Festive Cocktails for Yuletide Cheer

Written by
Vintage Cellars
February 16, 2017
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We offer up 3 stunning Christmas cocktail recipes that will beat the Australian summer heat as they impress the palate with creativity and finesse.

A northern hemisphere Christmas: log fires crackling, snow falling and people wearing reindeer-emblazoned woollen jumpers. They sip eggnog or warm brandy and watch excited children unwrap presents from under the tree. That's all lovely and eggnog is delicious, but what do you do when it's 35 degrees and the ground is too hot to stand on?

The drinks of a Down Under Christmas need to be seasonally appropriate, but we needn't miss out on the festive cheer in our glasses. We’ll take a look at some incredibly easy and summer-friendly Christmas cocktails for sipping beside the inflatable pool.

Pimms, darling

First, make sure there is plenty of ice. Our first drink draws on a British theme and uses Pimms No. 1. Pimms No.1 is a gin-based tonic that is utterly refreshing, and this drink couldn't be simpler. Take a large glass - cocktail types call this a 'highball'. Fill it to the brim with ice, as the more ice in the glass, the longer it stays cool. Pour in 45ml of Pimms and top up with lemonade if you have a sweet tooth or soda if you want something drier. Add 5 leaves of bruised mint and a chopped up strawberry. This red and green sparkling glass of simplicity will be as refreshing as the glass is tall. 

Eggnog shake

If you feel you must have eggnog, let's make one that is more milkshake than egg-based drink. In fairness, this one does require a little preparation. We can take a few liberties in this summer version, as is the non-traditionalist Aussie way, so if you want to skip the heated cinnamon infusion, go right ahead. You need milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, Cognac or brandy, dark rum, sugar and cream. You can make this in a large batch, but this recipe is for 2 drinks - you just need to be able to multiply to make more. 300ml of full cream milk, 100ml of runny cream, 30ml of the exquisite Remy XO Cognac (a quality brandy will suffice) and 15ml of Angostura 7YO Butterfly Rum. We like to stir a teaspoon of brown sugar into the rum and brandy first. On the stove, heat the milk with a stick of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of white sugar. Take it off the stove just before it boils, and set it aside to cool. Once cold, take a cup of ice and add this to your blender, pour in the milk, cream and spirits and blitz in the blender. (If the stove sounds like a bad idea, use ground cinnamon instead.) Serve in a short glass, or 'lowball', and garnish with a grating of nutmeg. If you want to take this to the next level, skip the cream add a scoop of ice cream to create a thick shake version.

Red Valley XO

Christmas cake is deliciously balanced in flavour, so why not make a liquid version? This is a built cocktail, so all you need is a measuring cup or jigger and a steady hand. If you don't have a steady hand after Christmas lunch or dinner, you can make it in advance, or simply, don't drink so much during the meal. For the dried fruit element you'll need fortified wine. Something from Rutherglen will fit the bill nicely. Start with a tumbler full of ice. Pour in 30ml of Campbells Rutherglen Muscat and 30ml of St Agnes XO brandy. To this add 15ml of Vok White Creme De Cacao and a drop or two of Akropolis Ouzo. Garnish your creation with a big twist of orange, and there you have it: a liquid Christmas cake cocktail like no other.

There are many ways to approach Christmas lunch with creativity and flair, and they can be as simple as a festive cocktail like one of these beauties. It is easy to overdo everything at this time of year, so keep the food festive without being extravagant, and make your drinks in advance so that you can relax and enjoy more time with your nearest and dearest.