Christmas is a time when mulled wine and hot cider brews reign supreme in the drinks department, but for those that are partial to a cold tipple during the festive season, the Christmas drink options can often be limited and disappointing.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, here are some great suggestions to add to your Christmas party drinks menus for those who’d prefer a chilled drink but for those of us who prefer our Christmas drinks warm, spicy and comforting, I’ve included a fabulous mulled wine recipe from Nigel Slater.
3 mint leaves
1 tablespoon Cranberry Reduction
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons of your favourite rum
Lemon-lime soft drink
Garnish: fresh mint leaves, lime slices, cranberries
Muddle the mint leaves, cranberry reduction, and fresh lime juice against the sides of a cocktail shaker (or a flask with a lid).
Add ice cubes and the rum.
Cover with lid and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds).
Strain into your drinking jar glass filled with ice cubes.
Top with lemon-lime soft drink and garnish with fresh mint leaves, fresh cranberries and a slice of lime.
6 1/2 tablespoons sugar
6 1/2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh blueberries
2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
gin (3 tablespoons per drink)
First, you’ll need to make a simple syrup.
Put equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan (for this recipe 6 ½ tablespoons of each) and cook over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally (should take about five minutes).
Add the blueberries and cook for 10 minutes until the blueberries burst and the syrup is purple.
Add the lime juice and remove from the heat.
Let cool and strain.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 parts gin to 1.5 parts blueberry syrup and some ice. Shake and strain into glass.
Top up with soda water or for a twist try sparkling elderflower!
6 ripe blood oranges
small knob of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of caster sugar (optional)
1 bottle of medium-dry prosecco
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 180 C fan (400 F), Gas Mark 6
Cut the oranges in half. Put the butter in a large frying pan and heat until really hot.
Place the oranges flat side down in the pan and leave to char for 5-10 minutes. You want to get them nice and black
Remove from the pan and place the oranges into a roasting tray. Roast for around 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Squeeze the juice from the oranges. Taste the juice to check it is not too bitter. If so, add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Half fill your champagne flutes with juice (approx 75 ml per glass) and top up with chilled prosecco.
(Makes approx. 6 servings)
3 Star Anise
10 Cardamom pods
750ml bottle of fruity red wine
Handful flaked almonds
Pour the vodka into a jug
Add the cloves, cinnamon and star anise
Crack open the cardamom pods and add them including the seeds
Remove the peel from the orange in long strips
Add to the vodka together with the strips of peel from half the lemon
Set the mixture aside overnight
The next day, strain to remove the spices (Nigel suggests keeping the Star Anise for garnish)
Pour into a large stainless steel pan and add the wine.
Warm slowly over a moderate heat. DON’T let it boil.
Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan and scatter them over the surface of each cup as you serve the wine.
(Makes approx. 15 servings)
2 litres cranberry juice
250ml orange juice
lemon/lime cordial diluted to taste in 500ml soda water
Garnish: oranges, limes, cranberries
Slice up the oranges and limes and throw into the bottom of a drinks dispenser or large punch bowl along with the cranberries.
Mix all the punch ingredients together and pour on top. Serve ice cold.
TIP: For an alcoholic twist add prosecco or champagne for a festive fruity fizz that’ll liven up any party!
What is your favourite Christmas drink during the festive season?