People close to me would say that I have a flamboyant and colourful personality. But I strive for flamboyance with very minimal effort. I am constantly thinking of ways to present something spectacular that becomes a conversation starter at gatherings without a lot of money or hoopla going into it. This stunning centrepiece of a cocktail is bold, big and beautiful. It is carefully concocted to reflect the colours of Christmas - green apples, red strawberries and white lychees.
I make a huge batch by simply slicing the fruit and mixing with lemonade, sparkling wine and ice in a huge glass container like this $8 cookie jar I scored at the dollar shop (ironic I know! you can no longer get anything really for a dollar at the dollar shop but still a great buy don't you think?). Sometimes I might swap the white sparkling wine for a chilled Rosé or the lemonade for sweetened hibiscus or white tea. Topped with heaps of mint and ice cubes, it never fails to wow and refresh at gatherings. And it all comes together in less than 15 minutes, most of which is spent slicing the damned fruit.
When not being a diva on the drinks table, this cookie jar actually holds homemade cookies or a bunch of freshly cut flowers when I am too busy to bake. I love how everything has purpose and can be reused. I hope you make this for your next gathering because it is dead simple and you don't need another thing to worry about when you are busy cooking. Don't forget to add some fairy lights. Things are always more magical with fairy lights, aren't they? And don't forget to share your creations with me using #cookrepublic across all social media.
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15 MINUTE FESTIVE FRUIT PUNCH
- 6 teaspoons caster sugar
- 2 granny smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 350 g punnet fresh strawberries, trimmed and quartered
- 2 X 560g can lychees , (with juice)
- 750 ml white sparkling wine, (1 bottle), chilled
- 1 liter lemonade, chilled
- handful of fresh mint leaves to serve
- 2 cups ice cubes
- Place caster sugar in a large 20-cup capacity glass jar/bottle.
- Top with apple slices, strawberries and lychees with juice. Pour wine and lemonade on top of the fruit and mix once gently using a long wooden spoon taking care to not disturb the fruit much.
- Top with ice cubes and fresh mint leaves.
- Use a big vintage cookie jar for your punch. It can be easily sourced from op shops or homeware stores.
- Serve punch with a big ladle or several small ladles and an eclectic mix of glasses.
- Jazz up your punch serving area with fairy lights for an instant festive look.