Sensational summer drinks for the festive season

Whether you’re gathering the whole clan for Christmas Day, catching up with friends around the barbie or having an intimate dinner with your loved one, the odds are you’ll need something to sip on. That might be a non-alcoholic punch for the kids, a smashing cocktail for the girls or a jug of something cold and potent to stave off the summer heat. 

Whatever your poison, here are seven great drink ideas to get you through the festive season. And a quick note: the quality of your beverage will depend on your ingredients – so buy top-end wine, spirits and liqueurs.

 

1. Very Berry Sangria (alcoholic)

A lighter version of the traditional red-wine thirst quencher, with plenty of summer berries thrown in.

750ml bottle rosé
60ml brandy
juice of 1 blood orange
2 tbsp caster sugar
500ml soda water
2 cups assorted berries, washed, to serve

Combine all ingredients, except for berries, in a large pitcher. Taste for sweetness: adding a little more sugar, if necessary. Let the flavours develop overnight. Just before serving, add the berries and a couple of handfuls of ice.

 

2. Mint iced tea (non-alcoholic)

Ideal for sharing with the whole family over lunch.

3-4 tea bags
8 sprigs fresh mint, plus extra to serve
4 cups boiling water
¼ cup lime juice
extra 8 cups water
1 cup caster sugar

Place tea bags and mint in a large heatproof container and pour over boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and mint. Allow tea to cool completely. Combine tea, lime juice and extra water into a large pitcher. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Serve with plenty of ice.


3. Peach punch (alcoholic)

This lovely peach-flavoured beverage is sure to get the party started.

4 tbsp caster sugar
100ml water
zest and juice of 1 lemon
750ml bottle rosé
150ml peach schnapps
100ml soda water
2 white peaches, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

Make a sugar syrup by dissolving caster sugar into water with lemon zest in a small saucepan over a low heat. Allow to cool completely. Pour sugar syrup into a large pitcher and add lemon juice, rosé, schnapps and soda water. Stir to combine. To serve, add the peach and lemon slices and plenty of ice.

 

4. Gimlets (alcoholic)

This gin-and-lime cocktail is a perfect summer refresher – with bite.

3 parts gin
1 part Rose’s Lime Cordial
3 limes

Whether you’re making individual gimlets or a full pitcher, add plenty of ice cubes, pour over gin and lime cordial in a 3:1 ratio and stir until ice has started to melt. Pare limes with a vegetable peeler and add a piece of zest to each glass or several pieces to pitcher.

 

5. Elderflower lemonade (alcoholic)

It might sound harmless, but liqueur and sparkling wine give this lemonade a little zing.

½ cup caster sugar
1 cup water
½ cup elderflower liqueur
750ml bottle sparkling wine
juice of 1 lemon
edible violets (or other edible flowers), to garnish

Make a sugar syrup by dissolving caster sugar into water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Allow to cool completely. Pour sugar syrup into a large pitcher and add elderflower liqueur, sparkling wine and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Add a few handfuls of ice and garnish with edible violets.

 

6. Apple, orange and ginger punch (non-alcoholic)

Perfect for the kids, non-drinkers and designated drivers.

2 cups apple juice
1½ cups orange juice
2 cups dry ginger ale
3 cups lemonade
fresh summer fruit, to serve

Combine all ingredients, except fruit, in a large container. When ready to serve, transfer to a large pitcher, garnish with fruit (think strawberries, blueberries, kiwifruit chunks and raspberries) and add plenty of ice.
Variation: add ⅔ cup vodka if you want to kick things up a notch.

 

7. Watermelon and mint margaritas (alcoholic)

A melon twist on the classic margarita.

4 cups chopped seedless watermelon
½ cup tequila
1 tbsp finely grated lime zest
¼ cup lime juice
2 tbsp chopped mint, plus extra sprigs to garnish
extra lime juice and white sugar, to coat rims of glasses

Put watermelon on a metal tray and place in freezer until frozen. Add frozen watermelon, tequila, lime zest and juice, and mint to a food processor and process until slushly. Dip rims of cocktail glasses in lime juice, then sugar to coat. Pour margarita into glasses and top each with a sprig of mint.