From a cool summer seltzer to a refreshing beer and an aromatic gin cocktail, this curated selection of festive drinks will get you through the holiday season. Made from talented brewers, mixologists, distillers and cider makers around the country using locally grown and harvested ingredients bursting with summer flavours.
1. Zeffer Seltzer
A premium alcoholic cider seltzer crafted with pure sparkling mineral water, slow-fermented Hawke's Bay apples and a splash of pure fruit. All three flavours - Watermelon, Guava and Orange & Grapefruit - are low-sugar, low-calorie, vegan, gluten-free and sustainably made. A sophisticated seltzer that's light and refreshing with subtle, real fruit flavours and no additives – perfect for sipping on hot summer days.
zeffer.co.nz - available in 10-packs of 330ml cans at New World, Pak'nSave and selected stores. $29.
2. Sawmill Aotearoa IPA Series #15
The Sawmill IPA series is made exclusively with New Zealand hops and malt in recognition of the farmers, growers and brewers in Aotearoa who produce high-quality ingredients and world-class beers. Brewed in their Matakana brewery, the Nelson sauvin and Motueka hops in this hazy IPA give it plenty of refreshing grapefruit character. It's juicy and vibrant and not too heavy-handed with the hops - great summer drinking.
sawmillbrewery.co.nz - available in 440ml cans at New World, Liquorland, 4 Square or Henry's store.
3. Christmas negroni
A strawberry-infused negroni makes a luxurious Christmas tipple. You will need to steep the Campari in strawberries a day or two ahead but your toil will be rewarded. The West Coast botanicals in this award-winning gin transport you to the rainforest.
30ml Little Biddy Gin – Gold Label
30ml strawberry-infused Campari
30ml Red vermouth (Cocchi de Torino)
Muddle and add 200g of fresh strawberries to 400ml of Campari and allow to steep for a day or two. Fine strain out the strawberries and pour the flavoured Campari into a bottle.
Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass.
Pour chilled over one big piece of ice into a short rocks glass.
Garnish with an orange slice.
reeftondistillingco.com - Little Biddy Gin is available at Super Liquor, Liquorland and selected stores.
4. Arepa Performance cocktail
Made with blackcurrants, pine bark extract and L-theanine, this wellbeing tonic is high in antioxidants, vitamin C and nootropics - compounds known to support cognitive function.
This aromatic plum sour cocktail is inspired by The Vintry in Matakana:
Arepa Plum Sour (0 per cent alcohol)
3 parts Ārepa Performance
1 part Seedlip Spice
1 part Seedlip Citrus
1 Tbsp plum and orange-peel syrup
2 drops of orange bitters
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 egg white
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Place cap and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass through a sieve. Garnish with a freeze-dried plum.
drinkarepa.com - available at supermarkets and selected stores.
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5. At-home Christmas cocktails kits
"Go on then, just a little bit of pud ..." is Black Pineapple's limited-edition range of Christmas-themed cocktails inspired by the classic New Zealand Christmas puddings. Try a Christmas Cake Old Fashioned, made with Christmas pudding infused with Monkey Shoulder whisky, Hennessy cognac, finished with orange zest and raisins; or a Kiwi Pav with Broken Shed Vodka, strawberry jam syrup, berry tea and kiwifruit vinegar garnished with whipped cream, freeze-dried strawberries and meringue shards. The cocktail kits come with fresh, pre-batched mixes, garnishes and instructions.
blackpineapple.co.nz Pre-order for Christmas delivery from $69.
6. Good George Brewing seasonal Passionfruit Cider (4.5 per cent)
This crisp and refreshing seasonal cider with tropical flavours will be a crowd-pleaser this summer. On the palate it's sweet, tart and juicy with a tropical yellow hue and a fragrant aromatic hit of passionfruit and apple. This cider is also gluten-free.
goodgeorge.co.nz - available in supermarkets and selected liquor stores.
7. Boxer's Private Island Parties & Punch Bowl Cocktails
Celebrate the festive season with a one-of-a-kind "private island party" with award-winning chef Ed Verner's new experiential bar, Boxer. Or celebrate at home with punch bowl cocktails paired with Boxer and Pasture favourites. Choose from a
classic egg nog recipe from the 1700s, made the original way; rose strawberry sangria – clear and beautiful, summery and light with lemon verbena; boozy whiskey-based punch - whisky, grapefruit, roasted apple distillate off the Pasture fire and smoky whiskey-spiced fruit.
Order via email email@example.com
Each punch bowl cocktail serves 4, 8 or custom sizes, starting at $100. Must be ordered two days in advance.
8. Change Maker beer
Four friends with varied intellectual disabilities who were seeking meaningful paid work set about brewing their own beer with the help of three award-winning breweries. The result is three delicious thirst-quenchers made with dedication and enthusiasm.
The range includes the original "Neville Pale Ale" brewed at Duncan's Brewery. An IPA in collaboration with Behemoth Brewing Company and a Pilsner from Moa Brewing Co. With a stunning new brand design by MILK, this series of feel-good beer is helping to brew better lives.
changemakerbeer.com - available at New World, Pak'nSave and Liquorland stores.
9. East Imperial
East Imperial's artisan range of tonics and sodas will elevate your premium spirits. Made with hand-picked ingredients, these small-batch brewed tonics using New Zealand spring water have no artificial additives. Their tropical and zesty grapefruit soda, floral Yuzu lemonade and aromatic Kima Kola are must-have complements to your summer brews.
eastimperial.nz available in liquor stores.