Christmas is almost here, and the festive jolly spirit comes with considerable stress for those of us who will be entertaining friends and family. The solution, of course, is to resort to another kind of spirit: mixed drinks! Whether you are planning on adding the wow mixology factor to your Christmassy table, or are just looking for something fast and enjoyable, these cocktails are certain to cater for all tastes and demands.
- Cucumber slices, soaked in vodka
- 1 shot of vodka
- A splash of elderflower cordial
- Prosecco, to top
- Mint, to garnish
- Pour the vodka into a glass (a champagne flute or tumbler works)
- Add a splash of elderflower cordial and the cucumber.
- Top with prosecco, garnish with fresh mint and serve.
Experiment with herbs other than mint
PIMM’S BLACKBERRY SPICE
- 50ml Pimm’s Blackberry & Elderflower
- 0ml vanilla syrup
- 6 mint leaves
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Add all the ingredients to a high ball glass, churn over crushed ice. Garnish with a large sprig of mint and a cinnamon stick.
- 35ml Pimm’s Blackberry & Elderflower
- 50ml apple juice
- 35ml double cream
- 3 cloves
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A sprinkle of chocolate powder
- Add the Pimm’s Blackberry & Elderflower, cloves and the apple juice into a saucepan and heat through until warm, being careful not to boil.
- Pour your drink into your chosen glasses, being careful to remove the cloves. Slowly pour the double cream on top. Garnish with a grating of nutmeg and sprinkle of chocolate powder.
OL’S BLUE EYES
This orange-scented whisky cocktail with a hint of vanilla is inspired by Frank Sinatra’s declaration that “orange is the happiest colour” – along with his love of Jack Daniels. The singer was even buried with a bottle of it, and the company has now launched Sinatra Select, a new whisky which is impeccably smooth.
- 40ml Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select
- 10ml Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (see tips)
- 10ml Cocchi Americano (see tips)
- 5ml Benedictine (see tips)
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Stir all ingredients over crystal clear block ice.
- Strain into a 1950’s whisky tumbler over the same style of ice.
- Garnish by serving with orange zest (flamed if you’re feeling fancy) and on a Frank Sinatra 7-inch vinyl (if you’re feeling really fancy).
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao is an orange flavoured liqueur, Cocchi Americano is an Italian aperitif wine and Benedictine is a liqueur. All are available online or in specialist shops.
- 150g (5oz) strawberries, hulled
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- Ice cubes
- A splash of dry vermouth
- 250ml (8fl oz) gin or vodka
- Place the strawberries, sugar and 3-4 ice cubes in an electric blender and blend until pureéd.
- Transfer to a jug or cocktail shaker. Add extra ice, a splash of vermouth and the gin or vodka. Stir gently and then strain into four chilled glasses.
SKY BLUE FEATHER
- 50ml Gordon’s gin
- 20ml fresh lemon
- 15ml gomme
- Lace of Myrtle liqueur
- Blueberries to garnish
- Mint to garnish
- Icing sugar
- Shake the Gordon’s, fresh lemon and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a tumbler filled with crushed ice. Lace with the myrtle liqueur.
- Garnish with blueberries, a mint sprig and icing sugar.
- 3 parts prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol (see Tips for where to buy)
- 1 part soda water
- Slice of orange
- Pour over ice and top with a slice of orange (we like to serve ours in a large bowl-style wine glass). Enjoy!
- 50ml gin (we like Bombay Sapphire for this recipe)
- 100ml lemon tonic water (try Fever-Tree)
- 10ml orange blossom honey
- Long orange peel twist
- Drizzle the honey into the bottom of a tall glass and add the gin.
- Stir to mix fully, then add plenty of cubed ice.
- Top with the lemon tonic water and stir to combine.
- Finish by spritzing the orange peel over the top and sides of the glass. Then, feed the peel into the glass around the ice creating a spiral effect.
Spritzing the orange peel over the glass releases the essential oils of the orange, which gives the drink it’s flavour and aroma.
It’s quite simple to make mulled wine and your house will be filled with amazing smells.
- 1 orange, sliced
- ¼tsp ground cardamom
- ½tsp ground coriander
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- ½tsp ground fennel
- ½tsp ground ginger
- 3 cloves
- 60g raisins, optional
- 750ml red wine
- 250ml port
- 2tbsp sugar
- 125ml akvavit (aquavit) or substitute (see tips below)
- Cinnamon sticks, to serve (optional)
- Put 750ml water in a saucepan with the orange slices, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, fennel, ginger and cloves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the almonds and raisins, if using. Remove from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
- Strain into a clean saucepan, add wine, port and sugar, and stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved: do not allow it to boil. Add the Akvavit and pour into cups or heatproof glasses. Serve with long spoons for eating the almonds and raisins, if using. Cinnamon sticks can be added to the cups to intensify the aroma.
APPLE TWIST GIN AND TONIC
- 50ml Caorunn Gin
- 50ml tonic water
- A wedge of red apple
- Add all of the ingredients (minus the ice) together in a highball glass.
- Stir well, add lots of ice.
STRAWBERRY CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS
- 6 strawberries
- Few drops of angostura bitters
- 6 teaspoons brandy
- 7 cl bottle of dry sparkling white wine or champagne, well chilled
- Divide the strawberries, bitters and brandy between the bottom of 6 champagne flutes. Leave to stand and for the flavours to mingle for ½ -1 hour.
- Top up with chilled sparkling wine just before serving.
- 50ml Gordon’s Cucumber gin
- 50ml pressed apple juice
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 10ml St Germain
- 5 x mint leaf
- Top with soda
- Shake all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and strain into a high ball filled with cucumber ice cubes.
- Top with soda.
- Garnish with a cucumber wheel and a lemon twist.
(Source: House and Garden)