There are endless articles on festive favourites like spiked eggnog and hot chocolate with Baileys, but I rarely come across Christmassy beverages for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. After attending Liquor King’s re-imagined Carlton store opening, I felt inspired to create a selection of cocktails to serve at my upcoming events. It’s an exciting summer, I’m turning thirty, spending Christmas/New Years with Nick’s family and getting married in March. Needless to say, I want to get in the spirit with a drink or two.
Each of these four cocktails is super straightforward to make, with minimal ingredients and little prep time, so you can focus on what’s important — spending time with your loved ones. They’re all light, of the easy drinking variety and pair nicely with anything from Christmas brunch to an after work BBQ.
White Wine Sangria: New Zealand is known all over the world for its white wine, so crafting white wine sangria is a no brainer. Light and refreshing, this drink is easily adaptable to suit your personal tastes. This chardonnay version is made with strawberries, oranges and a handful of berries. It’s a summery and more Kiwi version of the Spanish original.
1 750mL bottle of Wither Hills Chardonnay
3 oranges (cut into wedges)
1 lemon (cut into wedges)
A handful of strawberries
A handful of frozen berries
1/2 litre lemonade or Sprite
Top with ice and enjoy outside in your backyard or at the beach.
Aperol rosé: Combining my two favourite drinks, Aperol Rosé is the most refreshing drink you’ll have all summer. The Italian favourite has become increasingly popular in New Zealand over the past few years. I like to think of it as my summertime negroni.
Fill glasses with ice cubes
Pour three parts (75ml) of Daniel Le Brun sparkling rosé, chilled
Then, pour three parts Aperol (50ml)
Finish with a dash of sparkling/soda water (25ml)
Garnish with a slice of orange and strawberries
Pimms Punch: A refreshing staple served at Christmas lunch and throughout the summer months, Pimms Cups are a British, and by default, Kiwi tradition. I can’t wait to make another batch of Pimms for my 30th birthday this weekend. I made this version without cucumber as Nick isn’t a fan, but feel free to add Lebanese cucumber if you’d like! As with sangria, it’s easier to make a batch in a pitcher and then to top up with ice as needed.
1/2 litre Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
2 cups of lemonade
1/2 orange, thinly sliced.
1 lemon, halved lengthways, thinly sliced.
4 strawberries, hulled, washed, quartered.
4 small sprigs fresh mint.
Ice cubes to serve.
Rhubarb G&T: Although rhubarb’s prime season is April to June, it’s pretty common to find it throughout the summer. It’s my favourite fruit and I love adding it to anything and everything. If you’re after a ruby red cocktail to feel extra festive, mix with gin and tonic. If you’re pressed to find fresh rhubarb, cordial is an easy option.
For the rhubarb syrup:
Cut rhubarb into 2.5 cm chunks, making sure to discard any leaves. Combine rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then cook until rhubarb is soft and beginning to break down, about 3 minutes.
Strain through a mesh strainer and reserve solids to make jam or a pie. Chill syrup in the refrigerator until ready for use.
For the cocktail:
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add Tanqueray London Dry Gin and rhubarb syrup, then fill the glass with tonic. Stir, garnish with lime wedge and enjoy immediately!
What are your favourite summery beverages? Do you like mixing it up for the holiday season?
Photography by Reuben Looi.
This blog post is sponsored by Liquor King, but all opinions are my own.