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Episode 30: Festive Drinks

Christmas Special Part 1 – Cocktails and Wine

Boy oh boy, have we got a gift for you – three pre-Xmas episodes of ExtraVirgin Food and Travel Podcast released at once! In Part 1, you’ll get some great ideas for your festive drinks, including luscious cocktails to make at home and some expert tips for choosing wine to go with your Christmas meals.

First up, it’s cocktails with award-winning mixologist Millie Tang of The Gresham who gives us an exclusive cocktail and mocktail recipe for Christmas and talks trends in the mixology world (pineapple chunks anyone?).

Recently named Bartender of the Year in a national competition, Millie Tang also explains what equipment you need and which ingredients are key if you want to mix drinks like a pro and wow your guests. 

Millie Tang

Then we talk to food and wine writer Tony Harper of Craft Wine Stores which specialises in artisan wines, beers, ciders and spirits from around the world, about what to serve with your festive meals this holiday season (and there are a few left of centre suggestions here!). You’ll get his hot tips for which wines to choose when it’s Christmas in Australia and you’re trying to keep your cool, including:

  1. the perfect match for your seafood dishes

  2. a red you’ll enjoy on a hot summer day and

  3. something a little different to serve to that one guest who’s a bit of an expert.

There’s lots of interesting and delicious options but one thing’s for sure – they’re all refreshing and perfect for an Australian Christmas. Cheers to that!


Recipes and Recommendations

Below you’ll find the recipes for the cocktails Millie created for us during our chat. So add the ingredients to your shopping list, and you’ll be whipping them up in no time.

ExtraVirgin Xmas Cocktail

You’ll Need: 2 Strawberries, 3 Basil leaves torn, 40ml gin (you might like to try 4 Pillars but any good Australian gin would be perfect), 20ml fresh lime juice, 15ml elderflower cordial, 30ml apple juice or grapefruit juice, ice, a splash of soda water, and mint and basil leaves to garnish.

Directions: 1. Muddle the strawberries with the basil leaves in bottom of a cocktail shaker. 2. Add gin, lime juice, elderflower cordial and juice. 3. Shake for 30 seconds and strain to catch pulp. 4. Pour into a glass, top up with ice and add a splash of soda. 5. Garnish with mint and basil bouquet.

ExtraVirgin Virgin Mocktail

You’ll need: 2 big pieces of fresh, ripe watermelon, 30ml lemon juice, 30ml watermelon juice, 40ml honey syrup (made with 50-50 mix of honey and hot water), 30ml pouring cream or coconut cream, two or three ice cubes, watermelon wedge to garnish, and soda water.

Directions: 1. Roughly chop and muddle watermelon flesh in a cocktail shaker. 2. Add lemon juice, watermelon juice, honey syrup and cream. 3. Combine in shaker and pour into a tall glass. 4. Add a couple of ice cubes and top with soda.

Millie’s says to always taste-test the cocktail before you serve it as the results are affected by such things as the sweetness or quality of your fresh fruit or juices. You can always add a little more of your ingredients – cordial, fresh juice or cream – if needed. And remember – always drink responsibly!

Tony’s Wine Recommendations

Here are some of Tony’s top wine picks for your festive dining. We’ll add more details as soon as possible but, in general, he suggests: Prosecco, Vermentino, Rose, Grenache, Sherry and Belgian Beer.


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