Nine Cocktails for Any Spring Occasion

Words by Jane Ryan

Photography by Supplied

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Tentative toes are in the ocean, smoothie bowls are making a comeback on menus and social feeds are starting to stack up with smug Australians showing off the warmer temperatures to their European friends – Spring has finally made it to the Southern Hemisphere.

This year there won’t be a stampede to pub rooftops for the obligatory Spritz though. Instead there’ll be more backyard barbeques, foreshore picnics, watching friendly cricket matches in the park and gathering with flatmates on the balcony to watch sunset.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have the ultimate Spring cocktail in hand though – we’ve teamed up with Chase Distillery to bring to life nine delicious cocktails using bright, zippy flavours that will elevate any Spring occasion. It’s a brand we, at Difford’s Guide, have enjoyed since we met founder Will Chase over a decade ago, and has a true field-to-bottle story that was bought to life on his farm in Herefordshire, England. Today Chase's range of gins has grown to capture some fresh and vibrant flavours, perfect for Spring cocktails.

Pink Grapefruit Paloma

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We say: Long and brightly zippy, thanks to two citrus juices, this gin twist on a Paloma has sunny afternoon written all over it.
Glass: Collins
Garnish: Lime wheel
Method: BUILD ingredients in the glass, fill with ice. TOP with soda water.

40ml Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo gin
20ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
50ml Freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
10ml Sugar syrup
Soda water to top

Perfect for a backyard BBQ, this drink can be partially prepared ahead of time. Simply line up your glasses and add the first four ingredients – then when everyone is ready you can pop in the ice and top with soda.

Rhubarb & Bramley Apple Rosé Spritz

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We say: Easy to mix, but a deliciously complex taste. Based on a tangy and tart gin, this Spritz is reminiscent of rhubarb and apple crumble whilst still bringing plenty of freshness.
Glass: Wine glass
Garnish: Apple fan
Method: BUILD ingredients in the glass and fill with ice. TOP with soda water.

40ml Chase Rhubarb & Bramley Apple gin
10ml Sugar Syrup
100ml Rosé wine
Soda water to top

Perfect for beachside picnics and park cricket, we’d suggest batching up your gin, wine and syrup in the morning – following the 40/100/10 ratio in a 750ml bottle to give you five serves – and then pouring into some plastic wine glasses with ice and a splash of soda.

Cucumber & Pink Grapefruit Collins

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We say: Cucumber adds a cooling, fresh element to this summery serve.
Glass: Collins
Garnish: Cucumber ribbon and grapefruit wedge
Method: MUDDLE the diced cucumber in the base of the shaker. SHAKE first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass. TOP with soda water.

50ml Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo gin
10ml Freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
12.5ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
12.5ml Sugar syrup
2 slices Cucumber, diced
Soda water to top

Perfect for balcony sundowners, the cucumber ribbon snaking its way up the glass is such a visual treat we suggest giving this one a few practice runs. With sunset pushing later into the evening and the warmer temperatures hanging around a little longer, we think nothing says Summer is coming like these long, fresh cocktails and a few close friends to cheers with.

English Mule

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We say: This fresh, long cocktail is given a lively spice from the ginger beer but the smooth, creamy potato vodka helps it slip down a treat.
Glass: Collins
Garnish: Lemon peel
Method: BUILD the first two ingredients in the glass and fill with ice. TOP with ginger beer.

50ml Chase Potato vodka
10ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
Ginger beer to top

Perfect for bowls on your mother's lawn. Set up the pétanque, boule or bowls – depending on your level of perceived fanciness – and have a go at bludgeoning your family's balls out of the damn way while sipping on this lively cocktail. It's simple to make but looks as fancy as pétanque sounds, and will make the gathering far more fun than Dad's horrible home brew. Plus, you know your mum will be delighted.

Thyme & Pink Grapefruit Martini

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We say: A zesty cocktail with plenty of citrus and a subtle but delightful savoury kick from the thyme.
Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Sprig of Thyme
Method: SHAKE ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

30ml Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo gin
10ml Chase Elderflower liqueur
40ml Freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
20ml Freshly squeezed lemon Juice
20ml Sugar syrup
A handful of fresh thyme

Perfect for lazy brunches and long lunches at home, this cocktail is a refreshing alternative to thick Bloody Marys or too-sweet Mimosas. Drag your table outside, and cover with a white tablecloth before adding a bowl of grapefruits or jug of flowers to weigh it down. We’d suggest flaky pastries, and creamy Greek yoghurt and fruit to pair – but savoury options such as Middle Eastern-inspired salads with pomegranate and olive oil-drizzled breads will also work great.

GB Bramble

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We say: One of the best drinks to come out of the 1980s, its fresh berry and citrus flavour is like Spring in a glass.
Glass: Old-fashioned glass
Garnish: Blackberries
Method: BUILD first 3 ingredients in the glass and add crushed ice. MIX together and top with more crushed ice. DRIZZLE the sloe gin to create a ‘bleeding’ effect in the glass.

40ml Chase GB Gin
15ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
15ml Sugar syrup
15ml Chase Oak-Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin

Perfect for an evening bonfire, just don’t stand too close otherwise all the ice will melt! With every second backyard now home to a Bunnings firepit (thanks lockdown), we’ve all become experts on starting the flames and knowing what will and won’t cook – marshmallows are good, whole snapper is not – but thanks to Spring it’s not vital to huddle around the flames any more choking out ‘white ghost’ each time the winter winds blow. Instead, mix up some GB Brambles and get toasting – at an appropriate distance.

Sloegroni

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We say: More mellow than your traditional Negroni, with sloe gin adding richness and flavour.
Glass: Old-fashioned glass
Garnish: Lemon peel
Method: STIR all the ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled glass.

25ml Chase Oak-Aged Sloe & Mulberry gin
25ml Campari
25ml Rose vermouth

Perfect for those weekend Airbnb getaways and park picnics, this is one of the easiest drinks to batch up and dispense at your own leisure. Stick to the equal-parts ratio and you’ve got a bottled cocktail ready to go, which is especially useful when you don’t want to lug your cocktail shaker on holiday or down to the foreshore. Get your hands on an empty wine bottle (properly washed out) and pour in 250ml of each ingredient, giving you 10 serves a bottle. Pour out 75ml over ice and stir in the glass – it’s couldn’t be easier.

Pink Grapefruit Spritz

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We say: Very refreshing and light, striking the perfect balance between sweet and sour.
Glass: Wine glass
Garnish: Grapefruit slice and sprig of rosemary
Method: BUILD the first two ingredients in the glass and fill with ice. TOP with tonic water.

50ml Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo gin
12.5ml Rose Vermouth
Tonic to top

Perfect for making after those first chilly Spring swims. The water is freezing right now, whether you’re in Noosa, Mollymook, Brighton or St Kilda, it is like stepping into an ice bucket during Spring thanks for the eternity the water takes to heat up. But it’s definitely heating up on the sand, so we’re braving the water after work and then scrambling home to take the edge off with one of these bright spritzes. Enjoy with sandy feet and wet hair.

Seville Sidecar

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We say: Complex and just on the tart side, this drink has a stunning zesty marmalade flavour.
Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Orange peel
Method: SHAKE ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

50ml Chase Seville Orange gin
25ml Cognac
25ml Freshly squeezed lemon Juice
10ml Sugar syrup

Perfect to start off a twilight dinner outside, this gently sour drink is a great combination of flavour and alcohol to work as an appetite opener. Whether you’re serving whole baked fish, a mezze of vegetarian bites or lamb cutlets fresh off the grill this cocktail will start your evening off on the ideal note.

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