Well the silly season is in full swing and this is likely to be the last update from b&t for 2010. It has been a hell of a year to be honest and 2011 is already looking like a corker too, what with trips to Copenhagen and New York in the pipeline, testing beginning on our full website and a list of topics to blog about as long as my arm (and at 6’6” I have pretty long arms!). So now we are nearing the end of 2010 I guess it’s time to shake a cocktail or two and reflect on the year past and look forward to the year ahead.
I always know it’s Christmas time when I start getting inundated with emails from brands and PR companies telling me about their amazing holiday drinks recipes and asking me to feature them on my blog. Each one seems slightly more cliché than the last. How many hot drinks featuring apple juice/cider, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg and stirred with a cinnamon stick, could any one person possibly want to drink? It seems like every spirit brand has come up with ‘this years must have’ Christmas drink, but maybe they all went shopping for ingredients at the same supermarket! Consequently precisely none of them have made it onto bitters&twisted.
Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the desire to get in the festive spirit, but just because December has rolled around again doesn’t mean I have a sudden need to overdose on heavily spiced cocktails. So here at b&t HQ we’ve decided to treat Christmas drinking with a touch of restraint and the only clichés in sight are in some of the cheesy cocktail names of the drinks we’ve come up with. Our festive drinks are actually the sort that we could enjoy at any time of the year and there’s no need to rush out and buy a 1kg bag of cinnamon sticks if you want to make any of these at home!
I was thinking about the traditional family Christmas and the types of alcohol consumed. You know how it goes, Mum and daughter sipping a bucks fizz with breakfast, Gran and her sherry before lunch, Uncle Graham’s on the real ales (as always), and I like my brandy (cognac please!) on the side with my christmas pud if you don’t mind. Dad’s bound to crack open some Scotch as the winter night draws in and I’ll no doubt be tutted at for choosing bourbon instead. All in all it’s pretty mundane drinking considering it’s supposed to be a celebration day. So this year I’ll be drinking cocktails, but as a nod to the family, I’ll be using their tradition Christmas drinks as a starting point. Hopefully there’s something here to appeal to every member of the family (at least those old enough to drink!)
FIZZ AND FLOWERS
Why waste champagne in a Bucks Fizz, either enjoy it on its own or maybe with a couple of ingredients that wont get in the way of enjoying it. For me St Germain goes beautifully with champagne, but a splash of Campari and a dash or two of bitters really brings it to life. Make sure to garnish this one with a warm mince pie and enjoy while opening presents!
15ml St Germain Elderflower liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
champagne to top
Simply pour the St Germain, Campari and bitters into a chilled champagne glass and top with champagne. Garnish with an orange twist.
There was a time when hot ale flips were one of the most popular drinks around, sadly those days have passed but we thought we’d dust off our favourite hot flip recipe and update it with a big hit of Scotch (for Dad) and a hint of Pimento Dram because it is Christmas and a hint of spice works perfectly in this winter warmer!
Beat a whole egg and two barspoons of sugar together until well combined and starting to turn light a frothy. Heat a bottle of ale in a small saucepan and have another saucepan close to hand. Add the ‘batter’ to the cold saucepan along with 50ml of Chivas 12yo and 5ml of pimento dram. Pour the hot ale into the other saucapan and continue pouring from one pan to the other until well combined and frothing. Pour into pre-heated glasses/mugs/tankards and grate some nutmeg over the top.
Don’t be afraid to try different scothes with this one, if you like them peaty then Ardbeg works a treat here two. Personally I love the rich chocolate and orange notes that I get from Chivas, but the beauty of this drink is that it changes depending on the spirit you use!
My Grandmother is always looking for an excuse to have a small glass of sherry, and Christmas day seems to provide her with an all day excuse… “well, it IS Christmas… it only happens once a year you know…”. This year maybe I’ll join her in sipping some sherry while listening to the Queen make her speech, only I’ll have mine with a few other ingredients stirred into it thank you very much.
45ml Fino Sherry
10ml Cacao Blanc
5ml Green Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura bitters
In a mixing glass combine all ingredients with plenty of cubed or cracked ice and stir well to chill and dilute. Strain into a chilled tulip or flip glass and garnish with a lemon twist. God save the Queen!
FETCH MY SLIPPERS
This is definitely one for after dinner as it pulls it’s flavours from some of our favourite end of meal ingredients. Hints of chocolate, smoke, sweet port and dry smooth cognac combine. The only way to drink this is in front of the fire, wearing your smoking jacket and enjoying a cigar (or perhaps a pipe?)… oh and don’t forget your slippers!
20ml Tawny Port
5ml Mozart black
2 dashes Fee Bros plum bitters
In a mixing glass with plenty of cubed or cracked ice stir the above ingredients until your feet are cold and you feel the need to go and sit by the fire, strain into a coupe and garnish with an orange twist, before telling the youngest family member within earshot ‘go and fetch my slippers!’.
This is an all round crowd pleaser of a drink, it looks like Christmas in a jar and is fantastically easy to sip. Simple to make and gentle enough that even those who usually turn their noses up at bourbon might just find they like it.
35ml Four Roses Yellow Label
20ml lemon juice
2 barspoons maple syrup
cranberry juice to top
In a jam jar stir together the maple syrup and lemon juice before adding Four Roses Small Batch bourbon, then ¾ fill the jar with crushed ice. Churn to mix all ingredients, then top with more crushed ice and top with cranberry juice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and 3 fresh cranberries before dusting with a pinch of cinnamon (well we couldn’t leave it out entirely!) and powdered sugar.
Well that’s it from b&t for this year, don’t forget to sign up for updates here
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! We hope you have a fun silly season, play in the snow, eat too much food and raise a cocktail or two to absent friends!