After a refreshing summer tipple but don’t know where to start? We have just the thing for you. Inspired by the long summer evenings, we asked our resident Creative Mixologist Natalie Young to share one of her own cocktail recipes, using the best of our seasonal ingredients.
Natalie Young is the Weekend Duty Manager at our Wellington City Store, but, like so many of our staff, she has a raft of hidden talents. A contender in the 2012 Masterchef New Zealand, Natalie has clearly demonstrated her experience and flair in coming up with new and fresh flavour combinations.
Natalie grew up on a farm and orchard in Awakere, near Whakatane, where her family had a vege garden and made compotes and preserves. Her grandmother was a huge inspiration, in particular. “She made kombucha, kumarahou teas, and tonics for when you were feeling a little ill,” Natalie says. “So I’ve always been interested in herbs and tonics, particularly using native plants. I’m also tea-crazy.”
Natalie's passion for mixology really became apparent when she was working in bars and doing event management work in her early 20's. “My passion is marrying flavours together,” Natalie says. “I’ve always wanted to be a distiller, but for now I’m interested in using organic fresh ingredients that really showcase a drink and put a new spin on it. Really, it’s just playing with the beauty of nature.”
Her biggest challenge in coming up with new cocktails? Fitting it in around yoga. The key is not to taste her new inventions too much, Natalie says. Thanks for the tip!
The following recipe was inspired by the fresh fruit and veg currently in season. It has some heft to it, so, if you like your beverages on the softer side, halve the recipe and add a 1:1 ration of soda water. Beach and deckchair optional! Please enjoy responsibly.
Strawberry Rose Gin Fizz
- 30ml Gin
- 30ml Martini Bianco (sweet/dry vermouth)
- 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 30ml Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 30ml Drunken Strawberries – recipe below
- 30ml Rose Stemmed Ginger Syrup – recipe below
- A wedge of grapefruit to garnish
- Add four ice cubes to a glass
- Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and top up with ice. Attach the lid of the shaker and shake hard for 10 seconds
- Hold a small mesh sieve over your prepared glass, and pour the cocktail over the ice
- Garnish with a piece of grapefruit.
Rose Stemmed Ginger Syrup
- ¾ cup of dried rose petals
- 1 ½ cups of raw cane sugar
- 1 ¼ cups of cold water
- 2 thumb-sized pieces of peeled and roughly chopped ginger
- Place all ingredients except the rose petals into a medium-sized saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then lower to a gentle simmer for 3 minutes. The syrup should now be very fragrant and the sugar granules fully dissolved.
- Turn the heat right down and add the rose petals.
- Stir gently and simmer for one minute.
- Let the syrup cool slightly, pour into a small sterilised jar and store in the fridge.
This syrup will last up to one month in the fridge, where the flavours will infuse further. It makes up to 15 cocktails. It’s also delicious poured of ice cream or lathered over a hot baklava.
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- Place all ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan.
- On low heat, continuously stirring and without bringing to the boil, dissolve any sugar crystals and warm the strawberries through. This should take approximately 3 minutes.
- Turn off the element and transfer the mixture into a clean container and allow to sit overnight in the fridge before using.
Drunken strawberries are perfect for giving a cocktail or summer mocktail a sour kick. It’s also delicious poured over ice-cream. The mixture will last up to one week in the fridge.
Do you have cocktail questions of your own? Natalie is always happy to answer customer questions at our Wellington City Store.
Natalie Young, our resident Creative Mixologist