Friday, 28 December 2012

Fabulous Friday: (Almost) New Year Cocktail Hour

Cranberry Orange Fizz
 Rachel, Dublin

I'm not a fan of new year resolutions.  Even when you try to increase their chance of success by trying to take up something new rather than giving up a vice they're still doomed to failure and, by the end of January, they're consigned to that pile of stuff you berate yourself about.

It's funny then that I find myself making a bit of a resolution this year, although I'm steadfastly not calling it that.  It's more like a well intentioned promise to be a bit nicer to myself, a bit kinder, to not be taking on so much.  Does this sound a bit self-indulgent? Maybe, but I think that if I start being nicer to myself then that will trickle down to being nicer to others as well and I may even be able to get rid of that pair of "cranky pants" that The Boyfriend is convinced I'm wearing at some point almost every day!

So, how am I going to achieve this?  Well, I was inspired by Aoife's two most recent posts about her Christmas party.  I strongly identified with what she said about possibly taking on a little too much work in preparation for the meal and I loved her idea about serving cocktails that could be prepared in advance and shaken with ice just before serving.  I am regularly guilty of taking on far too much work in the kitchen and it's something that transports me to a place of mega-stress very quickly.  

Mojito Fizz
What better place to start my resolution good intention then than with my own cocktail making?  I came across a recipe for Mojito Fizz in the most recent  (January) issue of the Good Food magazine and decided that this would be a perfect stress-free tipple for Christmas day. The mix is easily scaled up or down and you can prepare it well in advance (the previous day is fine), then all you need to do is pour a measure in each glass and top up with sparkling wine.

mojito fizz (for two) from Good Food Magazine

juice and zest of one lime
10 mint leaves
2 tbsp caster sugar
sparkling wine

Combine the ingredients in a mini food processor, whizz, and leave to infuse for half an hour, then strain.  Pour 25ml into a champagne flute and top up with sparkling wine.

I wanted to create a similar style of cocktail but with more seasonal flavours for my 'mini christmas' with The Boyfriend (he was away for the day itself).  I thought that fresh cranberries would provide a good sour note and that they would balance well with some orange zest and freshly squeezed juice.  

These recipes provide precisely the sort of wow factor that you want when serving cocktails to guests but the fact that you can do all the preparation, bar the pouring, in advance means that you won't be a stressed out hostess and can enjoy the party as much as all your guests. Perfect for any New Year's Eve celebrations you may be planning!

cranberry orange fizz (makes five)

juice and zest of one large orange
20 fresh cranberries (defrosted are fine)
1 tbsp caster sugar
sparkling wine

Combine the orange zest and juice, cranberries and sugar in a mini processor and whizz and leave for half an hour before straining.  Place 25ml in a champagne flute and top up with chilled sparkling wine.  Cheers and best wishes for 2013!

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