Blackbird Goods Soirée | Winter Edition


Arrangement by Kim from Lushka Flowers.


This is one of the things I love most about owning a store, the ability to bring people together and create community. Upon moving to the Hawkes Bay two years ago, I was struck by the clear definitions of the seasons here. Growing up in the far north of Whangarei Heads, where the winters are mild but endlessly wet, it was a welcome change. When the seasons change, there is no blurring or merging into six months of dismal weather, you have the leaves falling and crisp mornings of Autumn, the bright days and blossoms of spring, the hot golden days of summer, and the frosty and beautiful tones of grey in winter ( I swear, they are actually very pretty! ) So upon opening the store, we really wanted to celebrate those seasons in a unique way, with a gathering, some delicious wine ( of course ) and showcase a local talent with a focus on the season. For Summer of last year I made a foraged wreath and we drank sparkling wine, For Autumn the ever talented Ash from Organic Ash made an outstanding cake and showed us how she likes to decorate hers, and we drank a taaaasty drop of Rod McDonald Rosé. So for winter, I didn’t want it to be brushed over. Although winter tends to be the least favourite for most people, I really think there is a lot of beauty in winter. So I enlisted the fantastic Kim from Lushka flowers, who, like I believes that winter has a lot going for it! To pair with the season we made a spicy batch of syrah mulled wine with the help of our friends over at Rod McDonald Wines . Here is the ( a slight adaption from a Jamie Oliver ) recipe!

  • The juice of 2 mandarins/clementines
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg , for grating
  • 1 vanilla pod , halved lengthways
  • 2 bottles Rod McDonald Quarter Acre Syrah


This makes enough for around 15 people. Peel large sections of peel from your lemon and lime using a peeler, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the mandarin/clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover.

Let this simmer and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes. It’s important to make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.

When it’s almost a syrup, turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.


Winter warmth in a glass!