It is that time of year when a cocktail girl's thoughts turn to party preparations. I've finally persuaded The Husband that it is perfectly reasonable to have 12 people to a dinner party in a tiny flat. Between us, I'm a bit worried how I am actually going to feed and seat everyone so I have come up with a cunning plan: get everyone so jazzy on cocktails they don't care where they sit or what they are eating out of. I spent last weekend devising two cocktails for my party. Here is the first for your delectation.
It's really worthwhile getting good quality apple juice for this cocktail, I'm devoted to the Watergull Orchards juice, nice and local for my Cambridge readers (I get mine in Andrew Northrop Butchers on Mill Road). The Howgate Wonder variety is a recent discovery and hits the optimum spot on the sweet-dry spectrum for my taste. I went a bit mad and made my own ginger and lemongrass syrup by infusing grated ginger and bruised lemongrass in a simple syrup but you could just as easily use this excellent Bottlegreen syrup. I made my test cocktail in a beautiful antique goblet (another wedding present) but I plan on making a huge bowl of this and serving it like a punch, which should make it easy to speedily get everyone in the Christmas party spirit. The Husband was the official taster of the test cocktail and his verdict was "dangerous".
Cambridge Christmas punch
3 part medium-dry apple juice
3 parts sparking wine
1 part vodka
1 part lemon juice
1 part ginger and lemongrass syrup
lots of ice
slices of apple
Combine the apple juice, vodka, lemon juice and syrup in a large glass filled with ice and several slices of apple. Top up with sparkling wine.
Alternatively combine all ingredients in a large bowl, add considerable amounts of ice and apple slices and sit on top of another (larger) bowl filled with ice and salt.