The 12 Canberra cocktails of Christmas

Jil Hogan
Berocca Swizzle at Kokomo's.
Berocca Swizzle at Kokomo's. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Forget your true love, your bartender has you covered this silly season. Twelve bartenders shaking up some of the best creations across Canberra share their favourite festive cocktail. You can whip one up yourself - or ask them nicely next time you're visiting.

Theo Theodosiou - Joe's Bar, East Hotel, Kingston

Joe's Bar bartender Theo Theodosiou with an amalfi dream. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Theo Theodosiou at Joe's Bar. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

"I love how this cocktail was created, whilst on holidays using the only ingredients on hand at the time, resulting in the perfect cocktail for a summer's afternoon."

Amalfi Dream

50ml vodka
20ml limoncello
20ml lemon juice
15ml vanilla bean syrup
bunch of mint leaves (4-5)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and strain over a big ice cube and serve with mint leaves.

Amalfi dream at Joe's Bar.

Amalfi dream at Joe's Bar. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Alex Gondzioulis - Highball Express, Civic

Alex Gondzioulis at The Highball Express.

Alex Gondzioulis at The Highball Express. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"I made this cocktail in the style of a Flip, which is an old school cocktail that incorporates a whole egg. I wanted to use some seasonal fruit (bananas), and local ingredients (South Australian Beer and Victorian Gin) to give it a distinctly Australian twist."


Not Your Mama's Eggnog

Glass: Punch Glass or Mug
45ml Four Pillars Christmas Gin
15ml ginger liqueur
20ml Banana Demerara syrup
1 teaspoon macadamia syrup
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 whole egg
60ml Barossa Valley Brewing Company 'I 'Can't Believe It's Not Bacon' Smoked Beer

Shake everything except beer without ice, then again with ice. Strain through a tea strainer and top with beer. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Not Your Mama's Eggnog. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Not Your Mama's Eggnog. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Courtney Cravin-Mills - Zaab, Braddon

Courtney Craven-Mills - Zaab.

Courtney Craven-Mills - Zaab. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"I love this drink because it reminds me of all things festive. It tastes just like a black forest cake and the fruits remind me of summer. It's also really easy to drink."

Black Forest Sangria

250ml red wine
45ml grand marnier
30ml strawberry licquer
15ml chocolate licquer
30ml cinnamon syrup
30ml vanilla syrup
45ml orange juice
45ml blood orange juice
dash of chocolate bitters
fruits (oranges, lime, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry)

Combine all ingredients and infuse for three days in a cold temperature. Serve over ice and garnish with fruits.

Zaab Black Forest Sangria.

Black Forest Sangria. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Brett Harris - Kokomo's, Civic

Brett Harris - Kokomo's. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Brett Harris - Kokomo's. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"I chose this cocktail because it's a bloody fun and shit-hot cocktail that's perfect for summer and Christmas time. Get in before the hangover does."

Berocca Swizzle

30mls of Beefeater 24
10mls apricot brandy
15mls fresh pressed lime juice
10mls sugar syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1/4 of orange Berocca tablet
handful of mint leaves

Add Berocca tablet in glass first and add soda water to dissolve. Add all ingredients and fill with cubed ice then top with crushed ice and add skewered dried apricot and a swizzle!

Berocca Swizzle at Kokomo's.

Berocca Swizzle at Kokomo's. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Joshua Waller - Tipsy Bull, Braddon

Joshua Waller - Tipsy Bull.

Joshua Waller - Tipsy Bull. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"Nothing says family Christmas quite like my mum's classic Christmas apple pie. This one has been spiked with my mother's favourite spirit, gin. Shaken with ice to be enjoyed on a hot Christmas Day. A tribute to my mum's cooking, almost as good.​"

Gin Spiked Apple Pie

45mls Pressmans Apple Cider
45mls Apple Juice
30mls Four Pillars Christmas Gin
15mls Licor 43
3-4 dashes orange bitters

Garnish: Christmas pie spiced brown sugar rim, apple fan.

Gin spiked apple pie, Tipsy Bull.

Gin spiked apple pie, Tipsy Bull. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Noriel Calub - Lucky's Speakeasy, QT Canberra, New Acton

Noriel Calub - Lucky's Speakeasy

Noriel Calub - Lucky's Speakeasy Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"I love the reaction of the guests when I make and they receive the cocktail. It includes fire, smell and taste - a theatrical experience!"

Lucky's Blazer

30ml Bacardi 8
10ml PX Sherry
20ml Hennessy VS
3ml Coffee Infused Chocolate Bitters
Garnish with a toasted cinnamon quill.

Lucky's Blazer at Lucky's Speakeasy.

Lucky's Blazer at Lucky's Speakeasy. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Emily Liddicoat - Polit Bar, Manuka

Emily Liddicoat - Polit Bar.

Emily Liddicoat - Polit Bar. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"This is my favourite summer cocktail. It's fruity and refreshing, and the Christmas tree colours always make me smile. The gin we use is O'Gin, an award-winning gin from Kangaroo Island Spirits. The gin itself is savoury and dry, with a burst of orange, which reminds me of beach dunes on a hot summer day... and where I'd always rather be."

Santa's Surprise

Prepare brandy balloon or large wine glass
In shaker, muddle
½ lime, 2 strawberries and 8 mint leaves.
45 ml O'Gin (Kangaroo Island Spirits)
Shake, no strain into balloon or large wine glass
Add ice, top with ginger beer
Serve with two straws and a smile.

Santa's Surprise, Polit Bar.

Santa's Surprise, Polit Bar. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Michael Nguyen - Lazy Su, Braddon

Lazy Zu bartender Michael Nguyen.

Lazy Su bartender Michael Nguyen. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"It's a modern Christmas take on the classic Clover Club. We've given it a twist by adding Yuzu (Japanese citrus) and our own Aloe Vera foam creating a sweet and refreshing cocktail, perfect for Christmas"

Naughty & Nice

50ml Poor Toms gin
10ml yuzu liqueur
25ml raspberry syrup
25ml lemon juice
3 dashes of woodford reserve spiced cherry bitter
aloe vera foam

Raspberry Syrup

1 part frozen raspberry
.75 part Sugar
.75 Parts Water
Mix all ingredient and add to pot. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until syrup thickens. Strain and chill

Aloe Vera Foam

400ml aloe vera juice
60ml ginger liqueur
60ml vanilla liqueur
60ml sugar syrup (1/1 ratio)
120ml Aquafaba (or other protein such as egg whites)
Mix all ingredients and add to cream whipper. Charge with two nitrogen canisters, shaking in between chargers. Chill.
Shake between use.

Lazy Zu's new cocktail. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Lazy Su's new cocktail. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Russell Pearson - White Rabbit Cocktail Room, Civic

Russell Pearson, White Rabbit Cocktail Room.

Russell Pearson, White Rabbit Cocktail Room. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"The sweet and sour qualities of the pineapple shrub bounce off the developed notes of the Christmas gin, a small drop of Tabasco wakes up the taste buds just enough to highlight the smokey caramelised flavours in the drink. Reminds me when you were playing backyard cricket as a kid and dad had the BBQ going."

Backyard Cricket

50ml 4 Pillars Christmas gin
15ml Pierre Ferrand dry curaco
15ml BBQ pineapple shrub
1 dash Tabasco

Backyard Cricket - White Rabbit.

Backyard Cricket - White Rabbit. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Manolo Cattaneo - Bacaro, Braddon

Manolo Cattaneo - Bacaro.

Manolo Cattaneo - Bacaro. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"Bombardino is a traditional Italian christmas cocktail, made with egg-based liquor and coffee. A hot drink, usually served in ski resorts, to the north of the country. At Italian and Sons we serve it in our wine bar Bacaro and has loyal following. Essentially a Bombardino is made using eggs, liquor, coffee and rum. A perfect winter cocktail to warm you up in the coldest days of the year."


In a small pot, pour 2 shots of egg liquor (VOV) and heat up until the liquor is about to boil, then add a shot of rum.
One shot espresso coffee, hot
Pour it in a tall glass
Add the VOV mixture as per recipe above, just prepared.
Add one shot aged rhum. Shake with ice and strain.
Add whipped cream and cinnamon powder as topping.

Serve hot.

Manolo Cattaneo. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Bombardino. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Tanve Kaley - Highgate House, Kingston

Tanve Kaley, Highgate House.

Tanve Kaley, Highgate House. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"It smells like gin and tastes of Christmas."

Christmas Negroni

30ml Four Pillars Christmas Gin
30ml Solerno blood orange liquor
30ml Oscar 697 vermouth Rosso
​Stir then pour into glass over ice sphere. Garnish with a slice of orange and rim glass

Christmas Negroni, Highgate House.

Christmas Negroni, Highgate House. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Nick Smith - Bar Rochford, Civic

Nick Smith - Bar Rochford

Nick Smith - Bar Rochford Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

"A stiff drink for hard company on Christmas Day. You can't pick your family but you can pick your drink."

Aunt Bettie

50ml Four Pillars Christmas Gin
20ml Cherry Heering
12.5ml Dolin Sweet Vermouth
2 Dash Angostura Bitters
Add all ingredients to mixing glass, then add ice and stir for 10 - 15 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass with no ice.
Glass: Coupe / Martini
Garnish: Squeeze orange oils into drink and then garnish with one cherry.

Bar Rochford. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Bar Rochford. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos