Christmas is a great time to get creative with all things alcoholic. And by this I don’t just mean sneaking a vaguely exotic star anise into the mulled wine mixture, or buying a slightly more expensive bottle of red to the one you normally crack open on a Friday night. It’s a time to experiment with those liqueurs that you bought on a whim and are now sitting unopened, or barely opened, at the back of a cupboard somewhere.
However, Christmas is not a time you want to be faffing around with cocktail shakers, egg whites, sugar-rimmed glasses and other mixological paraphernalia. You want something you can prepare most of in advance, leaving you only the task of pouring as your guests arrive. These cocktails are incredibly simple to prepare and come together in seconds, but they are full of fabulous festive flavours.
First, a twist on the classic mimosa: orange-scented Cointreau is mingled with the juice of fresh clementines before being topped up with fizz. It’s an incredibly zesty, refreshing combination that would work as well for a festive brunch as an evening party. Serve in elegant champagne flutes or gold-rimmed glasses for maximum festive flair.
Second, a twist on the delicious amaretto and cranberry, using Christmassy pomegranate juice instead and livened up with fresh mint, oodles of lime juice and jewel-like pomegranate seeds to garnish. This is gorgeously refreshing and wonderfully festive to look at, with the bright flash of lime and mint against those ruby seeds and juice.
Finally, using classic, festive ingredients such as Irish cream and gingerbread syrup, a couple of recipes to firmly get you into party season.
While mulled wine can’t be beaten on some occasions at this time of year, there’s also definitely a time and a place for an ice cold, tastebud-tingling cocktail; give these a go!
Pour the Cointreau into the bottom of four champagne flutes or large wine glasses.
Divide the clementine juice between each, then top up with champagne. Garnish with clementine slices.
Divide mint sprigs between four tall glasses. Squeeze a lime quarter into each glass then drop it into the glass and muddle. Top with ice and then pour a shot of amaretto into each glass.
Top up with pomegranate juice and stir gently. Sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds over the top. Garnish with the remaining lime quarters.
For a cocktail with a little more ‘bite’ use equal parts pomegranate juice and ginger beer (400ml each).
A creamy martini with a sweet gingerbread taste.
Pre-chill the glasses by filling them with crushed ice. Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until completely smooth. Empty the ice from the glasses, pour the martini mixture into them and grate a little nutmeg on top.
Very refreshing with a nod to the Christmas classic, cranberry sauce.
Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until completely mixed together. Pour into three large glasses and serve immediately.
Will you be serving up some festive cocktails this season? What’s your signature cocktail?