Just the thing to leave out for the chubby guy in the red suit.
"Cocktails don't always need big base spirits to work," says "Doctor" Philip Gandevia. The barkeep of Sydney Deco gem The Roosevelt offers this Christmas refresher as an example of how Sherry (or its Australian equivalent, apera) can be deployed to winning effect in a lower-alcohol drink without compromising on flavour. "It's low-octane but surprisingly complex, and it's rich with Christmas flavours and aromas. It pairs well with panforte, and works just as well as an apéritif." The Roosevelt, 32 Orwell St, Potts Point, NSW, 0423 203 119.
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with pastis (Ricard or Pernod, say) and set aside. Add 60ml oloroso-style Sherry, 30ml Bénédictine and a dash of Angostura bitters to a mixing glass. Add ice, stir for 30 seconds to combine and chill, then strain into the pastis-rinsed glass. Garnish with an orange twist wrapped around a sprig of rosemary and serve.