Have you heard? It’s summer next week! Time to gather friends, and spend long balmy evenings on the deck drinking icy cocktails and fighting off the mosquitoes.
According to Williams-Sonoma, one of the big trends in drinks this season is to add some spice to your mix, such as fresh jalapeno, paired here with cucumber. And as always, it’s best to use only the most seasonal fruits and veggies. Now’s the time to play with the gorgeous colours and flavours of fresh peaches, nectarines, cherries, raspberries, cucumbers and of course fragrant herbs such as mint.
And while you’re stocking up on the fresh produce, alcohol and mixers, don’t forget to load up on your supply of ice. Consider large ice spheres – they take much longer to melt than regular ice and are far less likely to dilute the flavour.
STYLING TIP The best summer drinks parties allow guests to serve themselves – and each other – encouraging mingling and leaving the host free to relax, too. The best way to do this is to set up a drinks station with pre-mixed cocktails and mocktails served in large drink dispensers and punchbowls – just be sure to label them clearly! Add a couple of party tubs filled with ice for keeping bottles of wine and beer cool and accessible. Be sure to have plenty of glasses on hand, too. If you’re worried about using your fine glass or crystal outdoors, then consider the fantastic selection of outdoor drinkware available – it’s definitely much more elegant (and far more eco-friendly) than disposable cups!
Jalapeno-Lime Coolers with Cucumber-Chilli Gin
In an infusing jar, combine 180 ml gin, 1 jalapeno chilli and 1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds. Cover, shake vigorously for 15-to-20 seconds. Let sit for 2-to-24 hours. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add strained gin and 360 ml Jalapeno-Lime Cocktail Mixer and shake. Strain into four ice-filled glasses. Top each with a splash of soda water. Garnish with jalapeno slices and cucumber slices.
White Sangria with Summer Fruits
Choose the ripest fruits you can find. Feel free to use one or any combination of the fruits listed below (you will need a total of 3-to-4 cups sliced, pitted fruit). If desired, top each glass off with sparkling wine or soda water to create a refreshing beverage that is just right for a hot summer’s day.
- Ice cubes as needed
- 4 cups dry white wine
- 1/4 cup amaretto liqueur or apricot or peach brandy
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 ripe peach, pitted and sliced
- 1 ripe nectarine, pitted and sliced
- 1 ripe apricot, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup pitted and sliced cherries
Fill a large jug or drink dispenser two-thirds full with ice cubes. Add the wine, liqueur and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peach, nectarine, apricot and cherries and stir to mix. Pour into chilled ice-filled glasses and serve without delay.
Serves 4 to 6.
—Head to Williams-Sonoma for lots more inspiration, or book a cooking class in their Sydney Cooking School – it makes the perfect Christmas gift for your favourite foodie.