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 the team at Madame Brussels, who told us all about just how to complement an excessively indulgent table of food with equally decadent drinks.
To begin with, Miss Pearls (the matriarch of Madame Brussels) advises using fresh and vibrant seasonal flavours in Australian Christmas cocktail creations, and in saying so, she points to thevenue's Summer Splendour as the first point of reference.
â€œThis 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, the Madame Brussels team 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.
A self-confessed â€œgarnish queen", Miss Pearls also stresses, â€œYou've got to make your mix pretty. Get some colour in there - fruits, berries, mint leaves, cucumber - anything fresh!"
Ingredients (for a 1 litre jug)
Mix rum and lime juice together in a jug, top with ice, then add all other ingredients and mix well.
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.