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Christmas ideas (Pt 5a): Drinks – cocktails

With many of the other pleasures, like visiting family and friends ruled out, treat yourself to a drink

So, what’s the gameplan for Christmas on the drinks front? Alcohol or non-alcohol? It’s time to make up your mind. Here, we present a few boozy options which might take your fancy. If you prefer non-boozy, please see link at the foot of this piece.

You might have spotted cocktail guru Pritesh Mody, when he appeared on ITV’s How to Spend it Well at Christmas with Philip Schofield making a selection of cocktails for some of The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) crew. The cocktails he made included an Espresso Martini, a Winter Mojito, a G&T Milanese and a vegan Whisky Sour (all recipes below). 

  • Espresso Martini: 
    • 50ml vodka
    • 25ml fresh espresso (single shot)
    • 25ml Kahlua coffee liqueur
    • 5ml Gomme syrup
    • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker 
  2. Shake until chilled
  3. Strain into a martini glass
  4. Garnish – dusting of cinnamon
  • G&T Milanese
    • 30ml gin
    • 30ml Campari
    • 100ml London Essence tonic

Method

  1. Pour all into an ice-filled highball or large balloon style glass 
  2. Give a quick stir
  3. Garnish – orange slice
  • Winter Mojito
    • 60ml gold or dark rum
    • 15ml Funkin spiced syrup
    • 15ml lime juice
    • Top with London Essence ginger beer

Method

  1. Pour rum, Funkin spiced syrup and lime juice into an ice-filled tumbler (use crushed ice if available)  
  2. Give a good stir 
  3. Top with around 75ml London Essence ginger beer
  4. Garnish – mint sprig
  • Whiskey Sour
    • 50ml bourbon
    • 25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 15ml Gomme/sugar Syrup
    • 20ml of syrup from a tin of black cherries 
    • 25ml Aquafaba (unsalted chickpea water) or half an egg white

Method

  1. Pour all into an ice-filled cocktail shaker
  2. Shake hard until you can feel the shaker chill
  3. Using a cocktail or tea strainer, pour liquid into an ice-filled tumbler
  4. Garnish – cherries and a dusting of cocoa/hot chocolate powder

But what if you seek a warm cocktail to thaw you out this festive season? Here is a trio which were featured on TV’s Sunday Brunch:

Hot Gin Punch (serves two)

  • 50ml Reverend Hubert Gin Liqueur (£36 from here)
  • 50ml Oloroso sherry
  • 100ml cranberry juice
  • Slice of lemon and orange
  • Garnish – lemon peel

Gently warm the cranberry juice in a pan for three minutes with lemon and orange slices before adding the gin and sherry. Continue to warm for a further two-three minutes until you can smell the lovely aromas. Garnish, pour and enjoy.

Cocoa Picante (serves one)

  • 40ml The Lost Explorer Espadin Mezcal (£62.50 from here)
  • 200ml Hotel Chocolat Chilli Hot Chocolate (or 70% hot chocolate warmed through for a couple of minutes with a quarter slice of Habanero chilli)

Pour Mezcal into the cup of hot chocolate, give a quick stir, spray orange peel oil over the drink and garnish with the peel

Winter sidecar (serves two)

  • 60ml Remy Martin 1738 Cognac (£43 from here)
  • 40ml Cointreau
  • 40ml lemon juice
  • 60ml cloudy apple juice
  • Tablespoon marmalade
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Tablespoon sliced fresh ginger
  • Two-three fresh blackberries

Gentle bring to simmer all non-alcoholic ingredients for five minutes. Then add alcoholic ingredients and continue to warm for around three minutes until you can smell the aroma. Strain into your glass and garnish with a few blackberries.

Now I must admit that I am not likely to abstain from alcohol this Christmas. After all, it seems likely that other festive pleasures might be in short supply. Well, that’s my excuse – not that I normally need one. But, if sitting there getting slowly, but surely, mellow is not for you, see here for some thoughts on the non-alcoholic front.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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