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Easy entertaining ideas

Life of the party 

Sometimes all you want from life is to kick back with a cool drink, while the delicious aromas of barbecue waft by…enjoying the quintessential Australian summer vibe.

Summer is all about having fun – spending time with friends and family and enjoying the good life. If you’re looking for some entertaining ideas, we’ve got you covered with barbecue marinades and rubs guaranteed to keep them coming back for more. Wash it down with our delicious summer cocktails and mocktails for an instant party.

Dry rubs, web rubs & marinades

Dry rub, wet rub or marinade? Ask ten people what they think, you’ll get ten different answers. Barbecuing is a weirdly personal thing and people have their ways…and their secrets. They won’t be afraid to tell you when they think you’re doing it wrong, either. The trick to a successful barbie is to pick your lane and stick to it. Do what you want to do, act with conviction and never falter in the face of questions.

Luckily, we’re here to help. If you don’t know your wet rubs from dry rubs or marinades, read on for everything you need to know, including how and when to use them. We’ve even included some tasty recipes to get you going.

Dry rubs

Dry rubs are used to season and flavour meat while sealing the juices on the inside. As the name suggests, these rubs use only dry ingredients – salt, sugar, spices, seasonings and dried herbs.

Dry rubs work best when you are cooking with dry heat – like smoking or using a kettle-style bbq. Start with a basic recipe like the one below and tweak it to suit your own taste buds. If you’re adding dried herbs, stick to quick cook cuts, like chicken pieces, steaks, chops and veges.

For slow-and-low style cooking – larger, fattier cuts like brisket, pork shoulder, lamb shoulder or ribs – leave the herbs out, as the delicate flavour will probably get lost. Up the ante on the stronger flavours and include some dried chilli flakes or ground coriander.         

Simple dry rub recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt flakes

  • 3 Tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 ½ Tablespoon paprika

  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

  • ½ - 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

The method couldn’t be simpler, just add the ingredients together and stir till well mixed. This rub works well with beef, pork, chicken or vegetables. Sprinkle an even layer of the rub on all sides of the meat and massage in. An extra rub should keep for a couple of months in a cool, dark place, provided it is in an airtight container.

Wet rubs

Wet rubs sit between dry rubs and marinades. The addition of a little liquid makes it stick to the meat, adding deep flavour whether you are barbecuing, smoking, grilling, roasting or slow cooking. This rub works well on just about anything – beef, pork, chicken or prawns – and the chipotle powder adds a nice kick. Leave it out if you aren’t a fan of too much heat.

Simple wet rub recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and stir until they form a thick paste. Spoon over meat or seafood and spread evenly. You can refrigerate for a little while to let the flavours develop or head straight for the barbecue and get things cooking.


The best thing about a marinade is that it can take you to any corner of the globe. Choose ingredients from your favourite cuisine for just about any type of meat or seafood you can imagine; Thai, Moroccan, Indian, Korean, Brazilian, Japanese, Greek, Turkish…you get the picture.

Marinades usually include one or more similar starter ingredients to rubs, but also incorporate a liquid that helps tenderise the meat. They often use fresh garlic, rather than garlic and onion powder, and usually some fresh herbs as well.

This simple yoghurt and lemon marinade is great on chicken, but would also work well with lamb kebabs, chops or cutlets.

Simple lemon & yoghurt marinade

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 large lemon, juiced

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Handful chopped flat parsley for serving.

Combine all the ingredients except the parsley in a large bowl or zip lock bag. Add the chicken or lamb pieces and cover (or zip). Refrigerate for at least an hour – preferably three or four. Honestly, the longer, the better here. Let the yoghurt get in to do its’ thing, tenderising the meat for the most succulent result.


It wouldn’t be a party without some refreshments. Hot weather calls for drinks that keep you cool, without packing too much of a punch. These classic summer cocktails and mocktails are just what the doctor ordered.

Spritz – Aperol or otherwise

Ah, the ubiquitous spritz is always a crowd pleaser…delicious and summery without being too fruity or sweet, thanks to the use of bitter Italian liqueurs like Aperol and Campari.  

  • 3 parts prosecco

  • 2 parts Aperol or Campari

  • 1 part soda water or sparkling mineral water

  • Ice

  • 1 orange slice

Drop some ice in a glass, pour in the prosecco, add the Aperol and top up with sparkling water. Serve with an orange slice. Serves 1.

No alcohol version

You can easily make a ‘virgin’ version of everyone’s favourite summer drink replacing the prosecco with non-alcoholic sparkling wine and using Lyre’s Italian Spritz instead of Aperol or Campari.


The Hugo is like a cousin of the spritz – part of the same family but just different enough to be interesting.

  • 120ml prosecco

  • 25ml gin

  • 20 ml elderflower cordial

  • 25ml soda water

  • Ice

  • Handful of mint leaves + a sprig of mint to garnish

Scrunch the mint leaves to bruise them and add to the bottom of a glass. Pour in the cordial and gin, allowing the ingredients to meld and infuse for a few minutes. Fill with ice, add the prosecco and top with soda water. Finish with the mint sprig. Serves 1.

No alcohol version

Use non-alcoholic sparkling wine instead of prosecco. The gin replacement is a bit trickier, as it has a truly unique flavour. A splash of tonic water will help bring another layer of complexity to this refreshing drink.


Another popular summer choice, the humble mojito is the ultimate holiday drink. A perfect blend of sweet and sour, topped off with refreshing soda water and plenty of ice.

  • 60ml white rum

  • 20ml lime juice

  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar

  • Handful fresh mint sprigs

  • Soda water to top

  • Ice

  • Lime wedge to garnish

You’ll need a tall, heavy bottomed glass for this one. Add the sugar and about three quarters of the mint sprigs and muddle together, until you can smell the mint (you can use a clean wooden spoon if you don’t have a muddler). Pour in the rum and lime juice, stir to dissolve the sugar. Fill with ice and top with soda water. Give it a good stir to let the flavours combine. Add the lime wedge and remaining mint spring to garnish. Serves 1.


For a tasty variation, cut up some watermelon cubes, throw in the blender and blend till smooth. Strain to catch the pips and excess pulp. In this version of the drink, add the lime juice with the sugar and mint and muddle together, then add the watermelon juice when adding the rum.

No alcohol version

For an alcohol-free mojito, just skip the rum. There’s still enough flavour for the perfect party drink, thanks to the rest of the ingredients.

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