Day 10 – Vada Advent Calendar
Cocktails for Christmas
As Christmas Day approaches our food preparations are in full swing with many a decision to be made, Classic Turkey, the sometimes delicious Nut Roast or a decadent Three Birds in One? These choices pale in comparison to the real, key, question of the day, what do I drink and when? The answer? Well, who doesn’t love a cocktail?!
Cocktail bartenders are often asked how long they’ve trained to learn to make these mouthwatering libations, some do get schooled, but most learn on the job and *spoiler* it’s a lot simpler than you might think. Which means you shouldn’t be put off the idea of shaking up a few for yourself at home!
Here’s my Fabulous Four Cocktails for Christmas recipes and when to have them:
Please note, you will need: one cocktail shaker and plenty of ice. Available at all good superstores; which are sure to have special offers on all the spirits you’ll want.
P.s. I’m assuming we start with Champagne/Buck’s Fizz or Orange Juice depending on your age or tastes.
Think stretching, but for your taste buds. This tipple will get you mouth salivating and your stomach hungry for more. The Negroni should be on the bitter side and despite being entirely booze you won’t be left coughing. Simply combine equal measures of Sweet Vermouth (i.e. Martini Rosso) with any Gin, I like a big one such as Plymouth Navy Strength, and Campari. Fill the glass with ice and garnish with an orange wedge; which can be left like the stocking satsuma, or squeezed for an added fresh sweetness.
25ml Sweet Vermouth
The Classy One
If you prefer to stick to bubbly, like Patsy and I, you might want to ditch the juice and add a hint of seasonal luxury. The name alone should be enough to sell it, it’s The Lady MacBeth. This delight is easily combined by pouring a little port (as much as you like, remembering you can always add but it’s hard to take away) to a champagne flute, then topping the glass with champagne or prosecco. Garnish with an orange peel, white pith removed, twist and drop into the glass. Be careful not to get port on anything white or you’ll be screaming “out, out, damn spot” too.
The Lady MacBeth
Topped with Champagne
Once the mounds of food have been consumed and the cook thanked, very important, you might want to unwind, relax and savour the flavour of a post dinner treat.
This is one of my favourite drinks and can be served two ways. This is a shaken cocktail, served in a coupette glass. The Sidecar includes a healthy measure of brandy or cognac; THE after dinner spirit, and equal parts lemon juice (no seeds please) and triple sec, such as Cointreau. Combine with ice and a splash of water into the shaker. Water is added because the ice at home, unless you have an ice machine, is dry from being in the freezer and you want dilution to bring out all the flavours. Before shaking you have the option to decide if you want a Christmas sparkle and a balancing sweetness with your beverage by adding a sugar rim or keeping is sharp by not. If you do want to, use a lemon to wet the outer rim of the glass, then cover with fine sugar by pressing the glass into the sugar. Shake the ingredients until the shaker is cold, then fine strain into the glass. Sit back and enjoy.
20ml Triple Sec
40ml Courvoisier Exclusif (Cognac/Brandy)
Optional sugar rim
Should your taste buds be hankering for desert as soon as you’ve finished your meal, or you just want something zesty and fruity, The Bramble is the cocktail for you. Another shaken cocktail, you’d usually use crushed ice for this drink but if you can’t be bothered to smash the cubes you’ll be just fine. Combine equal parts sugar and warm (not hot) water to create a sugar syrup first. Then add a little of that to the shaker with fresh lemon juice and plenty of gin. Shake and pour into a rocks/ tumbler glass. Fill with ice then drizzle Creme de Mure over the top adding a beautiful rich colour and a blackberry pie sweetness.
10ml Gomme (Sugar water)
25ml Lemon juice
10ml Mure top.
Enjoy all cocktails in moderation, as well as, wine, beer, more champagne etc.
These easy to make recipes with warm your insides and fill you with [seasonal winter celebration] cheer. You can of course make them all year round, they’ll be the perfect addition to any…well, day.