Our award-winning mixologist, Behzad Nvaziri, shares his favourite spring cocktail ingredients, including an Olympic-standard cocktail to make at home.
Picture this: after months of hibernating indoors, piling on jumpers and knocking back finger-warming mugs of tea, the sun comes out. There’s a bottle of gin in the cupboard, some fresh berries in the fridge, and a verandah waiting for you to grace it with an afternoon cocktail.
It’s a simple vision, but one that perfectly captures what spring is all about. Small pleasures are particularly important in 2020 and, in our opinion, there’s no small pleasure quite as great as a refreshing cocktail imbibed outdoors on a warm afternoon.
We sat down with The Star’s award-winning bartender Behzad Nvazari about his idea of the perfect spring cocktail, the seasonal ingredients he’s most excited to use, and his favourite make-at-home spring cocktail recipe.
It’s spring! What are the things you are most excited to see come back into season?
Spring means an abundance of edible flowers, fresh citrus and berries. I have started using elderflower in our new spring cocktail, Monkey Business, which consists of floral and fruit-forward Monkey 47 in an elderflower liqueur and gin highball.
To you, what makes the perfect spring cocktail?
The freshness of the ingredients goes a long way. Fresh blood oranges have a limited season, from mid-August to October, so we are making the most of this opportunity to create Averna and blood orange, a simple springtime Sicilian drink. Herbs are even more vibrant this season and they add much more aroma than usual.
What are your favourite things to drink at this time of year?
Lots and lots of freshly brewed craft beer! Also long, refreshing cocktails such as highballs, aperitif drinks and, of course, spritzes. We have a new range of spritzes coming to The Star soon.
As the days get longer and the weather warmer, it’s the perfect time of year for an afternoon tipple. What’s a bright and breezy cocktail that can take you from day to night?
Warm days call for hydrating drinks; a highball or a spritz can both sustain you and keep you entertained. A classic Gin Collins – gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar and soda – is both refreshing and tasty.
Let’s talk spritzes, then: what’s your favourite springtime spin on a classic spritzer?
Our signature Bergamot Spritz is a must-try. It combines homemade yuzu-limoncello, bergamot liqueur and Elephant dry gin. The botanicals of the gin really come through, accompanied by the citrus.
What’s a simple, delicious cocktail that can easily be whipped up for guests?
Hemingway’s Daiquiri, which was the recipe of writer Ernest Hemingway. It blends Cuban rum, lime, maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice, and can easily be made and shared in a group.
What are some ingredients you’ve been playing around within your own creations?
Coconut water has recently been showing up in many of my drinks to replace the water dilution. We break fresh coconuts behind our bars and use the balanced sweet-and-savoury coconut water for its refreshing properties. Try our Tokyo 2020 spring cocktail, which uses cachaça, kaffir lime leaf cordial and coconut water, enjoy a taste at some of our Signature Restaurants in Sydney.
Behzad Nvaziri’s Tokyo 2020 Spring Cocktail
60ml fresh coconut water
30 kaffir lime leaf cordial (see below)
To make the kaffir lime leaf cordial, use one part lime juice, one part sugar.
Dissolve the sugar over low heat, add kaffir lime leaves and let rest in fridge for a few hours before use.
Pour all ingredients over ice, stir and enjoy with zest of lime on top.