For our readers in the Southern Hemisphere, the leaves are turning a russet red as V’s of migratory birds straggle across a crisp sky, and you might well be sipping a mug of something piping hot as you read this. Meanwhile, snowdrifts are melting into glistening puddles in the North, and crocuses are parading in their spring attire. It’s time to pull out the gin & tonic glasses and banish the thermos to the back of the cupboard.
When the rain rattles on the windows and the winds howl down the chimney, there’s nothing like a hot drink to comfort the very cockles of your heart. A simmering crock of hot cider traces back to Anglo-Saxon tradition of ‘wassail’ when the lord of the manor proffered a giant bowl of warm punch to his servants and workers. These days, store-bought apple cider mixed with apple juice and a generous helping of nutmeg, cinnamon and star anise can be easily mulled on the stovetop and supped while toasting your toes on the hearth.
Warm spring sunshine brings the perfect excuse to lighten up a little. We know Earl Grey is an old favourite but try a new blend or even a fruit tea. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a fruit tea bag into a gin and tonic, with some fresh berries for an easy cooler. And for those who struggle to get down their two litres of water a day, adding fresh mint leaves into your bottled water enhances the flavour, which may help you increase your intake.
Sweltering heat or breathless humidity leaves us longing for shade and a frosty glass of lemonade. We might not be able to recline in the shadow of a palm tree on the waterfront, but we can take up the tropical theme with a piña colada smoothie that combines cooling coconut, pineapple and the requisite splash of rum. Just serve with a slice of lime, and you can almost hear the waves splashing on the shore. A zingy limoncello cocktail made with the classic Italian lemon liqueur is a great way to impress your backyard barbecue guests, or perhaps you’d prefer an icy pitcher of Southern sweet tea, the perfect pairing for those hot afternoons on the porch.
As autumn rolls around, menus are saturated in ‘pumpkin spice’ from cakes to cocktails to coffee. Mind you, though, it does perfectly capture the essence of the season, and for those who haven’t tried a pumpkin spice latte, you have a treat in store. Chilly mornings may not be such an effort if it starts with a steaming cup of hot cocoa to wrap your chilled hands around, and at the other end of the day, celebrate the time of year with a cranberry maple bourbon sour – a potpourri of heartening autumnal flavours.
So ‘whether the weather is rain or snow’, we have a swig to match the season and quench your thirst for a new brew.