Just as Christmas calls for special dishes for the holiday table, so does the season also offer a unique vibe when it comes to cocktails, which are traditionally spicier, sweeter and heavier than the typical tipple. FoodieS asked four local mix masters to create some Christmas-themed concoctions. Here’s what they came up with. Very Merry Bourbon
Norman, Nautilus Bar, Four Seasons Jakarta
Getting his start behind the bar in the Middle East and Bali, Norman says he grew up hearing about the evils of demon rum–at least until he sampled his first cocktail. One of his previous holiday creations was inspired by the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. This Yuletide, Norman crafted something special for denizens of Nautilus Bar: the Very Merry Bourbon, which contains bourbon (of course), chocolate liquor, half-and-half cream and milk, egg, salt, nutmeg and a garnish of rosemary. It’s a smooth drink with a sweet hint to its aftertaste.
Nastar Milk Punch
Kabir, a 10-year veteran of Diageo, is a well-known figure among Jakarta’s cocktail demimonde. Hailing from the UK, Kabir says his job during family Christmas dinners was to keep everyone hydrated. For FoodieS, Kabir said he wanted to experiment with punch, which has five core ingredients (booze, citrus, sugar, tea or water and spices) that are ideal for Christmas. Kabir’s Naster Milk Punch mixes pineapple; a Christmas spice mix of cinnamon, cloves, star anise and nutmeg; VSOP cognac; dark rum; Batavia arrack; oleo saccharum; fresh lemons; Earl Grey tea; whole milk and nutmeg. Kabir says to stay tuned for new of his next project in the city.
Indra Sartika, Kei Bar
Working in the food and beverage business since 2009, Indra made the jump from barista to bartender after a stop at the Indonesia Bartender School. A mainstay of the swanky speakeasy Kei Bar, Indra favors whiskey as a spirit, for its flavor and the craftsmanship that goes into every bottle. His Spicy Old Fashioned recalls a traditional Christmas spiced wine, while the tipple’s dramatic presentation makes it a holiday treat. Inside the cocktail, you’ll find bourbon, scotch, brandy, some homemade spicy syrup and a quaff of Benedictine, two dashes of Angstura bitters along with some star anise.
Kiki Moka, Union Group
A longtime fixture at some of Jakarta’s most popular watering holes, Kiki has a father from Christian-majority Ambon and says it’s simple to find drinks like eggnog on the Eastern Indonesian island. Kiki devised for us the Pope Toddy, which riffs on the hot toddy, a whiskey spiked with something sweet like honey and served warm to better combat the cold or seasonal maladies like influenza. “My grandmother always treated me with hot tea made from orange peels, mint and honey, which is actually the basic recipe for toddy cocktail–if you add a spirit as the missing ingredient.” Inside the Pope Toddy, you’ll find yellow chartreuse and orange juice, with mint, rosemary and cinnamon for flavor.