Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, it’s a great opportunity to get together with friends and family and tuck into an indulgent feast prepared by many loving hands. Together with all the great food being served, why not use a little time and effort to create come fun and inspired cocktails.

The family esky may go hand-in-hand with an Aussie Christmas, but a great punch sure does go a long way. Sure, it may be too hot for continental classics like warm eggnog or hot buttered rum, but a great cocktail jug can be just as indulgent. So we spoke with some southern cocktail aficionados, ie. Miss Pearls from Madame Brussels in Melbourne, who told us all about just how to complement an excessively indulgent table of food with equally decadent drinks.

We advise using fresh and vibrant seasonal flavours in Australian Christmas cocktail creations, and in saying so, she points to the venue’s Summer Splendour as the first point of reference.

“This cocktail tastes like an Australian Christmas; it’s all about summer berries and citruses, so you’ll cut through the lunch ham with plenty of good antioxidants and you won’t have to feel too guilty about that second or third refill,” she says.

Spicier flavours also have a place in summer cocktails. Madame Brussels’ special Christmas jug, christened Dunking For Cherries, is based on the profile of a spiced rum and gives you a subtle reminder that most of our customs are influenced by the joys of a white winter Christmas. However, here we give the cocktail a good Aussie summer touch with some lime, dry ginger ale and refreshing mint leaves.

So after passing on some inspiring advice about how to make the best Christmas day drinks, Miss Pearls parted with some wise words, and told us you always need five key ingredients to make the ultimate holiday cocktail, guaranteed to put a smile on all faces.

Miss Pearls’ 5 Golden Rules:

  1. Alcohol (“well, obviously”)
  2. Something sweet (“like sugar syrup”)
  3. Something sour (“like lime juice”)
  4. Something bitter
  5. Something weak

A self-confessed “garnish queen”, Miss Pearls also stresses, “You’ve got to make your mix pretty. Get some colour in there – fruits, berries, mint leaves, cucumber – anything fresh!”

Recipes

Dunking for Cherries

Ingredients (for a 1 litre jug)
• 4 shots dark or spiced rum
• 1 shot lime juice
• half and half apple juice and ginger beer
• several good dashes of Angostura Bitters
• plenty of mint, lime wedges and cherries to garnish

Mix rum and lime juice together in a jug, top with ice, then add all other ingredients and mix well.

Summer Splendour

• 2 1/2 shots Martini Rosato (vermouth)
• 2 1/2 shots strawberry schnapps
• 2 shots lemon juice
• sugar syrup to taste
• apple juice to top up
• some sparkling wine
• strawberry slices and berries to garnish

Mix vermouth and strawberry schnapps together with lemon juice. Top up with apple juice and add a touch of sparkling wine to add a bit of fizz. Add sugar syrup to taste and liberally mix strawberry slices and berries throughout.