The end of winter brings new seasonal ingredients. You may have an idea of how to use them on a plate, but there’s a lot to be said for adding them to your glass, too. We talked to Sydney’s bartenders about seasonal ingredients and how to craft a welcome drink fit for the new season.

The Baxter Inn’s Brendan Keown finds that as spring hits, bar goers are less likely to want brash, heavy cocktails. With the new season, the flavor profile changes to lighter, more zesty drinks, and these can be made much more affordably. “Welcome drinks realise these considerations by being low in alcohol, simple, approachable and tasty,” says Keown. “Rather than the spirit being the hero, as in classic cocktails, it sits in the background.”

Welcome drinks also lend themselves well to the introduction of seasonal fruits, with the reduced alcohol content allowing space for subtle citric flavours. But smaller portions of alcohol require precise balancing, so it’s important to use high quality spirits. A gin like Tanqueray No. TEN, or a vodka distilled specifically for cocktails, such as Ketel One, will add depth and nuance to a cocktail even when applied in small quantities.

Keown and The Baxter Inn team are working on a spring list of new cocktails based on what’s coming into season. “It will have a couple of fresh, lighter alcohol drinks. We can’t give away our secrets just yet.” One thing certain to stay is The Baxter Inn’s most popular welcome drink, is its signature Whiskey ‘n’ Apple. “One shot of Tennessee whiskey, served tall with fresh-pressed Granny Smith apple juice fits all the parameters: low-strength, simple, tasty.”

Manuel Alvarez of Hazy Rose and the newly opened Peg Leg in Pyrmont, makes a fruit-inspired champagne-cocktail called the Pyrmont Cobbler. He says it’s the perfect Spring welcome drink, thanks to its low alcohol content and fresh, summery profile. “Cobbler's are known for using fresh fruit with the combination of wine or fortified wines,” says Alvarez. “Our inspiration is using fruits like strawberry, orange and pineapple, which are always available in Australia, along with vanilla for spice.”

We asked Alvarez for his favourite spring welcome drink recipe.

Manuel Alvarez’s Pyrmont Cobbler
Approximately 1 standard drink

Ingredients:
30ml Tanqueray No. TEN Gin
15ml Orange Acid (orange juice with some citric and tartaric acid added)
20ml Strawberry and Vanilla Cordial
20ml Pineapple Juice
15ml Dry Fino Sherry

Method:
Swizzle the drink and serve over crush ice on an enamel mug.