Mon | May 16, 2022

Festive spirits to kick-start the season

Published:Thursday | December 23, 2021 | 12:09 AMKrysta Anderson/Staff Reporter
Feast your eyes on Shakiera Johnson’s creations: a botanist gimlet (left) and a sorrel cosmopolitan.
Feast your eyes on Shakiera Johnson’s creations: a botanist gimlet (left) and a sorrel cosmopolitan.
Dixon kicks the festive spirits up a notch by adding pumpkin, stout and a bit Baileys Original Irish Cream to create this irresistible mix.
Dixon kicks the festive spirits up a notch by adding pumpkin, stout and a bit Baileys Original Irish Cream to create this irresistible mix.
Always paying attention to details, Dixon has been a mixologist for 20 years and has mastered the art of combining ingredients to deliver incredibly exciting flavour.
Always paying attention to details, Dixon has been a mixologist for 20 years and has mastered the art of combining ingredients to deliver incredibly exciting flavour.
The beauty is in those sphere lime ice balls, but the real magic can be discovered in Johnson’s amazing botanist gimlet mix.
The beauty is in those sphere lime ice balls, but the real magic can be discovered in Johnson’s amazing botanist gimlet mix.
Julian Dixon’s festive mixes: the pumpkin kicker (left) and sorrel margarita.
Julian Dixon’s festive mixes: the pumpkin kicker (left) and sorrel margarita.
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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

Ingredients

Diced pumpkin

2 oz Baileys Original Irish Cream

Half bottle Dragon Stout

1 scoop of ice cream

Cinnamon powder

Directions

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

Ingredients

3 oz homemade sorrel syrup

2 oz white rum

1 oz Amaretto

1 oz Triple Sec

Directions

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

Ingredients

2 oz gin

1 oz lime juice

1 oz simple syrup

Sphere lime ice ball

Directions

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

Ingredients

2 oz vodka

1 oz Triple Sec

Sorrel juice

Orange bitters

Cranberry juice

Directions

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.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com