Autumn to me is spice, it’s apples and pears, ginger, the warmth of brown sugar and the smells – oh the smells of deliciousness bubbling away on the stove. So when it came time to dream up an autumn cocktail, I wanted to combine all my favourites into one delicious drink. Meet our spiced pear and brown sugar cocktail! I have to tell you – that brown sugar syrup? It’s pretty much Autumn in a liquid. Pour the leftovers over ice cream, or apple pie because it’s decadent and it’s so delicious. Add in a little spice, a little pear, and this one is just the ticket for your Autumn wedding!


10ml Brown sugar syrup (in a saucepan, combine one part brown sugar to one part water and simmer until sugar is dissolved)

15ml spiced rum

60m Pear Juice

60ml ginger beer


Fresh rosemary



Over ice, combine brown sugar syrup, pear juice and spiced rum in a cocktail shaker. Shake well.

Pour into a lowball glass and top with cold ginger beer.

Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and fresh rosemary.

1. Drinks Menu Sign by Kandvcrafts, 2. Wedding Favor Tags from Preposterouspigeon, 3. Confetti Toss Bags from DetailsOnDemand, 4. Recycled Paper from Feathersandstone, 5. Wedding Table Numbers by Artison, 6. Wedding Vow Books by LaPommeEtLaPipePress

This cocktail recipe is a luxurious treat that combines tea and wine: two of Ms Polka’s very favourite things! It’s perfect for a pick-me-up at an autumn or winter wedding and, because we’re working on ‘The Green Issue‘ this month, it’s environmentally conscious too!

The team at the cosily-lit Lay Low in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs came up with this beauty. It’s a secret bar where they often create sublime bespoke cocktails for private functions in an industrial-meets-sophisticated space. If you’re looking for an intimate wedding, engagement or even after party venue that’s “green”, this may be the place as Lay Low has a focus on minimal waste drinks. They often make their own ingredients from things that would otherwise be thrown away!

Their recipe calls for making your own wine cordial. The idea being that you can use up any leftover red wine (who are you people?!). Packaged in recycled or up-cycled mini glass bottles, the cordial makes for a lovely bonbonniere gift too. There’s also a tea infusion in this recipe, for which you could use tea bags you’ve already brewed a cup of tea with – you’ll just have to adjust the strength of the flavour to taste as they lose a little power after the initial dunking!

Burgandy Flip by Lay Low

  • 60ml Black tea infused brandy
  • 15ml Red wine cordial
  • 15ml Cream
  • 1 Small free range egg
  • Grated tonka bean or nutmeg, to garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a shaker. Shake vigorously without ice. Shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a coupe or fancy glass of choice. Garnish with grated tonka bean or nutmeg.

To make the red wine cordial: Stir 150g caster sugar into 500ml red wine over high heat until reduced to about 300ml.

To make the black tea infused brandy: Add 5g black tea, or even chai or earl grey, to a bottle of brandy (or other dark spirit; just look for a local drop – gotta watch those food miles) overnight. Strain out tea.

About Ms Fleur De Lys: Aside from being Ms Polka’s Editorial Assistant, Ms Fleur de Lys is also Polka Dot Bride’s Melbourne correspondent so you’ll see her running all over town finding wedding inspiration.  As both a lifestyle journalist and cocktail aficionado, Fleur appreciates the power of words whipped up as deftly as a good martini.