Australia’s top bartender’s tips for the best New Year’s Eve drinks

Australia’s best bartender Nick Tesar says tropical tang and a revival of classic cocktails are shaping up to be the top tipple trends this summer.

Tesar, who pours drinks at Melbourne’s Bar Liberty and was named the Diageo World Class Australian Bartender of the Year in July, says he is expecting to see a rise in fruity favourites and has already observed the resurgence of a classic drink revered by 007 himself.

“People are really enjoying the elegance, simplicity and cleanliness of martinis,” he says of James Bond’s signature drink.

“They aren’t necessarily having six of them but they’re having one or two and really appreciating it.”

Tesar says the beverage sippers of recent times have realigned their priorities to focus on quality over quantity, “drinking less but drinking better”, and are gravitating towards less alcoholic options.

“Local and seasonal ingredients have been a big thing for a while but it’s getting stronger,” Tesar says.

“Lockdowns over the past couple years have shown people what’s being done around them and there are more and better local producers.

“We’re more conscious of low-alcohol cocktails or cocktails that allow us to keep going all night as opposed to the trends from 10 years ago, with popular powerful cocktails like the Zombie,” he says of the potent tropical beverage that delivers what it promises.

While Tesar pins margaritas as “the drink of the summer”, they aren’t the only classics having their time in the sun – negronis and martinis are also sticking around as the New Year approaches.

“They’re time and place cocktails, they can be done as an aperitif and digestif, they’re all about simplicity and the quality of ingredients,”

he says.

Hailing from Queensland, Tesar is seeing tropical fruit-themed cocktails in our near futures this holiday season, which couldn’t come at a better time for Australian mango farmers, who are currently wrestling with an oversupply of the sweet, sticky fruit.

“I’ll be drinking a mango daiquiri this summer – I had a mango tree in my backyard as a kid and didn’t know what I was missing out on until I didn’t have it any more,” he says.

“These holidays Australian drinking trends are very much centred around escapism.”

Read on for five of Tesar’s favourite cocktails you can make at home to celebrate the New Year.


● 50ml blanco tequila

● 20ml Marionette Blue Curacao

● 20ml lime juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail tin. Shake with ice and dump all contents into a rocks glass with a salt rim.

“Fun cocktails are certainly back and tequila is on the menu. This is just a fun drink with a mandarin finish coming from the Marionette Blue Curacao.”


● 25ml Brogan’s Way Strawberry & Cream Gin

● 5ml honey

● 5ml sugar syrup

● 15ml lemon juice

● 75ml sparkling wine

Combine gin, lemon, sugar and honey in a cocktail tin. Shake with ice and strain into a flute, then top with sparkling wine.

“This is a fantastic expression of a sparkling wine cocktail – a little bit festive with the pink gin and honey.


● 60ml dry gin

● 15ml dry vermouth

● 5ml orange curacao

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze a lemon twist over the top and serve with olives on the side.

“The martini is making a comeback. This version is a little softer with the lick of sugar and slightly wet. Get ready to host by batching with 10ml of water a serve and keep it in the freezer until needed.”


● 30ml sloe gin (Tesar uses Brookie’s)

● 30ml Marionette apricot brandy liqueur

● 30ml lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail tin. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

“A summer banger – the Brookie’s Davidson Plum Gin gives it a very unique tart Australian finish.”


● 50ml dark rum

● 10ml sugar syrup

● 20ml lime juice

● 1 mango cheek

Combine all ingredients with five ice cubes in a blender and buzz for 30 seconds. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a sprig of mint.

“The mangoes are incredible this year and when blended give the cocktail a luscious texture.”


● 60ml Amontillado Sherry, Madeira or Australian Apera

● 10ml Lemon Juice

● 10ml Sugar Syrup

● 1 Strawberry Quartered

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail tin. Shake with ice and dump all contents into a rocks glass. Garnish with mint and seasonal berries.

“A low alcohol, high flavour option. Fresh and zippy, with a little berry kick.”

Originally published as Australia’s top bartender says shake up your New Year’s Eve drinks with the tastes of summer

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