The best part of entertaining in summer is how relaxed it can be. The warmer weather and new year mood calls for fresh, lighter finger food to serve with your summer drinks. Whether you’re serving up a chilled rosé or an intriguing limited-release ale, these easy-to-make bites make great matches that won’t weigh you down.
A light, zesty rosé makes for perfect summer drinking, and it’s an ideal match with the combination of flavours and crunchy textures in vegetarian rice paper rolls. To make them, prepare rice paper wrappers following packet directions and fill with cucumber and carrot matchsticks, sliced avocado, honey-soy marinated tofu slices, and fresh mint, coriander or basil leaves. Serve with Vietnamese dipping sauce. Short on time? Plate up crudités of carrots and celery for the same crunchy effect.
Match with: Xanadu Circa 77 Rosé, a lively, fruity wine with watermelon and grapefruit notes and crisp finish. Superbly refreshing served chilled.
Who doesn’t love fish tacos? Whisk lemon or lime juice, fish sauce, salt and pepper and use to briefly marinate white fish fillet pieces. Cook on the barbecue then serve in mini soft tortillas with avocado and a diced papaya and cucumber salsa.
Match with: Range Brewing Glow Up IPA. This Brisbane brewery makes an ever-changing array of exciting, limited release beers, including this super-juicy IPA with its melon, passionfruit and lychee flavours.
Make the most of one of summer’s most refreshing fruits by serving them fresh cut on a platter. Feeling fancy? Cut watermelon into 2-3cm cubes and combine with crumbled feta and shredded fresh mint for a refreshing summer snack.
Match with: Aloha 65 Vodka Cocktail. With pineapple, ginger and a hint of chilli, this puts that relaxed beach feeling within reach wherever you are.
Fresh and reminiscent of the ocean, oysters are a perfect summer party snack. Top them with a light, refreshing dressing for those hot summer days. Finely dice shallot and cucumber, and mix with rice wine vinegar, lemon zest, salt, pepper and a little sugar. The cucumber is the key here, as it pairs perfectly with botanical-flavoured gins.
Match with: Hendrick’s Gin Neptunia. The signature rose and cucumber notes of Hendrick’s gin are paired with coastal thyme, lime and sea kelp in this herby, fresh and delicious mixer. Use it with soda water in a gin fizz or savour the flavours by drinking it neat and sipping slowly.
If you’re enjoying a glass of Champagne, smoked salmon toasts work perfectly, with the toasted bread slices balancing the richness of the salmon. Spread toasted sourdough baguette slices with soft goat’s cheese and top with smoked salmon. Sprinkle with chopped chives and dill, lemon zest and a drizzle of lemon juice.
Match with: Piper Heidsieck Brut NV Champagne. From a Champagne house that’s been making great wine since 1785, this is a medium-bodied champagne with apple, citrus and subtle toasty notes.
The charry-salty-sweet notes of grilled yakitori chicken are a great balance to the spritz and sweetness of a flavoured vodka soda, and served up as mini chicken skewers, this makes perfect party fare. Cube chicken thighs or breast fillets and marinate in bought teriyaki sauce for an hour. Cut asparagus spears into 3cm pieces. Thread chicken and asparagus onto soaked short bamboo skewers. Cook in a grill pan or on a barbecue.
Match with: Billson’s Creamy Soda Vodka Mixed Drink. If a vodka soda is your favourite summer drink, or if you’re a fan of classic creaming soda, try this twist that brings the two together.
It’s happy hour and the refreshing tang of labne is a great partner for G&T. Swirl the strained yoghurt in a bowl with olive oil and roasted chickpeas and top with sweet vine-ripened cherry tomatoes. Serve with flatbread.
Match with: a bottle of Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin & Tonic. No mixing required with this full-flavoured gin and tonic, made with sustainably foraged marine and native Australian botanicals.