Drinks Uncategorized

{spirits} Three fresh cocktails to announce the start of Spring!

September 13, 2023

With fields of flowers opening their bright faces towards the sun, and a glittering green hue across the mountains, you can’t really miss the arrival of Spring in Cape Town. We  might still be feeling a lingering chill from a brutal winter, but let’s face it, the season is changing and I think that is enough to celebrate!

I was recently gifted three bottles of Halewood South Africa spirits, including my all-time favourite, Whitley Neill Protea & Hibiscus Gin, as well as the decadent Musgrave Copper Vanilla Brandy and a cheeky bottle of Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey.

I’ve put together three garden-inspired cocktails to announce the start of Spring- these are not only deliciously easy to make, but also garnished with garden staples, so all you need to do is mix and enjoy!

Spring Nectar with Whitley Neill Protea &  Hibiscus Gin

It’s the purple bottle, by the way! Distinctively floral, it’s the gorgeous citrus undertones that I find truly delicious. Beautifully mixed  only with a quality tonic water, this gin offers an exciting palate on it’s own or mixed into a cocktail.

With Spring Nectar, I wanted to enhance the citrus notes, but without overpowering the delicate aromas of the botanicals, boosting it with a bit of rose water.


2 measures Whitley Neill Protea & Hibiscus Gin

3/4 measure freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 measure rose water

1/2 measure honey syrup

Ice and cocktail shaker

Coupe glass and lemon ribbon for garnish


Chill your coupe glass in the freezer whilst you prepare the cocktail.

In a cocktail shaker, add all your ingredients and ice (except the garnish). Shake to chill and strain into a chilled glass.

Garnish with lemon ribbon.

Vanilla Vacation with Musgrave Copper Vanilla Brandy

Another staple in The Little House, I particularly love this vanilla  brandy from Musgrave Spirits. Musgrave Copper Vanilla is a three year aged pot-still brandy subtly infused with African vanilla, and in my opinion, best enjoyed neat over ice. Smooth, aromatic and with a hit of gentle vanilla on the nose, this is a gorgeous spirit for any occasion.

Vanilla Vacation is exactly that – hinting at warmer weather, the fresh scents and fruits of Spring, and of the prospect of summer holidays in the not-so-far distance. Using fresh fruit juice instead of cordials or syrups make this cocktail not only less sweet, but also lower in calories.


2 measures Musgrave Copper Vanilla Brandy

1 measure Disaronno, or any almond liqueur

Splash of fresh pineapple juice

Splash of fresh cranberry juice

Ice and cocktail shaker

Collins glass and citrus rounds to garnish


In a cocktail shaker, add all your ingredients and ice (except the garnish). Shake to chill, and if shaken well, the mix should be a little frothy at the top.

Strain into a chilled glass filled with ice. Add froth and garnish with citrus.

Strawberry Basil Smash with Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey

What is Spring without a strawberry-inspired mixed drink! This one might seem quite unusual for a whiskey cocktail, but trust me, the fresh strawberry, basil and ginger makes this mixed drink the ultimate sundowner. The small batch, triple distilled, blended Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey is perfect on the rocks, but also offers a great canvas for fresh mixes. Without overpowering the mellow notes of wood and smoke or the spicier hints, the Strawberry Basil Smash elevates the earthy goodness of the spirit.


2 measures Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey

5 fresh strawberries, cored and quartered

fresh basil leaves

3/4 measure freshly squeezed lime juice

Ice and cocktail shaker

Ginger beer to top

Rocks glass and fresh ginger and strawberry slices to garnish


Add strawberries and basil leaves to the cocktail shaker. Add lime juice and muddle.

Add the whiskey and ice, and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Top with ginger beer and garnish.

The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.


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