Festive spirits to kick-start the season
Christmas is two days away. If you’re not feeling the festive spirit just yet, we are here to treat you to a holly and jolly time. Food enlisted the expertise of mixologists Julian Dixon and Shakiera Johnson, who whip up signature holiday drinks for you to kick-start the season.
Julian Dixon is a smooth operator behind the bar, who has been in the business for two decades, receiving his certification from B & E Catering and the J. Wray and Nephew Academy. “I think outside the box, using simplest and homemade ingredients to make a cocktail and garnish. That’s what makes me stand out. How many would think of using jackfruit to make a liqueur?” he explained to Food.
While Shakiera Johnson got her start in 2012, switching careers from cosmetology to mixology. The Diageo Learning for Life – Project Bartender, powered by Red Stripe in Kingston, was her batting ground, and she hit a home run as the top female participant and valedictorian. She was awarded the Trailblazer Award 2012 for Kingston and St Andrew. She has entered several bartending competitions as the only woman and went on to work with the world’s leading cruise company, Carnival Cruise Line.
She has been officially certified locally through Bars To Go Group and Heart/Trust NTA. Internationally, and received certification through the European Bartender School last year.
“My personality and passion is what makes me stand out as a mixologist. A lot of time and effort have gone into my career, and I’ve come a long way. Working with my tools and showing my talent and skill [in] my crafted cocktails brings me great joy. I’m one of the few females that is quite invested [in] the male-dominated industry, and I’m here to change that narrative,” she shared.
Try these quick and easy mixes for yourself at home. Happy holidays and sip responsibly.
Julian Dixon’s Pumpkin Kicker
2 oz Baileys Original Irish Cream
Half bottle Dragon Stout
1 scoop of ice cream
1. In a blender, add the ice cream, Dragon Stout and Baileys Original Irish Cream.
2. From there, add the diced pumpkin and a few pinches of cinnamon powder to amplify the taste.
3. Blend until smooth.
4. Decorating with chocolate syrup is optional but welcome – ‘tis the season to get festive with your mixes.
5. Pour into a chilled glass, garnish with a strawberry and enjoy.
Dixon’s Sorrel Margarita
3 oz homemade sorrel syrup
2 oz white rum
1 oz Amaretto
1 oz Triple Sec
1. Combine all ingredients in your shaker, along with ice.
2. Chill glass and line the rim with salt.
3. Shake thoroughly and strain into a glass and sip your way into paradise.
Shakiera Johnson’s Botanist Gimlet
2 oz gin
1 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
Sphere lime ice ball
1. Add all ingredients in a glass container with ice and give it a few festive stirs with a mixing spoon.
2. Place sphere lime ice balls in a rock glass and strain the stirred drink into a glass.
3. Garnish with dried pineapple and savour the sweet flavour.
Johnson’s Sorrel Cosmopolitan
2 oz vodka
1 oz Triple Sec
1. Fill the shaker container with all the ingredients and ice.
2. Give the mix a good shake.
3. Rim the glass with coloured sugar in the Christmas colours of red and green.
4. Strain into coloured rim glass.
5. Garnish with a lime wedge, and happy sipping.