While the majority of the world has a white christmas, with steaming mugs of hot chocolate, warm eggnog and mittens galore, we here in Australia are normally swanning around in as little as possible, trying to not let the heat exhaustion get to us before the turkey does. Well, I guess it really depends on where you are in Aus, but speaking from Melbourne, Christmas can be anywhere between 12 and 42 degrees, yes in the middle of summer! So it really ends up depending on what the weather man throws at us when it comes to drinks around Christmas. Some years you'll need the hot chocolate, others, a nice refreshing cocktail! As an optimist I prefer to think about what cocktails we'll be having this year, especially as it has become my 'duty' in the fam to decide the drinks menu for the days festivities, so here are my go to's, and the ones I'm planning on trying this year!
But first some backgound! I am the middle child of three girls. Both my sisters are not very fond of cocktails or alcohol that actually taste like alcohol, so anything with large amounts of vodka and gin are left to my parents and myself, not that were complaining! However it does mean I must find drinks that drown out the 'alcohol' flavour with ingredients they'll love. I know, I know, why not just serve them non alcoholic cocktails, but really, thats just no fun, for anyone! :)
The go to that everyone in the fam loves is Pimms! A gin based Liqueur best served with a crazy amount of strawberries, orange, lemon, lime and ofcourse cucumber, topped off with lemonade or dry ginger ale. This is seriously one of the best summer cocktails! So refreshing and yummy! But beware when ordering it at a bar, only experienced and good bar tenders know how to truly serve Pimms! The ones that have never heard of it will just serve you Pimms with lemonade and perhaps a slice of lemon, if youre lucky! For an authentic and seriously well made Pimms, head to Madame Brussles in Bourke st, where it is traditionally served in a jug overflowing with fruit! The best!
For Christmas day, I recommend serving it in a large jug, stuffed full of the above fruit, topped with your choice of lemonade or dry ginger. Best served super cold!
Ahhh Mojitos! I can never go past a good Mojito!
The secret to making them yourself lies in the simple syrup, mint infused to be precise!
Here's a good recipe!
The simple syrup:
Mix 1 cup water with one cup of sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Let is steep (allow dry ingredients to soak in liquid until the liquid takes on the flavour of the dry ingredient) with a handful of mint leaves for about an hour. Strain out the leaves and store in the fridge until its reday to be used!
You will need: 1. Pour 30 mls of the simple syrup into a tall glass
30 mls mint infused simple syrup 2. Add a handful of mint leaves and muddle
handful of mint leaves 3. Add crushed ice, muddle.
30 mls white rum (Bacardi) 4. Add 30mls white rum and lime juice
Juice of half a lime 5. Top up with Soda water or ginger beer
Crushed Ice 6. Garnish with sprig of mint, lime wheel and a cute Soda water or ginger beer straw!
Sprig of mint and slice of lime for garnish
I love alternatives to the classic Mojito, my favourites are watermelon mojitos and raspberry mojitos! mmm! I think this year I'm definitely going to try them in glass jars, such a cute touch!
Try this alternate Watermelon Mojito recipe from Martha Stewart
Or just muddle Raspberries when muddling the mint leaves and syrup for a Raspberry and Mint Mojito!
Raspberry and Basil Mules Recipe
By Donna Hay
Makes 6 Cups Place the Raspberries in ice cube trays and fill with water.
125g Fresh Raspberries Freeze for 4 hours or until frozen. Place the lime and sugar in
1 cup (250ml) Lime Juice a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring until the sugar is
1 cup (220g) Caster sugar dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook
2/3 cup (160ml) Vodka for 2 minutes or until thickened slightly. Allow to cool
3/4 Cup (180ml) Ginger Beer completely. Place the vodka, lime syrup, ginger beer,
1 cup Basil Leaves raspberry ice cubes and basil leaves in a 1.5 litre capacity
(6 cups) jug and stir to combine.
Pomegranate and Blood Orange Punch
By Donna Hay
Makes 1.25 Litres (6 Cups)
1 Pomegranate, seeds removed* Place the Pomegranate seeds, Molasses, Vodka,
1/4 cup (60ml) Pomegranate Molasses** Lemonade and Blood Orange Juice in a 1.5 litre
2/3 cup (160ml) Vodka capacity jug and stir to combine.
2 1/2 Cups (625ml) lemonade
2 cups (500ml) Blood Orange Juice
Crushed Ice to serve
* To loosen the seeds, roll the pomegranate on a bench, cut in half and scrape the seed into a bowl
** You can find Pomegranate Molasses at speciality food stores and middle eastern grocers
Lychee and Mint Sparkling Cocktail
560g can of Lychees in syrup, drained Divide lychees and mint across 8 glasses and top
1/4 cup of Mint leaves with Sparkling! I think you could probably use
750 ml Sparkling White Wine, chilled ginger beer instead of sparkling if you wanted!
I hope you enjoy these recipes, and let me know if you end up using them for your Christmas celebrations! what other cocktails do you have in mind for your Christmas feast?