Stop… will regret this!




Thanks to  classic  wines such as Penfold’s Grange, Australians are now less likely to be perceived as a nation of unsophisticated  beer swillers. However,  cocktails are perhaps  more generally associated with Manhattan or Paris than ‘the land down under‘. Nevertheless, there are enough distinctively Australian cocktails to provide a ‘stirred & shaken’ social history of the country since white settlement.

The following cocktail was created to commemorate the voyage to  Australia by  Lieutenant. James Cook, in 1770. Scurvy was endemic among the Endeavor’s crew, due to a vitamin C deficient diet of salt pork and ship’s biscuits. Perhaps this accounts for the inclusion of lemon juice in the drink .


30ml (1 fl oz) Australian whiskey

15 ml (½ l oz) lemon juice

45ml (½ fl oz) blue Curacao

Few drops egg white

1 teaspoon sugar

Shake whiskey, lemon juice, blue Curacao, egg white and sugar and pour into a tall glass with ice. Top with lemonade. Garnish with a sprig of mint, a slice of lemon and a miniature Australian flag.

Two centuries later, Australians responded to the prospect of becoming a republic with an apathetic ‘NO’, but at major sporting events the national flag (incorporating the Union Jack) increasingly takes second place to the green and gold of the Boxing Kangaroo.

It was much in evidence at the Sydney Olympics and is waved enthusiastically at international sporting events. Regrettably,  it is often accompanied by the appalling battle cry of ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…Oi,Oi, Oi!


 30ml (1 fl oz) Australian Whiskey

15ml (½ fl oz) Galliano

15ml (½ fl oz) green crème de menthe

dash of egg white

green cherry

twist of lemon

Shake with ice and strain into a sour glass. Garnish with a green cherry and a twist of lemon.

There was a much earlier cocktail, invented during the 1956 Olympics.


This is in muddled with kiwifruit. Created in tropical Darwin by the dashing Leandro at the Mercure Hotel. Careful though……flood plains can be dangerous!

Delivering a  Margarita cocktail.
Leandro also makes a mean Margarita!

Author ready for a Kakadu safari, fortified by another of Leandro’s creations. I always did like pomegranate….and vodka!

Hunter of Darwin cocktail
I’ll be able to tackle anything after this!

International tourists flock to Kakadu (well they did before 2020! 😨) , but should be wary if a smiling young Australian plies them with a cocktail called The Boomerang. The drink’s effects are remarkably similar to the Aboriginal hunting weapon from which it takes its name. One cocktail is fine, two is even better, but the third will come back and hit you in the head.


 30 ml (1 fl oz) Australian Whiskey

23ml (¾ fl oz) dry vermouth

2 dashes lemon juice

23ml (¾ fl oz) Swedish Punsch

 Shake ingredients with ice then strain into a cocktail glass.

A popular Australian song from the nineteen sixties began;

Have you ever been to see King’s Cross,

Where Sydneysiders meet?

There’s a million faces going places,

Walking up and down the street.

Down in the Big Smoke of Sydney, King’s Cross was once a mecca for young British backpackers. However, too many King’s Cross Cocktails frequently had them weaving up and down the street; a hazardous practice in an area once described by a minister of religion as; ‘The nearest thing to a herd of buffalo on wheels’.’    He might well have added; ‘riding roughshod over all that is seemly’, as ‘The Cross’ became  notorious for drugs, drink and ladies of ill-repute!


30ml (1fl oz) Australian Whiskey

60ml (2fl oz) Bailey’s Irish Cream


 Shake and serve in an old- fashioned glass over ice.  

No tourist should enter the bars of King’s Cross without being aware of the Australian custom of ‘shouting‘, ie; buying a round of drinks. If shouting everyone a whiskey based high ball sounds too expensive for a backpacker, just the Fosters beer component of the following drink would be acceptable.


30 ml (1fl oz)Australian Whiskey

Fosters Beer


In a highball glass, pour whisky over ice and top up with Fosters.

Though not a native fruit, Australians have taken mangoes to their hedonistic hearts. They are as much a symbol of summer as seafood salads and surfing at Bondi beach. Gloriously messy, mangoes au naturale are best eaten on one’s own or shared in extremely intimate circumstances. In public, mango based cocktails are a more dignified way to go, especially at Christmas and New Year .


1 fresh mango

30ml (1 fl oz) Bacardi rum

15 ml (½ fl oz) mango liqueur

Rockmelon garnish

Blend ingredients and serve in a hurricane glass garnished with rockmelon.


1 fresh mango

30ml (1 fl oz) Tequila

15ml (½ fl oz) mango liqueur

Dash of lemon juice and sugar syrup

 Blend ingredients and serve in a margarita glass.

The following cocktail was created to celebrate the sudden summer storms that approach Sydney from the south during periods of oppressively hot weather. They bring a welcome cool change, but create havoc with boats on the harbour. After struggling back to port, a few Southerly Buster cocktails calm the nerves. Note that the cocktail is brandy based, to settle queasy stomachs.


30ml (1 fl oz) brandy

15 ml (½ ) fl oz) dry vermouth

15ml (½ fl oz) lime cordial

Dry ginger ale


Slice of lemon

Half fill a glass with cubed ice. Add brandy and vermouth and the cordial. Top with dry ginger ale and serve in a highball glass garnished with long straws and a slice of lemon.

Two of the most iconic sugary  delights  in this country are pavlovas and lamingtons. And yes….naturally they have inspired cocktails.

The Lamington Cocktail
The Lamington Cocktail

30ml Kahlua

30ml Malibu rum

15ml  Baileys Irish Cream 

30ml cream


Combine and garnish with dessicated coconut.

The Pavlova cocktail.
Oh yes…delicious.

There are various recipes for The Pavlova Cocktail. Here is one;

And don’t try to steal this version of the pavlova you Kiwis!

It may seem un-Australian to conclude this list with a ‘mocktail’ called Redback Spider but let me assure you that an encounter with a redback is a sobering experience. More to the point, these deadly little spiders hang out on toilet seats, where those under the influence of alcohol are all too likely to sit on them.


30 ml (1 fl oz) raspberry cordial

2 tbsp vanilla icecream

1 tbsp whipped cream


Place one tbsp icecream in a highball glass. Add 10 ml lemonade and the cordial. Blend carefully using a bar spoon. Top with lemonade, being careful the drink does not foam over the rim of the glass. Add second tbsp of icecream and top with whipped cream. Garnish with red and black straws.

By the way, cocktails did not take off in Australia  without concerted opposition from The Women’s Temperance Union.  At their conference in 1919 they labelled the habit  ‘nerve-destroying and health-endangering.’

Not everyone approved of the cocktail habit

Maybe Mr McSweeny, who features in the following limerick, should have followed the Temperance Union’s advice;

Oh, how could I forget. We have another, much loved cocktail in Australia. Just the thing for a Christmas lunch starter under the Australian sun.

Prawn cocktail
Throw another prawn in the cocktail glass!

By the way, the Blackheath Bar and Bistro, here in the Blue Mountains of NSW, creates magical cocktails. Their 2020 Christmas offering was The Pavlova. If you are ever in the area, CALL IN.

The perfect Aussie cocktail at Christmas.


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