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Pool Party Cocktail Recipes!

Katrina Valkenburg enjoys some adult fun at the pool.


FOR some people pool parties evoke memories of a childhood long passed, of hot summer days, balmy nights, gentle sea breezes, games and laughter. Although I too have similar memories, I have a couple of additional ones that make me quietly giggle whenever I think of them.

I grew up in the swinging ‘60s in Sydney at a time when pools had become quite commonplace. My best friends had a kidney-shaped pool, now terribly passé, and it was the best babysitter our mothers had – we would frolic for hours on end while they prepared lunch, sipped on cold glasses of Mosel and sang along to the heart throbs of the day, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis.

On balmy evenings, they would hold cocktail parties to which my brother and I were always invited, presumably to keep their own children happily entertained.

We loved performing for them – one of my favourites was ‘mermaids and lost sailors’ which never failed to elicit chuckles from the assorted guests, no doubt due entirely to our complete innocence.

After we were sent to bed, the party would continue on as the parents took to the cool waters and become more voluble with hilarity that would crescendo to high pitched squeals as they splashed about doing who knows what?

Many years later I discovered the adult fun that could be had in a swimming pool, preferably in the tropics where the temperature remains that of the human body all through the night.

The ingredients required are as easy as:
1.Good friend/s
2.Plastic glasses
3.A pitcher full to the brim with desired quencher (see below):

You can now buy all manner of attractive plastic glasses and pitchers, including wine glasses, high balls, beer steins, Champagne flutes and tumblers. What no one wants is a broken glass in the swimming pool, which recently occurred at my house. The pool needed three whole days to be drained before removing the glass and refilling – which took another four days. Requiring yet another 24 hours clearing the water of sediments, it meant I was ‘out of water’ for eight days – way too much time away from the fun and games provided by mummy’s little helper. If the long days and even longer nights have addled your brain and you are without inspiration, here are a couple of my favourite pool party recipes:

The Campari Blush

A truly refreshing cocktail that’s extremely quick to make and even quicker to imbibe.

Start with adding crushed ice to a good sized tumbler, add a healthy quantity of vodka, wave tonic over and add a good dash of Campari to the top giving the drink a pretty blush. Add a slice of orange or lemon.


Night and Day
This cocktail should not be stirred so that the layers of different ingredients come at the drinker one by one.

Add the ingredients in the following order to a large wine goblet filled with crushed ice.
4 ½ tbsp champagne or a good, dry sparkling wine like
3 tsp cognac
2 tsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp Campari
Sangria made with Rosé

In recent years, sangria has made a much-welcomed comeback to the Island of the Gods, most notably abundantly available at Ku Dé Ta. The trick to making a really memorable (or unmemorable) sangria is to marinate your desired fruit (strawberries, cranberries and oranges not only marinate beautifully well together but they also look gorgeous) for as many hours as you’ve got up your sleeve in a good strong spirit like rum or cognac (or both).

Add the wine, a little orange juice and top with a spritzer such as soda (Sprite may be substituted for those requiring a little more vim) then fill to the brim with loads of large ice cubes.

NB: There are a zillion styles of rosé on the market. My preference for this sangria would be a medium bodied wine that is just off dry. A great example available in Bali is the Leyda Costero Rosé made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes.


Planter’s Punch
3 tbsp white rum (preferably Bacardi)
8 tbsp orange juice
8 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp Grenadine
splash lime juice
3 tbsp dark rum

Fill half a highball glass with crushed ice – add ingredients in order apart from dark rum, stir, then float the dark rum on top. Garnish with anything sliced.


The Dreaded Bali Long Island Iced Tea (best served after 6pm and before midnight if you want to survive the party).
2 tsp white rum
2 tsp vodka
2 tsp gin
2 tsp silver tequila (white)
2 tsp Cointreau
juice of one lime
2 tsp coconut sugar syrup (recipe follows)*
6 tbsp coke

Stir all but the last ingredient well with ice for about 30 seconds in a pitcher to chill. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes and a twist of lemon. Add chilled cola and finish with a sprig of fresh mint.

NB Don’t be put off by the quantities listed. 2 tsps doesn’t sound like much but when you add them all together it packs a mighty punch!

*Coconut sugar syrup Add equal measures of coconut sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring slowly to the boil until the sugar is well dissolved – around 3-5 minutes. (If coconut sugar is unavailable, substitute with caster sugar.)


The Quintessential Pimm’s No.1 Cup Cocktail
For my money, this is the best all round Pool Party Cocktail, it looks pretty in the glass, has loads of flavour and you can nibble the extras as a snack without having to get out of the pool. Put all ingredients into a large pitcher, fill with ice and Bob’s your Uncle – you’re off and running…..or splashing….or……or ….. or ……

½ bottle Pimm’s No. 1 Cup (based on London Gin)
A good splash of gin (not essential but desirable)
Equal measures lemonade & ginger ale
A few mint leaves, sliced oranges & finely pared cucumber rind.

Wine On.

Katrina Valkenburg is a wine consultant and educator. All correspondence to katrinav@mac.com