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COCKTAILS WITH MEL: Recipes for mood-lifting aperitifs

The Newcastle Live team is shedding a little tear this week. Our resident booze aficionado, Mel is off to mix her legendary office cocktails for another team.

And while we’ll miss her smiling face, amazing digital skills, passion for Newcastle (she’s the Mayor of Carrodise) and her general awesomeness, we’re also a little glum that she won’t be sharing any more of her mood-lifting aperitifs with us.

So, as a parting gift to Newcastle Live, we asked her to give us a few recipes so we can light the candle (at both ends) to her marvellous mixology, in her absence.

Mel’s Mojito

Mel has a mint plant going off in her garden and she’s not afraid to use it!


  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 ½ – 2 shots white rum
  • ½ cup soda water
  • Plenty of ice


Place mint leaves and two lime wedges into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler (or end of a wooden spoon) to crush the mint and lime to release the mint and lime oils. Add the other two lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Don’t strain the glass, you want it to have some full pieces of lime flesh and mint leaf in your mix. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with soda water. Gently stir and garnish with another sprig of mint.

#PROTIP: Sip away through a stainless steel straw for extra refreshment feels.

A cheeky sangria Jug

As you know we love a good jug here at Newcastle Live. And sharing is caring.


  • ½ a 750ml bottle of Red Wine
    (nothing too fancy but not awful either, something cheap, yummy and cheerful)
  • ¼ – ½ cup of Brandy
    (whatever you or your Nanna have in the cupboard)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Apple + 1 Orange chopped into pieces
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges, gently squeezed
  • ½ a large bottle of chilled Lemonade
  • Heaps of ice


Add everything into a jug, gently stir and enjoy in this glorious Newcastle sunshine!

Summer lovin’ watermelon margaritas

The sun’s out. Time for a summer style drink.


  • 1 ½ cups watermelon juice (about ½ a small watermelon, see method)
  • 2 ½ shots of lime juice
  • 5 shots of your fave tequila
  • Sea salt to line the rim of your glasses


Pack your blender full of the cubed ripe watermelon and blitz to create the watermelon juice. Once you have a juicy, pulpy consistency strain the juice into a measuring jug – you don’t want any seeds in your cocktail!

Add the tequila, lime juice (and the zest of the lime for a little extra kick) and your fresh watermelon juice into the blender with heaps of ice

Blend until you have the desired consistency

Pour into salt-rimmed glasses, garnish with a lime slice if you wish and enjoy
Makes two cocktails or one ‘supersize’ afternoon party starter!

A White Russian for Dan

Need an afternoon pick me up? Here’s a cocktail inspired by the original Gustave Tops creation in 1949.


  • 30ml vodka
  • 30ml coffee liqueur
  • 30ml pouring cream
  • Ice


Fill a short glass with ice
Add vodka and coffee liqueur
Add pouring cream and stir, slowly

#PROTIP: Replace the cream with some slightly defrost coffee bean ice-cream!

A Spicy Bloody Mary

Inspired by a Red Snapper cocktail from the new Newcastle bar The Ship Inn located on Hunter Street and sure to spice up any breakfast, brunch or… Afternoons!


  • 2 shots vodka
  • 4 shots tomato juice
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A squirt of Sriracha chili sauce
  • 4 dashes of Tabasco
  • Generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper


Fill a tall glass with ice. Add all liquid ingredients and stir well. Top with salt & pepper.

And now, garnish!

You can use celery sticks, beef jerky, pickles, olives, grilled halloumi, potato chips – you name, go for it! P.S. If you want to dial down the spice replace the Sriracha chilli sauce with Worcestershire sauce.