Christmas cheer

Fiona McLaren
Fiona McLaren

With Christmas just around the corner Fiona McLaren has created some festive drinks to complement the season.

I have been invited to try Legent bourbon, which is new to the market. It is crafted by Jim Beam’s grandson and a master distiller from Japan and as a result offers a wonderful rich aroma and a warm, smooth taste.

Given the image of East meets West and showcasing seasonal fruits that match this idea, I have paired the bourbon with my favourite Christmas fruits and flavours.

Another favourite of mine is fresh French tarragon, a lovely “cross-over” herb that offers a gentle aniseed bite to the drinks.

I have always started our Christmas lunches with flavoured iced teas to set the tone and help my guests pace themselves!

Choose a black or herbal tea and add fresh fruits and flavourings - I like to use Seedlip Spice, a non-alcoholic spirit, to add nutty undertones and a touch of cinnamon.

Fiona McLaren is a hospitality lecturer at Otago Polytechnic.

French tarragon mojito

handful of tarragon
fresh lime
30ml Campari
15ml sugar syrup
15ml triple sec
60ml soda


Muddle fresh lime, strawberries and tarragon.

Add ice and then add the rest of the ingredients.


Eastern breeze

30ml Legent bourbon
30ml apricot brandy
60ml sparkling apple juice


Build over ice, adding bourbon, brandy then juice to glass filled with ice.

Cherry blossom (Makes two)

10 morello cherries
60ml Legent bourbon
1 mango
45ml Cointreau
60ml orange juice


Blend morello cherries with Legent bourbon.

Blend flesh of the mango with the Cointreau and orange juice.

Fill glass with ice.

Pour cherry bourbon mix to half way.

Top with mango mix.


Lady Grey (non-alcoholic)

60ml Seedlip Spice
2 cups tea
15ml sugar syrup and fresh orange wheels


Steep Lady Grey tea for three minutes. Remove tea bag and allow drink to cool.

Over ice add Seedlip, tea, sugar syrup and orange.

Santa’s Little Helpers


30ml Bacardi
15ml Cointreau
60ml pomegranate juice

Shake and strain into a glass.


30ml gin
15ml Midori
15ml Monin green apple syrup
30ml lemonade


Shake and strain into a glass.

Bourbon and ginger

This smooth and rich bourbon is lovely to sip on its own. I froze some crystallised ginger to use instead of ice cubes, and as the drink warms you get a subtle hint of sweet ginger or you can nibble a whole piece to complement the bourbon.

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