Tree Topper

With the holidays fast-approaching and cocktail parties in full-swing, I felt it was time to share a new recipe for the season. Last year, my take on a Christmas-y creation led to the Aztec Snow – recently featured in Ottawa Citizen’s Style Magazine. This year, I wanted to go with something a bit more rich and visually appealing. That led to more experimentation.

I knew I wanted to incorporate Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum as the base as it contains lots of seasonal notes: cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and even a hint of chocolate. I also knew I wanted to make it into an egg white cocktail to give it body and richness – and because I have a fairly strong egg white addiction. Lastly, I knew it needed a star anise, because it provides great aroma and visual appeal to a cocktail – and is seasonal to boot.

Photos by ADV Photography

For sweetness, I initially tried using vanilla syrup, but found that it didn’t add much to the overall drink. So I stole Sebastian’s aptly-named Christmas syrup recipe (which contains about 480 ingredients) and it added a whole other level of complexity.

I then presented it to my buddy Peter – who you may recall was a guest blogger a while back. He loved it, but suggested adding a bit of a spicy kick with some Chili Chocolate Kahlua. Lo and behold, I had Christmas in a cocktail!


2 oz Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum
½ oz Chili Chocolate Kahlua
¾ oz Christmas syrup
¾ oz egg white
Garnish with star anise and walnut bitters

In a cocktail shaker with ice, add all ingredients, except for walnut bitters and star anise, and shake well. Strain out ice and dry shake. Double-strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with star anise and walnut bitters.

Christmas Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp grated nutmeg
1 tbsp demerara (brown) sugar
1 tbsp allspice
4 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise stars
1/2 of a vanilla bean

Add ingredients to a pot and stir while bringing to a boil. As mixture begins to boil, remove from heat, and let steep for 15-20 min. Strain out the solids.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this syrup. It’s a seasonal hodgepodge of ingredients – the only ingredient I added on my end was a vanilla bean, which subtly blends with the Sailor Jerry’s and Kahlua chocolate notes. Helpful tip: the longer you let this syrup steep, the more pronounced the flavours will be.

The result is a pretty delicious Christmas cocktail, if I do say so myself. The flavours combine to make a rich and slightly spicy drink which is surprisingly smooth. It’s perfect to serve your guests for the holidays.

The name itself came from my good friend Ani – who is fast-becoming my cocktail-naming consultant. Coincidentally, she’s also guest blogger Peter’s wife. Including Sebastian, the three of them really helped me develop this into its final form.

People coming together and celebrating – with cocktails. Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about, after all?

Happy Holidays!

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