If the most cliché holiday stock image could talk, it would have a drink to the left, a drink to the right, and would be shouting ‘cheers’ at you all through the merry night. What it doesn’t tell you is that all the happy chappies smiling away in its frame are probably going to wake up with pounding heads, bleary eyes and a stomach that has its own kind of fireworks going on. To help you avoid the warzone and to discuss the drinks of the decade, we headed to the guy who whips out Bloody Marys like Santa’s elves ships out presents – Aleks Balodis from Stokehouse Q.
What would you say was the most popular drink in 2019?
Spritzes, in all shapes and forms – not just Aperol! I think a lot of places are starting to branch out to create their own iteration of this popular drink. Some even have an Aussie twist utilizing the Australian made Økar Amaro.
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Was there a standout drink this decade?
What’s old is new again. Anything dark and stirred (thanks to the likes of popular TV shows such as Mad Men) have made a renaissance. Think Old-Fashioneds, Manhattans and Sazeracs.
Let’s talk hangover cures! What makes an ideal hair of the dog and why?
For the next day, you can’t go past a Bloody Mary, especially one that has some green garnish to trick you into thinking it’s healthy. If tomato juice in the morning isn’t really your thing, then a Mimosa is the way to go. The more I think about it, pretty much any alcoholic juice combo that hides the booze so you don’t feel like your back on the turps again.
What’s your personal hangover pick-me-up?
Prepare for your hangover! Take some Hydrodol right before bed and make sure you’ve had something to fill your stomach (did someone say kebab?). Water is going to be your best friend but when all else fails, greasy food and Gatorade in the morning does the trick for me.
What do you expect to see in 2020 in terms of mixology?
Low ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktails and a push towards minimum waste seem to be beguiling trends overseas right now, ripe for adoption in the Australian market. As sustainability plays a bigger role in all facets of day-to-day life, you’ll soon see it in your local cocktail menu. By reusing ingredients that would usually go into the bin, such as lemon husks after juicing, by reducing them down to stocks and sherbets, you can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of your drinks. I also feel as Australians become more and more health conscience and wiser to the effects of alcohol on the body, we’ll start to see more lower ABV drinks take over our cocktail lists.
Any other tips and tricks to combat a hangover?
Two words… shower beer.
What will you be drinking this New Year’s Eve?
Four Pillars Australian Christmas gin!!! Distilled with actual Christmas puddings from master distiller Cam’s mum’s 1968 recipe. It's becoming vastly popular and a must during Christmas lunch. Fizz in one form or another is always necessary during Christmas at lunch, either in a Spritz or an Australian Pét-Nat! However, on New Year’s Day I will be drinking all things Bloody Mary offered on the New Year’s Day Bloody March Bar menu at Stokehouse Q – what better way to cure a hangover!
Any industry insider tricks to share with us when it comes to preparing drinks for the Christmas party season?
Get creative, don’t follow the mould and invent your own spritz! Grab some booze, add some cheap Prosecco, fruit and soda and you've got yourself spritz. If in doubt, try this number I’m making for my family on Christmas day:
- 2 parts white rum
- 1 part elderflower liqueur
- 1 part lemon juice
- Topped with Prosecco and a dash of Soda.