Christmas is almost upon us, which means it’s time to get fancy with the tipples.
Here are six recipes for seasonal drinks guaranteed to give Santa’s ruddy red cheeks a run for their money
Whether you’re throwing a party, or just want to enjoy a couple of drinks on the sofa, it’s worth making the effort this Christmas.
While a bottle of beer, glass of wine or a shoddily-made spirit and mixer might pass muster during the rest of the year, Christmas is the one time when you should think more carefully about what you’re drinking.
Rightly or wrongly (and I’m not passing judgment here and trust you to drink responsibly), the festivities are as much about a few stiff drinks for the grown-ups as presents for the children.
You might need a couple of special ingredients for these recipes – the almond syrup in one and the blood orange-infused gin in another, and need a little preparation time – but other than that, there’s nothing to trouble even the most amateur bartender.
There’s also a non-alcoholic punch, or ‘punchless’ if you will, for those who want something special without the booze. If you’re making a few at a time, just multiply the quantities.
All you’ll need, then, is some ice (and for quality and quantity’s sake, it’s probably best to buy a bag in from the supermarket), a couple of martini glasses, although these aren’t essential if you don’t mind going without, and a cocktail shaker.
Once again, the shaker isn’t completely essential, you could make do with a lidded jar and a sieve, but it goes without saying you should make sure you don’t spill any. With drinks this tasty, you won’t want to waste a drop. Chin chin!
:: REKORDERLIG HOT TODDY
25ml spiced rum
15ml lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
220ml Hot Rekorderlig Winter Cider
Mix the rum, honey and lemon together.
Add hot Rekorderlig Winter Cider and stir.
Serve with a cinnamon stick and serve with a wheel of orange.
:: COINTREAU WINTER BERRY FIZZ
10ml Almond syrup (This can be made in advance using a cup of water, two cups of sugar and half a teaspoon of almond extract. Place the water in a pan, bring to a boil, add the sugar, keep stirring while it dissolves then remove from the heat and add the extract. Refrigerate before using.)
3 or 4 fresh blackberries
20ml lemon juice
Shake and strain the ingredients into a glass, then top with soda water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
:: CLOVE KISS GIN & TONIC TWIST
50ml Bombay Sapphire (infused with blood orange and cloves)
100ml tonic water
2tsp caster sugar
1 green cardamom pod
For the blood orange-infused gin:
Take a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin and pour out 50ml. Replace with 35ml of fresh blood orange juice, eight large peels from the skin of a blood orange and 10 cloves (adjust to taste). Replace the cap, shake well, and place in the fridge until you’re ready to drink it, but for at least 24 hours.
For the flavoured sugar:
Take the seeds from one green cardamom pod and place in a pestle. Crush well with the mortar until there’s a fine powder and then add a couple of teaspoons of caster sugar. Mix well with a teaspoon. Reserve to one side on a saucer.
Take a chilled balloon glass. Wipe some blood orange juice on the rim of the glass, then turn the glass upside down and roll the rim around the saucer of cardamom infused caster sugar until it’s fully covered. Shake off any excess.
Turn the glass the right way up and fill with cubes of ice, being careful not to knock off the sugar. Pour in 50ml of the blood orange and clove-infused Bombay Sapphire. Stir briefly.
Top the glass with 100ml of tonic water, being careful to retain the fizz. Stir again very briefly. Finally, add a wheel of blood orange, studded with five cloves, to the top of the glass.
:: BAILEYS CINNAMON SPICE
25ml Baileys Hazelnut flavour
25ml Baileys Original
20ml Smirnoff vanilla vodka (Or make your own with plain Smirnoff and ¼tsp of vanilla extract)
1 stick cinnamon
Ground cinnamon to garnish
Fill a jug or cocktail shaker with ice.
Measure both of the Baileys, vodka and milk into the jug or cocktail shaker (if you don’t have the flavoured Baileys, use 50ml of Baileys Original instead).
Shake the mixture vigorously until the surface of the cocktail shaker feels chilled, or stir for several minutes to get the same effect.
Use a cocktail strainer to strain the mixture into a martini glass.
Sprinkle cinnamon powder on the surface of the drink, and place a cinnamon stick at an angle in the glass to garnish.
:: RASPBERRY AND CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO MARTINI
50ml Smirnoff Espresso vodka
25ml chocolate syrup (the kind used as an ice cream topping available from all supermarkets)
Cocoa powder to garnish
Fill a shaker with ice.
Measure the vodka and syrup out into a shaker. Add eight to 10 raspberries. Shake until cold.
Strain into a martini glass.
Sprinkle cocoa powder over the top of the drink to garnish.
:: FORCED PUNCHLESS
60ml Cawston Press Apple & Rhubarb Juice
120ml Cawston Press Sparkling Lemon & Lime
20ml fresh lime juice
Shake the ingredients with ice and then strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with Sparkling Lemon & Lime, stir and serve with straws. Serve garnished with lemon and lime wedges.
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