Festive season calls for festive drinks! During winter we tend to opt for hot toddies, Christmas spices and ginger beer. At one point I was complaining how there aren’t any nice fruits in season this time of the year, but I was wrong and simply had forgotten how much fun you can have creating festive drink recipes with pomegranate, red currants, pears, cranberries, clementines etc…
Living in Italy you really can’t avoid drinking Spritzes or Negronis all year round, these drinks are so embedded into the Italian culture they tend to be part of everyone’s daily routine. To me, however, Spritz feels summery and therefore I wanted to give both Campari and Aperol Spritz a winter makeover.
Blood Orange Spritz
Create as you would normally with three parts of Prosecco, two parts of Campari and one part of soda. Add 25ml of fresh blood orange juice, a slice of blood orange, a few pink peppercorns and a sprig of thyme. Simple, yet a tad more festive.
Create as you would normally with three parts of Prosecco, two parts of Campari and one part of soda. Add 30ml of X Gin for those dark chocolate and vanilla notes, a slice of orange, a few cardamom pods, cocoa nibs (comes with X Gin) and a sprig of rosemary.
I made this festive drink recipe in a large batch so I could share it with friends throughout the Christmas period. Just pour straight into an ice filled glass, stir and garnish with an orange slice.
250ml Tarquins Figgy Pudding Gin
120ml Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino
120ml Amaro Meletti
40ml Zucca Rabarbaro
15ml Homemade Cinnamon Syrup (see recipe below)
Orange slices for garnish
Many like to use sloe gin in their winter cocktails, but mulberry gin is also festive. In fact, it is very similar, but perhaps a little less tart. For some reason, many of my festive cocktails are red in colour this year!
40ml Dark rum (I used Ron de Jeremy XO)
25ml Mulberry gin (I used Daffy’s)
25ml Redcurrant juice (fresh)
15ml Lime juice (fresh)
20ml Homemade cinnamon syrup*
Shake all ingredients with ice. Double strain into a coupe and garnish with redcurrants. You could also add a sugar and cinnamon rim.
*To make the cinnamon syrup, mix sugar, water and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Cover with a lid and let it rest for at least one hour. Strain and store in the fridge.
Is it even Christmas without cranberries? Or pomegranate?!
Christmas in Finland
40ml Vodka (I used Skotka)
20ml Jaloviina (3 stars)*
20ml MONIN cranberry syrup
15ml Homemade cinnamon syrup (alternatively, you could make cranberry-cinnamon syrup and remove the MONIN syrup)
Dash of fresh lime juice
Shake all but the coconut water with ice. Double strain into a coupe and top up with coconut water. Garnish with cranberries, a coconut flake rim or something else festive.
*I understand Jaloviina is probably not widely available, so a cognac or brandy works fine as well. Or something similar, like Sense of Spirits’ range of cognac-based grape drinks.
Pomegranate seeds (muddled and for garnish)
25ml Fresh pink grapefruit juice
20ml Fresh lime juice
50ml Tequila reposado (I used Casamigos)
Fiery ginger beer
Himalayan salt rim
First coat the rim of your glass with salt, avoiding getting any inside the glass. Muddle plenty of pomegranate seeds through a sieve to create around 25ml of juice. Shake all but the ginger beer with ice and strain over ice. Top up with fiery ginger beer and garnish with the remaining pomegranate.
Want to give your gin a festive makeover?
Ginger & Spice
50ml Spiced gin (I like Kirkjuvagr Aurora)
20ml Fresh orange juice (could also use clementine)
Slice of orange
Fill your chosen gin glass with ice. Add a double measure of spiced gin, the orange juice, cinnamon shavings and ginger beer. Give it a quick stir and garnish with an orange slice and star anise.
See my previous recipes on how to give your G&T a winter twist.
Obviously, we can’t forget hot drinks during these colder months. Below are some of my winter favourites.
The Pear-fect Warmer
50ml Pear-infused Navy Strength Gin* (I used Brighton Gin)
20ml Homemade cinnamon syrup
20ml Fresh lemon juice
Pear slice for garnish
First combine cinnamon syrup, lemon and hot water in your chosen glass/mug. Give it a stir and add a double shot of pear-infused gin. Make sure to leave enough room to add a pear slice into the glass.
*To infuse the gin, simply add pear cubes into the gin and leave it to rest in the fridge for three to four days. Try it after three days and decide whether it will need more time. You don’t need to infuse a whole bottle, just measure your preferred amount of gin into an airtight container and add the pear cubes.
Did you know you can also make mulled wine in a slow cooker?
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
750ml Red wine (fruity, but not too sweet)
Bottle of apple cider (optional)
Juice of half an orange
Half an orange sliced
5 Cardamom pods
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 Star anise
Combine all the ingredients except the brandy in the slow cooker and cook on warm for half an hour to an hour (or until hot, as time varies depending on the cooker). Add the brandy towards the end of the cooking time. You can stick the cloves into the orange slices to prevent them floating around. Keep the slow cooker on the ‘Keep warm’ setting for a few hours if you are serving it throughout the evening.
Nordic Mulled Wine
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 Star anise
Small piece of ginger
Peel of half an orange
1 cup of sugar (less if the juice is very sweet)
1.3 cups of blackcurrant juice (if not available, you can use cranberry, redcurrant or apple juice or even a mix of all three)
A bottle of red wine
Vodka (this can be replaced by rum, port or cognac)
Mix all the spices together in a pot with the sugar and the juice. Heat up and let it boil until the liquid becomes slightly thicker, syrupy – approximately ten minutes. Take the pot off the hob and add the red wine and stir well. Remove the spices and add a little vodka. Heat the mixture slightly, but do not boil at this stage. Serve with raisins and almond flakes. If some of your guests don’t like vodka, you can add a shot straight into the glass for those who like theirs a bit stronger.
Other possible ingredients:
- Frozen cranberries
- Pomegranate juice
- Lemon juice, lemon wheels
- Use orange zest instead of peel
- Black pepper
- Replace white sugar with brown sugar, muscovado, honey or maple syrup
- Forget wine and make Mulled Cider
- Replace red wine with medium-bodied white wine
And finally, something to be enjoyed instead of a dessert. WARNING! You might want to make a big enough batch to enjoy seconds, because it is DELICIOUS!
35ml Rum (I used Santiago de Cuba Anejo)
20ml Coffee liqueur
20ml Dark chocolate liqueur
20ml MONIN tiramisu syrup
First whip the cream, but don’t make it too thick. Shake all the ingredients (except the cream) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and gently spoon the cream on top. Garnish with cocoa powder.
I have created a list of other Christmas essentials, everything from bottles to festive drink recipes and food-pairing ideas, to help you get organised early. Hopefully, your plans will run smoothly.
What is your favourite Christmas drink? Do you mix festive cocktails at home?