Cheers (Picture: Metro.co.uk)
Pubs and bars might have closed their doors over Christmas, but a do-it-yourself cocktail is the perfect antidote for revellers wanting to lift their festive spirits at home.
‘Is it any wonder that ‘locktails’ became something of a phenomenon during 2020?’ says Julia Charles, who has compiled a book of cool cocktails and warming winter drinks to help banish the pandemic blues.
‘Taking care to craft and serve a delicious drink at home can be very comforting in this time of uncertainty.
‘Most people have bottles of spirits, liqueurs and cordials at the back of their cupboards that can be dusted off and combined with some simple home-made syrups, fresh juices and garnishes to create pretty spectacular drinks.
‘They can bring a much-needed moment of joy whether you are with family, friends or spending the festive season alone.’
Here are some of Julia’s favourite festive recipes:
Portuguese mulled port
Wind down (Picture: Ryland Peters & Small)
Similar to mulled wine but made using port, this is an elegant spiced punch perfect for a winter dinner party. It is fairly potent, though, so serve it in small demitasse cups (or heatproof glasses) at the end of a meal.
- 2 oranges
- 10 cloves
- 6 allspice berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 50g demerara sugar
- 75-cl bottle Ruby port
- Pestle and mortar
Makes 12 servings.
- Peel and slice one orange and squeeze the juice from the second orange. Put the slices and freshly squeezed juice in a large saucepan and pour in 480ml of cold water.
- Lightly crush the cloves, allspice and cinnamon in a pestle and mortar and add to the pan, along with the nutmeg. Add the sugar and bring the mixture slowly to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Simmer gently for ten minutes. Stir in the port and heat gently, without boiling, for a further 2–3 minutes. Sieve and pour into small heatproof glasses or punch cups and serve at once.
Spanish vibes (Picture: Alex Luck/ Ryland Peters & Small)
Who said rosé wine was just for summer? Here is a delicious sparkling wine punch to cosy up with on colder days. It makes a lighter and refreshing alternative to mulled wine.
- 10 seedless white grapes, halved lengthways
- 10 seedless red grapes, halved lengthways
- 1 small orange, finely sliced
- 90ml Grand Marnier or other orange-flavoured liqueur
- 90ml aged sweet red vermouth (such as Carpano Antica Formula)
- 170ml fresh clementine or blood orange juice
- 375ml well-chilled fresh, fruity sauvignon blanc (preferably from New Zealand)
- 75cl bottle well-chilled sparkling rosé (a pink prosecco or cava works well here)
- Dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks, to garnish
- Ice cubes
Makes six to eight servings.
- Put the grapes and orange slices in a punch bowl (or large jug, as preferred. 2. Pour in the Grand Marnier, vermouth, clementine or blood orange juice, white wine and rosé wine and stir to combine. Add plenty of ice cubes and stir again.
- Serve ladled into tumblers or short-stemmed wine glasses filled with ice cubes and garnish each one with a dried orange slice and a cinnamon stick. Serve at once.
Sparkling hibiscus tea fizz (mocktail)
A little non-alcoholic fizz (Picture: Alex Luck/ Ryland Peters & Small)
Tea makes a good base for non-alcoholic cocktails, and cold-brewing the tea rather than using hot water gives a smoother, more delicate taste. Top up with sparkling tonic water for an elegant festive fizz.
- 1 hibiscus teabag
- Runny honey or agave syrup, to taste
- Well-chilled, good-quality tonic water, to top up
- Dried hibiscus flowers, to garnish
Makes one serving.
- Make the cold-brew hibiscus tea. Put the teabag in a measuring jug, add 175ml of cold water and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- When ready to make the drink, add a spoonful of honey or agave syrup to the jug and whisk into the tea. Pour half of the hibiscus tea into a chilled flute glass, top up with chilled tonic water and garnish with dried hibiscus flowers. Serve at once.
This is a delicious holiday drink bursting with all the evocative aromas of the season, such as orange zest, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg and a little splash of warming orange liqueur. It’s great to serve at the end of dinner party in place of a heavy dessert.
Dreamy (Picture: Alex Luck/ Ryland Peters & Small)
- 1 litre milk
- 200g white chocolate, grated
- 2 large pieces of orange zest
- 4 cloves, lightly crushed
- 2 cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed
- a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 90ml Cointreau or any other orange-flavoured liqueur
- 125ml double cream, whipped until stiff
- Candied orange peel and grated white chocolate, to serve
- A milk frother (optional)
Makes six servings.
- Put the milk, chocolate, orange zests, cloves, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until it just reaches boiling point. Froth the milk using a milk frother, or whisk vigorously until light and foamy.
- Add 15ml of the Cointreau to each of the six small cups or heatproof glasses. Divide the milk equally among the glasses and spoon a little of the whipped cream on top of each drink. Sprinkle with candied orange peel and grated white chocolate. Serve at once with small spoons.
Winter Drinks, £9.99, published by Ryland Peters & Small.
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.