Well, what a week. On Friday I popped up on This Morning to talk & taste homemade festive drinks and halfway through Gary Barlow walked onto the set and ended up tasting my Christmas Pudding Rum (click here to see what he made of it). Then, on Saturday Kitchen this weekend I had to make Stanley Tucci a festive cocktail on live television. STANLEY TUCCI! I know, I can’t believe it either. Anyway, lots of you have been asking for the recipes so here they are but before I get to the drinks, I just want to thank you so much for your support over the past year. Writing this blog continues to be one of my greatest joys and I love hearing from you. Please do email me with any drinks-related questions you might have, I’m always happy to help if I can.
In the meantime Happy Christmas, you filthy winos x
Homemade Cranberry & Orange Gin
200g cranberries (frozen or fresh)
200g caster sugar
Thinly sliced peel of 1 orange
500 – 700ml gin (I usually make these up in 500ml batches so as not to use a whole bottle)!
Take a clean Kilner/Ikea glass jar or bottle and add all the ingredients, pricking some of the cranberries or giving a few of them a gentle squeeze as you drop them in. Add the sugar, orange and gin and shake so all the sugar dissolves. Shake gently every day for a week. You can either decant it then back into clean bottles or leave it for a little longer if you want more flavour (taste as you go)! If making as presents, fill a 500ml glass bottle about a third full with cranberries, add 10 teaspoons of sugar and 10 thin strips of orange, then top up with gin.
Serve: mix with ice, tonic and a twist of lemon for a festive G&T or add a dash to prosecco.
3 unwaxed large lemons
To make it, peel three ripe unwaxed lemons and put the peel into a clean jar. Pour over 500ml of standard vodka, seal it and leave for a week. Give it a gentle shake every day if you remember. After a week, put 300g of sugar in a pan and add 300ml of boiling water, stirring it gently until the sugar dissolves. Leave it to cool before adding it to the jar of vodka and lemon peel and leave it for another week. Again, give it a daily shake if you can. When ready, strain the liquid through a sieve into a jug and pour it back into the jar or into a clean bottle (or smaller bottles: again, this makes for great presents). Seal and store.
Serve: neat, chilled at the end of dinner, pour over ice cream or add a dash to sparkling wine & gin to make a Lemon 75!
Homemade Christmas Pudding Rum
500ml dark rum
50g light brown muscovado sugar
1 vanilla pod (split lengthways with a knife)
1 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
Peel of one orange cut into thin strips
Put 100ml of rum into a small saucepan and add everything else to the pan, stirring slowly until the sugar dissolves. Don’t allow it to boil or we lose the alcohol! Pour everything into a clean jar and add the rest of the rum. Give it a good shake and do so every day for at least a week, a little longer if possible. Then decant into a clean bottle or smaller ones if giving as presents.
Serve: pour over Christmas pudding, sip neat or make a spiced rum & ginger beer with lots of ice and a half slice of orange to garnish.
Apple & Cinnamon Whisky
500ml Whisky (or Bourbon if you prefer)
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons caster sugar
Slice the apples (no need to peel and core!) and put them into a clean jar. Add the cinnamon sticks and sugar and pour over the whisky. Give it a gentle shake and continue to do so once a day for a week. When ready (and again do taste as you go!) strain into a clean bottle or smaller ones if giving as presents.
Serve: Make a hot toddy (add hot water and a dash of honey) or serve cold with ice, ginger ale and a slice of apple to garnish.
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp maraschino cherry syrup from the jar
1 maraschino cherry on a cocktail stick
Sparkling wine (I usually use Cremant)
This is a suitably festive twist on a classic sparkling cocktail, the French 75. To make it put a coupe in the freezer for five minutes then add the gin, lemon juice and syrup from the jar of cherries into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into your coupe and top up with chilled fizz. Finally pop in your cherry!