While oodles of champagne popping and wine may suit any social gathering, there's something to be said for the host who takes backyard-do to a whole other level with a premium cocktail list.
It's a time to chime in some new flavours and give the usual tipples of summer a run for their money. Take your humble spritz or negroni and crank it up a notch, giving your guest's palette a pleasant surprise.
The key to being the ultimate host is don't overcomplicate what you're serving and limit your selection to four cocktails.
Another important rule when it comes to DIY mixology is don't fake it til you make it. Every cheap turn will do you harm and flavours will always be compromised. And what's more – make sure cocktail napkins are in supply, bowls of nibbles handy and avoid plastic straws – you'll be the coolest bartender this side of the bar.
With suggestions below by some of the best bartenders in the business, here are four new recipes to impress your mates.
Spritz up your life
Boost your vitamin C intake by simply adding blood orange juice to your Christmas spritz – we promise the best flavour this side of Sicily's Taormina.
A Twist on An Aperol Spritz, The Smith's Sicilian Spritz, Prahran
- 30ml Aperol
- 30ml Blood Orange Juice
- 60ml Prosecco
- Dash of soda
- Build ingredients in a wine glass, fill with ice, top with soda
- Serve with blood orange wheels as garnish
Need to know negroni
For the guest who likes to stick to what they know, impress your negroni friends by tweaking a classic with a summer shakedown.
Negroni Sbagliato, The Exchange, Port Melbourne
- 1 ½ oz sweet vermouth
- 1 ½ oz Campari
- 1 ½ oz Prosecco.
- Orange slice to garnish
- Add vermouth and Campari to a mixing glass filled with ice
- Stir to combine, then chill
- Strain into Champagne flute. Top with prosecco and stir again
- Garnish with an orange slice
A whisky summer
Embrace a bold spirit but give it a refreshing makeover for summer. The best way to approach whiskey cocktails in summer is think seasonally and keep it simple.
Pineapple & Whisky Sour Jake Smyth, owner of Mary's Newtown
- 50ml whiskey
- 50ml fresh pineapple juice
- 10ml lime juice
- 10ml sugar syrup
- 2 Dashes of Peychauds Bitters
- ½ fresh egg white
- Shake all ingredients together without ice first. This will whip the egg white into the drink properly, and give a creamy texture to the drink.
- Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, straining the drink over fresh cracked ice into a large rocks glass.
- Garnish with a cherry and pineapple wedge on a toothpick.
Drinks with punch
Sangria, sometimes dubbed a mellow summer punch, is the ideal social drink when you're hosting. It also takes the heat away from the host as having this at the ready will keep your guests happy while you're busy churning out the cocktails.
Rebujito, Frank Camorra, Bar Tini [in a glass]
- 20 ml Lemon Juice
- 90 mL El Maestro Fino Sherry
- 120ml Soda water
- Lemon Wedges
- Use a tall glass. Fill with ice
- Add the ingredients and stir
- Garnish with lemon wedges
Now do your best Tom Cruise in Cocktail impression and show your family and friends you're more than just a pre-mixer.