It’s that time of year again. With Christmas comes a month of celebrations, parties, indulging and, as the saying goes, eating, drinking and being merry. With particular attention to the last two in that list, we’ve compiled some of our favourite tipples for the festive season
THE CLASSIC: VODKA MARTINI
When it comes to cocktails, things don’t get quite as quintessential as the vodka martini. An oldie and definitely a goodie, it’s the epitome of simple, refined drinking, and the basic recipe can be adapted in countless ways to suit different tastes and seasons.
A twist of lemon peel
1. Pour the vermouth and vodka into a mixing glass and fill with ice cubes
2. Stir well and strain into a martini glass
3. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and serve
THE COOL: MOJITO
Refreshing, punchy and with the perfect balance of sweet and sour, the mojito is a longstanding go-to in bars around the world. Great for any time of year, it’s firmly on our Christmas cocktails list thanks to its simplicity and crispness, making it the ideal refresher when you want a break from festive excess.
One and a half limes, cut into wedges
20 fresh mint leaves, plus extra to garnish
Two and a half teaspoons of granulated sugar
A handful of ice
65ml white rum
A splash of soda water
1. Place the limes, mint and sugar into a highball glass and mash with a muddler to bruise the mint and release the lime juice
2. Add the ice and pour over the rum
3. Add a splash of soda water to taste and stir well, then garnish with a sprig of mint and serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease 4 mini pudding basins and 4 small circles of baking parchment with the soya spread and set aside. Mix the flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of cold water and set aside for at least ten minutes, or until it becomes jelly-like and makes a ‘flax egg’.
Sift the self-raising flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves into a medium mixing bowl, then add the flax egg and the melted coconut oil. Mix the treacle with the stout and rum in a measuring jug. Pour this mixture into the bowl and whisk everything together thoroughly. Stir in the lemon zest, apple, almonds, currants, peel, cherries and mincemeat.
Divide the mixture between the prepared basins and top each one with a circle of greased parchment. Wrap each basin in an 18cm square of foil and fold under the edges of the basins.
Place the basins into a roasting tin and pour in enough boiling water to come 2.5cm up the sides of the basins. Carefully place the tin in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the puddings are springy and firm to the touch in the centre. Remove from the oven, unwrap, remove the parchment and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Carefully run a small knife around each one and turn out onto warm serving plates.
THE FESTIVE: ALMOND FOG
Garnish anything with red berries and it instantly shouts Christmas; garnish a cocktail with red berries and you’ve got a festive party starter. With creamy Irish liqueur and rich, sweet amaretto, this is Christmas in a glass 1970.
75ml Coole Swan Superior Irish Cream liqueur
45ml Amaretto Disaronno
Red berries, to serve (redcurrants are perfect)
1. Shake all the ingredients over ice
2. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with red berries and serve