inner temperature drops. The brain, however, is programmed to keep body heat steady at all times, and as soon as cold spreads throughout the inner system, the brain takes measurers to raise the temperature again.

So although we get a nice sensation of coolness as we eat that ice cream or sip an ice-cold drink, the feeling doesn’t last for very long: we are soon feeling as hot as ever.

But the initial cold fix is so pleasant we have more cooling drinks or ice cream in a constant (and unsuccessful) attempt to keep the heat at bay.

We all have our favourite ways of trying to keep cool during a heatwave. My preference is for lemon or lime sorbets eaten at all times of the day and night. There’s nothing like a lime sorbet while sitting on the terrace or balcony after dinner.

When the heat is on full blast during the day, and especially before lunch, one of the easiest and most refreshing of cold drinks is the spritzer, a simple mixture of white wine, soda water and ice. Lots of ice.

Originally from Germany, the spritzer became popular in America in the early years of the 20th century. Americans served it with little bottles of soda water rather than the squirty siphons that were used in Germany and other European countries.

The spritzer never made much of a in-road in Britain, partly because during a typical summer there isn’t much need for the tongue-tingling zing of a spritzer.

Few drinks are as easy to make as a spritzer: fill a tall glass with ice cubes, add white wine to taste, and top up with soda water. And that’s it.

It’s much too pale to be a good party drink, but it’s ideal when we come indoors from the burning heat: it’s an unfussy drink (no slices of lemon or lime), easy-peasy to make, and fully refreshing.

You can use any white wine and Spanish whites with high acidity are especially suitable. It’s also a good preprandial drink on hot days when you may not want to open a more expensive wine.

At supermarket chains all over the island you will find Spanish verdejos and sauvignons blancs that are ideal for making spritzers — and there’s a good choice at under €3.

It’s not easy to find proper siphons of soda water in Palma because very few shops stock them nowadays. But you can buy plastic throwaway siphons at most local supermarkets.

In the late 1980s, when Californians on a health kick discovered Perrier and drank it at parties in preference to anything else, there was a move towards making spritzers with the French mineral water.

Perrier is a good substitute for soda in the drinks I have tried, but Vichy Catalan, Spain’s famous fizzy mineral water, is not at all suitable for making spritzers. Its minerals and salts, so crisp and healthy when the water is taken on its own, get in the way when it is mixed with wine and other alcoholic drinks.

I once wanted a Campari with soda but my siphons were empty. I thought Vichy Catalan would be every bit as good as soda water (and possibly better) and made a Campari with Vichy in the usual way. It was so horrible I couldn’t drink it and ended up pouring it down the drain — but I kept the ice for another kind of drink.

Kir is a most pleasant summer drink that’s very popular in France and Belgium, although you don’t come across it much in other countries.

The drink is named after Canon Felix Kir (1876-1968) who was physically tiny but as tough as the toughest of old marching boots. He was a leader in the French Resistance during the Second World War, and spent two months in a Nazi death cell after helping several prisoners to escape. When the war ended he became a national hero and was so adored in his native Dijon that he was voted in as mayor, and also as the city’s member of parliament.

Canon Kir had a favourite summer tipple: a tablespoon of crème de cassis stirred into a glass of well chilled aligoté, Burgundy’s second most popular white grape after chardonnay. Aligoté wines are noted for high acidity, tartish taste and refreshing prickle on the palate. After Canon Kir’s death at the age of 92, the people of Burgundy started to call the priest’s favourite summer drink Le Kir.

When the French and the Belgians make Kir for a group of friends, they mix the wine and the crème de cassis in a big glass jug. Sometimes the French use champagne instead of white wine and the drink becomes a Royal Kir.

I’ve tried it with a goodish Spanish cava, which means one costing €15-€17, and it was a most enjoyable preprandial party drink. Those bubbles are always an infallible way of getting a meal off to a snazzy start.

Kir is a real palate pleaser before lunch on a hot day but you must always remember to make it with a high acidity white. I see crème de cassis in several supermarkets, but if you have any difficulty finding it, you’ll always see it at the supermarkets of El Corte Inglés.