Christmas Spirits

Right, cocktails. Below are a few suitably festive favourites from Homemade Cocktails (my new book, just in case you’re here by accident/for the first time). But first, an idea for a last minute present.

Homemade Cranberry & Orange Gin

Get an empty 500ml bottle, fill it with 100g of fresh cranberries (prick them with a pin as you pop them in, strangely therapeutic I swear), 50g of caster sugar, thinly sliced orange peel and about 400ml of (cheap) gin. Shake daily until you wrap it. Within a few days the gin will take on a heavenly pink hue and start smelling of oranges. And it’ll keep for months. Drink it as you would in a G&T or use in place of gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a French 75 (see below).

Brandy Alexander

On Christmas Day, just when you think you can’t move from the sofa, make a round of these. As pick-me-ups go, they’re pretty impressive. Not to mention totally luxurious.

50ml brandy

50ml crème de cacao

50ml single cream

Grated nutmeg to garnish

Put a handful of ice into a cocktail shaker and add the brandy, crème de cacao and cream. Shake well and strain into chilled Martini glasses. Grate a bit of nutmeg or sprinkle a pinch of ground nutmeg over the top and serve.

French 75

My all-time favourite champagne cocktail. If you decide to keep your homemade cranberry & orange gin, use it here and leave out the sugar syrup and lemon juice, adding a bit more gin instead.

25ml gin

15ml fresh lemon juice

15ml sugar syrup (less if using prosecco)

Champagne (or another sparkling wine)

Twist of lemon peel

Put a couple of ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and add the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Shake and strain into a chilled flute or coupe and top up with chilled champagne. Add a twist of citrus peel.

I’m signing off until next year so just wanted to say a really big thank you for joining the party this year. Without you it would be a very dry do indeed.

KM x

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