I saw that a local Asian supermarket sells durian, so I picked one up, and was thinking that making an alcoholic drink for Christmas would be a great idea, but what kind of drinks could I make?
It seems to be difficult to find recipes. For example, searching for "durian cocktail recipes" has a couple recipes but most results aren't actually cocktails. There are even a couple results talking about whether it's even safe to mix with alcohol.
So, are there any cocktails which use durian? If yes, how do I find the recipes?
Durian has a powerful flavor and a creamy consistency, so the usual tricks of soaking durian pieces in liqueur or incorporating them into a sangria or juicing it for punch or isn't going to work very well.
Durian does blend into a smoothie very well, and also into a milkshake, similar to the way one would make a banana milkshake with a banana, some milk and a sweetener of your choice. The best part about milkshakes is that they take the addition of vodka very well - it will enhance the flavors in the drink, and not bring too much of its own to conflict with the durian. You can experiment with other liqueurs, but I would avoid fruit-flavors and strong aromatics. Brandy and coffee liqueur may be suitable points of departure.
There are even a couple results talking about whether it's even safe to mix with alcohol.
I think this is the interesting part of this question: you obviously can use durian in a cocktail, but should you?
As you point out, there's a question of safety. There are at least two reasons to believe that mixing durian and alcohol might not be entirely safe:
One study suggests that a component of durian can interfere with alcohol metabolism.
There's evidence that eating durian can increase blood pressure.
For most healthy people, the risk associated with drinking a durian cocktail might not be all that great. On the other hand, sharing a cocktail with friends and family should be a safe, enjoyable activity that doesn't require interviews about the imbibers' medical conditions and the signing of waivers.
The last thing you want to do as a host is to offer your guests something that you don't know to be safe. There are hundreds of other fruits available for use in cocktails, so I'd steer clear of durian until more is known about its interaction with alcohol metabolism and blood pressure.
Durian has the tag of "smells like hell, tastes like heaven". Most hotels in south east Asia will not allow you to bring the fruit into the hotel and there is a fine if you do. The fruit juice street vendors in Siem Reap Cambodia just mix the fruit with tinned sweetened milk, water and ice cubes and make a smoothie at a cost of US$1.
So for a cocktail you just need to add an alcohol that will be harmonious with the taste of the Durian. So what cocktails go with fruit or fruit juice? Mai Tai, piña colada, there are many. Maybe white rum, maybe dark rum, just experiment, should be fun. I'll do the same thing next trip to south east Asia when I have some fresh durian fruit, and cheap booze to play with.