Spice up your spring pre drinks with this recipe from Ochre Nation

Recently, we made our first-ever trip to Ochre Nation, a picturesque cellar door in the Adelaide Hills that’s home to Applewood Distillery and Unico Zelo. Ochre Nation are all about using native ingredients to create beautiful spirits and wines that are inspired by the Australian land.

Though relaxing in their gorgeous garden space is lovely, we couldn’t help but sign ourselves up for a cocktail masterclass with Mark Reginato Man of Spirit.

Well-known throughout the Adelaide hospitality industry as a beverage connoisseur and a loveable personality, Mark took us through a fun-filled class that had us all in stitches by the end (this was possibly fuelled by the three cocktails we drank throughout).

The cocktails we created were a Clover Club, L&L Spritz and a Watermelon and Basil Punch. The Clover Club was a sophisticated concoction that used Applewood gin, Maidenii vermouth and raspberries to create a well-balanced, sweet and sour drink. The L&L was a refreshing, citrus-based spritz that used Applewood gin, limoncello, Unico Zelo blanc de blanc, while the punch was an absolute crowd favourite, being boozy, easy to drink and delicious.

The Watermelon and Basil Punch belongs at your next spring/summer gathering, and makes a huge bowl that’s perfect for sharing. We’ve popped the instructions below so you can create this perfect summer drink at home.

Watermelon and Basil Punch

Watermelon and Basil Punch

Watermelon and Basil Punch

Basil syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh basil

500mL Applewood Gin
750mL Unico Zelo Blanc de Blanc
1L soda water (chilled)
1.5L fresh watermelon juice
250mL fresh lime juice
Ice cubes

Step 1 – Base Syrup
Add the water and sugar into a saucepan on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until simmering and all the sugar has dissolved.
Turn off the heat, add the basil and allow this to brew for 30 minutes at room temperature. Strain into a container and refrigerate.

Step 2 – Punch
Combine the watermelon juice and lime juice in a punch bowl, then place in the refrigerator until chilled. When ready to serve, add to the punch bowl the Applewood Distillery Gin, Unico Zelo Blanc de Blanc, soda water and ice cubes.

Step 3 – Garnish
In the punch bowl, float lime wheels. Prepare the glasses with ice, lime wheel, top with punch and garnish with a sprig of basil.

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