Food and Drink

Drink and Be Merry With These Christmas Cocktail Recipes

Chin chin!

Getty / Canva

Cocktail season is heating up… but what if you’re not a bartender? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

I worked as a bartender for years before my media career, and met some of my closest friends during my time behind the bar. Conveniently, they are some of the best bartenders Melbourne has to offer.

So, with a little help from some friends and a recipe of my own, I’ve put together a list of recipes for the best Christmas cocktails you can make in 2021.

Photo: Courtesy of Oscar Shaw. Ceramics by Eliza Katsourakis

‘Ciderhouse Special’ by Oscar Shaw

Oscar is one of Melbourne’s most notable bartenders. Having previously worked behind the bar at Melbourne’s beloved Eau de Vie and currently managing the bar at The Everleigh, it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about the art of cocktail-making.

Oscar is extremely creative and makes some of the most unique and delicious cocktails I’ve ever had the privilege of tasting. He’s currently working on his own venture too, so we’ll be sure to update you on that in the new year.

Here’s his Christmas-cocktail creation:

30ml buttermilk
30ml Demerara chai syrup*
30ml Armagnac
15ml cheap apple juice

*Demerara chai syrup recipe

  1. Steep loose chai or powder in water — 2:1 water to chai.
  2. Once brewed, strain off chai and mix with Demerara sugar in ratio 2:1 —sugar to chai. If you can’t get Demerara brown sugar or even dark brown sugar will do nicely.

Blended ingredients together with a few pellets of crushed ice, and serve neat, with grated cinnamon on top.

“This drink was inspired by creamy eggnog and ‘flip’-style dessert cocktails. This style of drink I love, but often find too rich or unbalanced without the acid necessary to level them out. Acid and cream are hard to pair; the solution was buttermilk. Textural and fatty enough to give body, the faint sour finish combined with a bit of cheap apple juice (you want that artificial candied taste and acidity) you end up with a fluffy dessert style cocktail that doesn’t overwhelm your stuffed Christmas stomach.”

Belle Johnson-Geor’s “Kentucky Buck”

Belle is an A+ bartender, who I have both lived with and worked with, so can confirm that she knows how to shake a drink! She’s worked at countless bars both here in Melbourne and in her hometown of New Zealand, from dingy dive bars to classy speakeasy bars to fab neighbourhood bars and everything in between.

Belle loves a twist on a classic cocktail, and that’s what she’s given us for her Christmas fave. It’s fruity, it’s boozy, it’s refreshing and it’s fuuuuun.

Fresh strawberries
60ml bourbon
20ml lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
Ginger beer

Muddle the strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients into the shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a tall glass with ice. Top up with ginger beer. Garnish with a pretty strawberry.

“Strawberries remind me of Christmas. It was my job every year to make the chocolate-coated strawberries every year to have for Christmas dessert. I used to go to the strawberry farm back home in New Zealand and pick them personally — so I always got the best ones. Then as I got older, it’s the strawberries in champagne for Christmas brekky. Strawberries are just Christmas!

Also this drink is bright and easy. It gives Pimms Cup energy, but is a little naughtier. It’s a classic cocktail, so you can order it anywhere!”

Courtesy of Chelsea Catherine

Mem Magic by Chelsea Catherine

Chelsea is what you can an accomplished bartender. She really has such a mind-blowing amount of knowledge when it comes to the science of cocktail making that it is truly impressive.

This cocktail takes quite a bit of preparation, but if you’re confident and up for the challenge — we have faith in you. If not, don’t stress, she’s also got a super easy spritz recipe for you to try instead (scroll down to see).

For now, this is the Mem Magic.

40ml Bulldog Gin
20ml Cinzano Bianco
15ml Pink Passionfruit Acid*
25ml Vanilla Kiwi*
45ml Water

Carbonate at 40psi 

serve in a highball filled with ice and a passionfruit meringue garnish 

*Pink Passionfruit Acid recipe

200g Passionfruit (including shells)
50g Verjuice
2.5g Citric acid
Vac-pac, infuse for 24 hours. 

*Vanilla Kiwi recipe

300g Kiwi (chopped, no skin)
1 x vanilla bean, split open
300g Sugar
400g water
Vac-pac, infuse for 5 hours.

Combine all ingredients together in a sodastream bottle. Carbonate and serve over ice in a high ball.

“When I think of Australian Christmas, I think of hot days, seafood, playing cricket outside and pavlovas. Light, tropical and refreshing, this drink was made with the Australian Summer in mind. It’s what separates our Christmas’ from most of the world’s. I’ve named the drink after Mem Fox, the author of Possum Magic. An Australian story where a possum becomes invisible and a part of him reappears when he eats an Australian food. 

The Kiwi’s might try to claim the pavlova, but I’m siding with Mem Fox.”

Courtesy of Chelsea Catherine

Chelsea Catherine’s “Spritzy Boi”

60ml Belsazar rosé vermouth
80ml sparkling wine
30ml Strangelove guava sparkling water
5ml lemon juice

Pour the rosé vermouth and lemon juice into a wine glass. Add ice. Top up with sparkling wine and guava sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a green olive.

“I like spritzes because they’re refreshing, bubbly and the acid and slight bitterness cuts through the rich food while still being light and fresh enough to enjoy next to more delicate dishes like seafood. They’re super easy to make which means you don’t spend any time on prep and you’re not in the kitchen making drinks while everyone else is enjoying each other’s company.”

‘Jack Apple Fizz’ by Morgan Flanagan

Morgan is an absolute wizz when it comes to cocktails, having headed up as a brand ambassador to some of the world’s most iconic spirits and also some personal history behind the bar. He’s been in the hospo-game for over a decade, and is truly a master of flavour.

30ml Jack Daniels Apple
Soda water
Fresh lemon wedge

Build all ingredients in a tall glass and garnish with fresh lemon wedge.

“Okay, so I know this is a funny one. Flavoured whiskey? But trust me, this is one of the great ones. This just gives me all those wonderful baked apple pie notes but in a way that’s perfect for hot Australian Christmas days. Also easy to whip up when you’re stuck being the bartender for your whole family!”

Morgan’s French 75

45 ml Fords Gin
20 ml Lemon Juice
15 ml Sugar Syrup (1:1 Ratio)
60 ml Dry Sparkling Wine/Brut Champagne
1 Twist Lemon


  1. Using peeler or paring knife, slice peel from lemon in long, thin strip. Reserve lemon for another use and set peel aside.
  2. In cocktail shaker, combine Fords Gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and top with sparkling wine. Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist.
  4. Garnish drink with twist and serve immediately.

“This is one of my all time favourite classics. Fresh, bright and with champagne! I always go a little heavier on the gin in my French 75’s (like this recipe). It the perfect way to start Christmas morning . You can even serve it tall over ice as a classic Savoy Hotel style but they go even heavier on gin and pull back the champagne. One of the best!”

Courtesy of Patron

Patron Paloma, Courtesy of Joey Chisholm

We love a good Paloma here at Thrillist Australia. Or any tequila drink, really. Our good friend Joey loves tequila too, so much so, that he is the brand ambassador for Patron! But regardless of this, a Paloma would still be his go-to Christmas drink.

It’s super easy to make and the perfect combination of boozy, tart and sweet.

50ml Patron Reposado
120ml Fevertree grapefruit soda

Build in a tall glass and garnish with a wedge of pink grapefruit.

“This drink is perfect for Christmas Day. It pairs beautifully with cold prawns or seafood, but is also a great stand-alone drink for pre or post feast!

You can also made it in a jug as a shared serve, perfect for the middle of the festive table.”

Photo via Instagram / @advancedmixology, for inspiration.

Frozen Fruit Daiquiris, Courtesy of Lachlan Bentley

When Lachy is off-duty, he is the king of delicious and simple. While his job has always been in fancy cocktail bars; Eau De Vie, The Everleigh and now, Gimlet at Cavendish House, one of his festive favourites is the simply delicious Frozen Fruit Daiquiris.

Fresh fruit of your choice (Lachy recommends passionfruit, mango, watermelon, mint, cucumber and strawberries)
Sugar syrup or caster sugar
A bottle of rum (can be white or dark)A pinch of sea salt

Mix the the fruit*, limes (half a lime her drink), 10ml of sugar syrup or a few teaspoons of caster sugar (per drink) and a pinch of salt all together in a blender, with ice.

*When it comes to fruit blends, make sure the flavours go together. For example: watermelon and mint, passionfruit and mango, strawberries, mint and cucumber… but don’t be afraid to experiment too!

Blend until it’s at peak slushie consistency and serve in some fun glasses. You’ll probably need some paper straws, too. Get creative with the garnish! But definitely put a mint sprig. Always.

Note from Lachy: “All of the above also works with tequila, so you could do frozen margs or frozen daiquiris! This is literally everything you need for an Aussie summer. Plus the cricket is on the TV.”

Lemon Fizz, by Me

Yes, that’s right. I used to be a bartender! That means I qualify to add my favourite Christmas cocktail, right?

I make this every year at Christmas breakfast. It’s boozey, I know, but it’s Christmas and I say we go for it.

Lemon sorbet
30ml vodka
10ml lime juice

Add the vodka, a generous dollop of lemon sorbet and the lime juice into a blender with ice. Blend together, then pour into a champagne coupe and top up with prosecco.

This drink is a great aperitivo. It’s the best way to cleanse you palette between courses or to start of your day with a bang. It’s light, zesty and acts as a pick-me-up to help get you through the day and give you the zing you need. It’s also DELISH.

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Food and Drink

Red Rooster Is Serving Free Chicken and Piping Hot Cash This Christmas in July

Get your early dose of festive cheer.

Red Rooster Christmas in July
Instagram / @redrooster_au

The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.

From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.

Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.

Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.

Terms and conditions apply. Visit Red Rooster’s Christmas in July to see all the deals.


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