Dark days are over. Spring into the new season with these transeasonal cocktail recipes that will leave you feeling warmed both inside and out.
The warm up act
Big batch buttered rum
Toast the change of seasons by inviting a group of friends around for a farewell winter party. Make Big Batch Buttered Rum; butter, like good company, is welcome at any time of year! Whip 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cloves and a pinch of salt in a medium sized bowl with an electric beater until smooth. Add 1 cup Bacardi Carta Fuego rum and 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until the butter dissolves. Ladle into 4 mugs. You should be feeling the spring return to your step in no time.
Vanilla hot toddy
A Vanilla Hot Toddy is perfect for when the weather becomes just warm enough for a barbecue outside but you still need a little something to take the edge off as the sun sets. Lighten things up a little for the dawn of springtime by using the softer tones of vanilla in place of cloves. To make this twist on a classic toddy, add 2 tsps brown sugar, 1 vanilla bean and 1 large twist of lemon to a glass mug with a handle. Half fill with boiling water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add 1.5 tsps of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 60mls of Nikka Whisky from the Barrel and stir again before serving. This drink does double duty; it's also good served cooled.
'Tis the season
Once the sun has well and truly returned, embrace spring by including in-season, fresh local produce - like juicy strawberries and blood oranges - in your cocktail recipes. To make a Strawberry Punch, blend 2.5 punnets of strawberries with 2/3 cup icing sugar, 2 Tb fresh blood orange juice and 1/3 cup Glenmorangie Milsean Scotch Whisky. Pour into a punchbowl and top with 2 bottles of sparkling wine. Garnish with the remaining half punnet of strawberries, sliced.
Garden cooler cocktail
Nothing invokes sunshine on the palate quite like zesty lemons. Mix up a Garden Cooler cocktail for one by muddling 3 thyme sprigs (you can experiment with different herbs too) with 1 tsp castor sugar and 2 fat lemon wedges in a tumbler. Pour over 90ml Sesion Tequila Reposado, 30ml cold water and a handful of fresh ice. Stir well and enjoy solo out on your sun-dappled patio.
Throw yourself into the season completely with these drinks that capture the floral essence of spring. It's an acquired taste however the old-school Aviation cocktail is reminiscent of a posy picked from an English garden. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 60ml Archie Rose VC Exclusive Gin, 10ml maraschino liqueur, 10ml violet liqueur and 20ml fresh lemon juice. Shake until well chilled and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with cherry blossoms, violets, pansies, a fresh cherry or a combination. This one's perfect at a fancy picnic.
Grown up limeade
Also outdoorsy is this rather Grown Up Limeade, place four quartered limes (remember to fish out any seeds first), 2 cups soda water, 3/4 cup elderflower liqueur or cordial, two large handfuls of ice and half a bunch of mint leaves into a heavy duty blender. Whiz until frothy. Strain the limeade into a large pitcher and top up with 6 more cups of soda water. Stir in 1-2 cups of Purity Vodka to taste. Serve over ice, garnished with extra mint and lime wedges. Grown up Limeade is a great thirst-quencher as you start getting out into the garden again.
These cocktails should make the transition between winter and spring even easier. Don't forget to say cheers to longer days ahead!