Brisbane was steamy hot over the weekend, and all I wanted to do was stay inside in the air conditioning, sipping iced water and fruity cocktails. Everyone’s behaviour changes on days like these. We move slowly, seek out the shade, and carry water and hats everywhere. The clubbing district is quiet at night with everyone at home or at the beach. Appetite’s come and go; mostly go.
The nights are the worst. Our single, ageing air conditioning unit can’t work hard enough to reach the bedroom in the upper-back corner of the apartment so at night we reluctantly make do with open windows and a pedestal fan. The lightest sheet cannot even be contemplated. Come the morning we’re groggy with dehydration, for which the best cure is not the glass of tepid water on the bedside table, but a large bowl of chilled watermelon.
Thanks to the wonders of modern science, we always know when it’s going to be an especially hot day. Forewarned, last Saturday morning we rushed about doing everything that had to be done, sweating and complaining, then turned the air on, had another cold shower and basked in cool relief. The afternoon passed slowly and slothfully watching movies on the couch. From time to time one of us would step out onto the balcony for a moment to marvel at the oppressive air, thick with heat and humidity.
Hot weather demands cool refreshment, and Saturday afternoon was the perfect opportunity to try the Cocospritz: a wine-based punch that features hydrating coconut water and raspberries floating prettily in a pool of pale pink. I tweaked the recipe just a little and the resulting punch was so delicately fruity and lusciously cool that we polished off the entire bowl with ease. This is a cocktail with a very different tenor to the boozy drinks I have been choosing lately (Negroni and variations) which are more suited to the darkness of winter nights. Think poolside summer party for the Cocospritz, bikinis, sunscreen and salad. It’s as cooling as a fresh breeze…and I could really do with another, right now.
1 bottle (750 ml) chilled white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc or Semillon
1 cup (250g) chilled coconut water, or more to taste
1 cup (250ml) chilled lemonade
2 limes, thinly sliced
1 cup (150g) frozen raspberries
Fresh mint leaves
Place the limes, raspberries and mint into a large bowl or jug. Top with the liquid ingredients and stir to combine. Taste the punch and add more coconut water if desired (single serve cartons of coconut water are generally 330g each, and I ended up using the entire amount). When you add the liquid the raspberries will instantly release some of their colour, but if you want a deeper hue, crush a few berries against the side of the bowl with the back of a spoon. Ladle or pour the punch into glasses with ice cubes. Theoretically, this recipe makes enough for 6-8 servings but two hot people can easily polish it off in a single hot afternoon. I would double the recipe for a party.