GemLife

Holiday season shake up – Here’s cheers to three easy Christmas cocktails

Holiday season shake up

Love the idea of making yourself or your guests some refreshing summertime cocktails perfect for the holiday season but don’t know where to start?

We asked local mixologist Grant Hawthorne of The Bartenders Sunshine Coast to come up with three simple and delicious cocktails that can easily be made at home.

GemLife Pacific Paradise homeowners Di and Ted King who recently moved to the resort from Victoria, and Gerald and Fiona Keatinge, had the enviable task of taste-testing the cocktail menu – a basil smash, a blood orange margarita, and a seasonal variation of the modern classic, the dark ‘n’ stormy – at the beautiful new Paradise Pavilion bar.

The bar, which is run by resident volunteers, is surrounded by inviting lounge areas plus a large balcony with seating and is already proving a popular hang-out spot for residents since its recent opening.

“It’s a great space for socialising. It’s in the early stage of operation, but it’s starting to pick up, and Friday nights are pretty popular,” said Ted.

“It has such a nice atmosphere. The décor and fit-out have been done really well – it feels special,” Di added.

“We’ve brought friends here and they’ve been impressed. It’s also lovely to sit outside on the balcony overlooking the pool.”

So, what did our couples think of the cocktails? “I prefer gin or rum cocktails, so the basil smash was the favourite. We’ll give making this one a go at home, absolutely!” said Gerald.

Although more of a wine drinker, having spent 30 years working in the industry, he and wife Fiona do enjoy making their own cocktails from time to time.

Di and Ted, who were partial to the margarita and the rum-based stormy Christmas, have been inspired to make some cocktails over the holiday season.

“It was fun, we enjoyed them all!” Grant added that cocktails were the foundation to a perfect event – lightening up the mood of everyone involved, from those creating recipes, shaking up a storm, or those indulging themselves.

“It’s not a cocktail party until there are cocktails! It’s all about having fun. Relax, don’t think too much into it. Everyone is nervous their first time. Get the shakers out and have a laugh!” he said.

“My biggest tip: Shake it well. You can’t over-shake the cocktail. We shake cocktails for a variety of reasons, but my favourite is the theatre behind it! Other methods are mixing the liquids, cooling the cocktail and diluting the mix with the melted ice.

“Balance is the key. Just like cooking in the kitchen, the reason we use measurements is to balance out the flavours, mixing tarty citrus with sweeter components, which enhances all elements of the drink.”

Bars are places to relax, socialise, meet friends old and new, and at GemLife resorts – all of which have bars run by resident volunteers – they are a hub for fun and community connection.

Blood Orange Margarita

A sweet-tart blood orange flavour spices up the classic margarita.
Serve in martini coupe glass
Garnish | Sea salt rim and dehydrated blood orange

Blood Orange Margarita

Ingredients

  • 30ml Volando Tequila (or other blanco tequila)
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 30ml blood orange juice
  • 10ml agave
  • lime wedge (garnish)
  • sea salt flakes (garnish)
  • dehydrated lime (garnish)

How to make it

  1. Prepare martini coupe glass by rubbing lime wedge around rim, then dip into sea salt flakes.
  2. Time for the cocktail shaker. Add tequila, Cointreau, lime, blood orange and agave into cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, close and vigorously shake for 10 seconds.
  3. Double strain cocktail into salt rimmed martini coupe.
  4. Garnish with dehydrated blood orange.

A Stormy Christmas

A spicy Christmassy take on the popular rum-based Dark ‘n’ Stormy.
Serve in a tall Collins glass
Garnish | Dehydrated lime and mint sprig

A Stormy Christmas

Ingredients

  • 45ml Kraken Black Spiced Rum (or similar)
  • 3 lime wedges
  • 3 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Kirks Ginger Beer (or similar)
  • mint sprig (garnish)
  • dehydrated lime (garnish)

How to make it

  1. Grab your tall Collins glass and muddle your lime wedges into the base of the glass.
  2. Fill Collins glass with ice. Add three dashes of Angostura Bitters, spiced rum and top with ginger beer. Stir.
  3. Garnish with dehydrated lime and mint sprig.

Basil Smash

A fresh, festive summertime drink with green herb and sweet floral notes.
Serve in a tumbler
Garnish | Dehydrated lime & basil sprig

Basil Smash

Ingredients

  • 45ml Seabourne Coastal Dry Gin (or similar)
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 20ml elderflower syrup
  • 4 basil leaves
  • basil sprig (garnish)
  • dehydrated lime (garnish)

How to make it

  1. Add gin, lime juice, elderflower syrup, and basil leaves into cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, close and vigorously shake for 10 seconds.
  2. Prepare tumbler glass with fresh ice. Double strain the cocktail mix over ice into tumbler.
  3. Garnish with dehydrated lime and basil sprig