Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Cocktails

Aoife, Cambridge

I can tell it's getting close to the shortest day of the year, the quality of my photographs drops off in direct proportion to the amount of daylight available. But, crap photos aside, I am very excited about these Christmas cocktails. I have two to share with you today. The first, a variation of an old favourite of mine that's perfect for a party or for drinking during the day on Christmas Day. The second is my attempt to capture what Christmas means to me and express it through the medium of cocktail. Probably a bit ambitious but I award myself bonus marks for effort.

So spiced apple punch first. I gave you the basic recipe for this one last year but this year, I decided to jazz up the ginger syrup with extra spices and reduce the alcohol level by using sparkling water instead of sparkling wine. I took 300g of peeled grated ginger, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 crushed cardamom pods and the end of a nutmeg and poured over about a litre of boiling water from the kettle. I allowed this to sit and infuse for about two hours. I then strained out all the bits, and added an equal amount of sugar (1kg for my 1 litre of liquid). Once dissolved, I added a tablespoon of vodka and decanted to a sterilised bottle which I keep in the fridge. It's perfect for a party as it's so easy to make up a big jug, keep it the fridge until your guests arrive and then serve in prepped glasses. If you leave out the vodka, you also have a lovely non-alcoholic drink.
spiced apple punch
3 parts apple juice
3 parts sparkling water
1 part ginger spice syrup
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part vodka
I combine everything in a jug apart from the sparkling water which I add at the last minute.

You can hear me talking in more detail about how this cocktail represents an Aoife Christmas on the Flavour programme on Cambridge 105 this Saturday. But what's really important is that it tastes absolutely and delightfully Christmassy and delicious.

Christmas spirit (serves one)
30 ml Christmas pudding vodka
15ml PX Sherry
10ml Irish whiskey
5ml fresh lemon juice
5ml fresh orange juice
3 dashes each of orange bitters, cranberry bitters and chocolate bitters
Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker with plenty of ice and stir or shake until cold. Strain into a prepared glass and garnish with a piece of orange zest, making sure to release the oils.

The perfect cocktail for a lazy Christmas afternoon in front of the fire.

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