Credit: Ernest Shiu

Festive cocktails for New Year celebrations

By Ernest Shiu

Try these easy-to-make cocktails wherever you find yourself this Hogmanay.

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and, amid the new nationwide lockdown, this year’s celebrations will be very different. With the closure of pubs and bars during such a festive occasion, a homemade cocktail can be an alternative way to keep our “spirits” up! Bearing in mind the limited tools, ingredients, and budgets that readers may have, the following recipes are simple to make and wallet-friendly.

Berry Rummy Punch

Before champagne became the iconic symbol of conviviality, punch was the must-have drink for celebrating New Year. Popular during the 18th and 19th centuries, punch was brought to the west by British East India Company merchants. Indeed, with its name derived from the Hindi word “panch”, meaning five in English, punch usually consists of five ingredients – fruits, spices, sugar, water, and rum. Its sweetness and fruitiness make it a perfect drink for these annual celebrations. Although indoor gathering restrictions will soon be in place again, punch is a great concoction to share with your flatmates or families. As a big fan of berries, here is my rum punch recipe – Berry Rummy Punch.

Recipe (two servings)

80ml rum

60ml syrup

40ml fresh lime juice

320ml soda water

10g fresh raspberries

10g fresh blueberries

10g fresh strawberries



  1. Freeze raspberries, blueberries and strawberries overnight.
  2. Combine rum, syrup, fresh lime juice and soda water and ice.
  3. Place the mixture in the fridge and serve chilled.
  4. Garnish with frozen berries.

Old-fashioned Whisky Highball

Hogmanay, the Scottish celebration of New Year’s Eve, is traditionally celebrated with fire ceremonies, ceilidh dancing and a tumbler of whisky. Indeed, with whisky being an indispensable element of this special occasion, having a nice whisky cocktail will perfectly complement virtual Hogmanay this year. My personal recommendation is nothing more than the well-known whisky highball. The cocktail requires three ingredients – whisky, club soda, and ice. Classic yet refreshing, the drink is definitely the go-to cocktail for celebrating Hogmanay at home, alone or with your loved ones.

Recipe (one serving)

50ml whisky

150ml club soda or ginger ale


1 strip of lemon or orange zest (optional)


  1. Fill a tall glass with ice.
  2. Pour in whisky and top the glass up with club soda or ginger ale.
  3. Drop in the lemon or orange zest.
  4. Stir in a gentle motion to bring out the flavours.

The Pink Fiesta

Refreshing and versatile, gin has gained its reputation as a celebratory drink in recent years. From the classic G&T to the playful Singapore Sling, the flexibility of gin enables it to fit into different occasions and festivals throughout the year. With its rise in popularity among the younger demographic, gin currently comes with various flavours and colours, giving us ample options to come up with our own cocktails. I recently came up with this cocktail recipe – The Pink Fiesta. With hints of freshness from mint and sweetness from apples, the pink cocktail is a delight for anyone who fancies an Instagrammable drink!

Recipe (two servings)

80ml gin

30ml elderflower cordial

150ml apple juice

40ml cranberry juice

200 soda water

10g cranberries

A few apple slices




  1. Mix gin with elderflower cordial, soda water, apple and cranberry juice.
  2. Add ice into the glasses before pouring in the mixture.
  3. Garnish the cocktails with apple slices, mint and cranberries.

It has been a troubling year for local businesses amid the spread of coronavirus. To show support to the community, you are encouraged to purchase the cocktail ingredients from small independent shops and alcohols from local distilleries. After all, while having fun mixing cocktails and celebrating such a cheerful festival at home, we can all help to realise the new year resolutions of shop-owners in our neighbourhood.


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