This for the days when you’d do anything for a cocktail. When you need something in a flute with a delicate stem. When all you want is something the colour of a bridesmaid’s dress. Something that tastes a little… silly.

New Years is one of those times.

Surely I’m not the only one who is filled with an irrational burst of panic about December 31 each year? It’s the pressure. The captitalised certainty that YOU WILL HAVE FUN.  And of course you’ll stay up to midnight (when really, I can’t be alone here when I say sometimes the most fun involves being tucked up asleep at 10.48 pm). It’s the reason I find Vegas stickily unpleasant. They’re entertainment crutches. They’re for people who need crib notes on what A GOOD TIME looks like.

Lest I sound like a complete grinch, a caveat. There have been terrific new year’s; most spent up at Avoca Beach in Sydney, with ramshackle groups seated around long tables on spindly grass, eating pulled pork and ducking from home made fireworks.

But there have also been terrible ones; mainly marred by the fact that at the end, you just can’t get home. Like mutton dressed up as lamb, or slices of pizza, cold and congealed, there’s nothing sadder than a party that can’t come to its natural close. At the turn of the millennium I found myself  stranded in a harbour side suburb of Sydney at a house party with no food, and underdressed for a cool change that swept through on a Southerly, where we took to raiding the kitchen cupboard for dried instant noodles to sustain us while we waited for taxis that never arrived. I still have a dim recollection for how we got home that night. I think someone’s Mum ended up shuffling out of bed and driving to pick us up.

This is a time when most of all you should celebrate the drivers. Those wonderful people who are going to ensure you get home safe and can wake up on New Year’s Day in a clean bed that’s your own, without corn chip crumbs in your hair.

So this is a drink that does double duty; it’s grand both virgin and pimped.

 It’s joyous and sprightly, using the sweetly small brightness of raspberries. It’s refreshing without being too cloying. It’s something of a bellini, with the minty freshness from a capiroska and the romance of elderflower.

It’s what we often serve at our place as the first drink for parties. I can prep the raspberries and mint ahead of time. All that’s needed is to open a chilled bottle of fizz and pour when folks arrive. It’s an excellent way to jazz up an average bottle of prosecco (if you’ve paid more than £15 for your fizz, good god, why are you doing anything other than drinking it straight?). And it works equally well with sparkling water, just in case that’s what you’re drinking or not. That way nobody needs to have a great big red letter flag that lets them know if you’re participating in the liquid cheer or not.

This New Year’s I’ll be ringing it in from Panama. There are two boys threatening hats and cigars. We’re in a tall building with unimpressive sound insulation (why hello early morning television watchers in room 3121)  but plenty of swimming pools. There’s sure to be a good time had by all. But there’s no pressure, ok?

Raspberry Elderflower Spritz

Quantities per portion.

Nb, if you wanted to make these virgin, substitute the fizz for a nice, not-too-salty sparkling water, like Badoit and be sure to use the elderflower cordial instead of liqueur.

Shopping/foraging

3 raspberries
1 tablespoon of elderflower cordial (or St Germain Liqueur)
150 ml of prosecco/cava/champagne (or sparkling water)
3 mint leaves, rolled into a cigar and sliced into ribbons.

Here’s how we roll

1) Place two of the raspberries at the bottom of a champagne glass and muddle with a teaspoon until it’s a puree. Pour over the elderflower liqueur or the cordial.

2) Top up with chilled sparkling wine or water.

3) Garnish with the mint slivers and a fresh raspberry.