Summer is the time of al fresco dining and entertaining, especially for South Africans. We practically live outdoors over the festive season, entertaining friends and enjoying refreshing meals. If you’re hosting a cocktail party this holiday, make the drinks extra special by garnishing with fresh produce from your garden. 


Lemon and lime are cocktail party staples, adding a tart zing that is unmistakable. Hang slices on the edge of a glass or leave some halves out to finish off drinks. 


Rosemary is typically associated with winter and warm meat dishes, but it’s popularity as a cocktail garnish is on the rise. The earthly flavour pairs well with botanical drinks and the stems double as a stirring stick. 


Nothing beats the freshness of newly crushed mint leaves, especially on hot summer days. Crush the leaves up with some sugar before stirring into your favourite cocktail mix for a sweet and soothing touch. 


Pomegranate seeds add a fruity flavour to any drink. But, since they don’t release much juice until crushed, they are mostly appreciated for their visual appeal, bobbing up and down amongst ice blocks in colourful drinks. 


Blueberries have the same effect as pomegranate seeds when sprinkled into drinks. Crush them gently before adding to cocktails to impart some flavour. 


Cucumber slices are a classic pairing with G&T’s and other botanical drinks. To decorate glasses, slice small cucumbers vertically and wrap the thin slices around the inside edge of the glass, filling with ice to keep them in place. 


For flowers as a delicate cocktail topper, consider using a few summer annual edible flowers. You can also freeze them into ice blocks to make them last a little longer in the glass. 


Prawn cocktail platter

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