The festive season is well and truly upon us. A time for get togethers with friends and family, sharing good food and drink, and maybe a cocktail or 2. Here are my favourites from a happy weekend recipe testing. Cheers and happy December to all.
recipes: Ema at De Tout Coeur Limousin
Barszcz Bloody Mary
|Barszcz Bloody Mary|
My Barszcz Bloody Mary cocktail is inspired by those festive family dinners and flavours I grew up with. It's great as an aperitif before a festive meal, and this year it may well replace the traditional hot barszcz soup that I would normally serve as a starter for our Christmas Eve dinner.
100ml beetroot juice
20ml sweet pickled gherkin liquid
15ml lemon juice
5ml Worcestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch black pepper
pinch garlic salt
add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a large handful of ice, shake and serve in a highball glass with your garnishes of choice. Na zdrowie!
The Merry Snowman
|The Merry Snowman|
It wouldn't be Christmas without a creamy whiskey based liqueur in my opinion. In this recipe my homemade version is served over a scoop or 2 of chestnut liqueur ice cream, creating a slowly melting puddle of very merry snowman.
An indulgent festive cocktail - perfect after dinner as a dessert and an alternative to the traditional Christmas pud or mince pies.
whiskey cream liqueur
makes enough for about 6 cocktails
200g sweetened condensed milk
130ml double/whipping cream
2 tbsp cold espresso/strong black coffee
1 tsp cocoa powder
add all ingredients to a blender and whizz for 30 seconds. You can whisk it by hand if you don't have a blender.
store in a sterilized bottle in the fridge until ready to use.
chestnut liqueur ice cream
makes about 400ml
150ml double/whipping cream
85g condensed milk
2 tbsp creme de chataigne (chestnut liqueur)
marron glacé (candied chestnuts)
make sure all the ingredients are well chilled before pouring into a bowl and whisking until the mixture forms soft peaks. Pour into a suitable container and freeze until set. This takes about 4 hours or so, but depends on your freezer. Take the ice cream out a few minutes before you want to use it to let it thaw a bit and make it easier to scoop.
to make The Merry Snowman cocktail:
add a few scoops of the chestnut liqueur ice cream to a short tumbler glass and top with about 100ml of the homemade whiskey cream liqueur. Serve with a few marron glacé or shortbread on the side for extra Christmassyness.
cooks hints & tips:
If you can't find chestnut liqueur you could substitute for another 'nutty liqueur' such as Frangelico or Amaretto.
for an easy alternative version of my recipe you can use a shop bought whiskey cream liqueur and a scoop of hazelnut or Amaretto gelato/ice cream.
Scale up the recipe for the whiskey cream liqueur for a great homemade Christmas gift. I always make a few bottles to give away (and keep!) during the festive season.
You can scale up the ice cream recipe too - a quick and easy no-churn ice cream. A handy dessert to have in the freezer over the busy festive season. Delicious served with Christmas pudding or hot mince pies.
The whiskey cream liqueur is just as good made with bourbon if you prefer.
smoke & spice
|smoke & spice|
Full of festive colour and cheer my smoke & spice cocktail combines vodka, a warming ginger and pink peppercorn syrup, sage smoke, pomegranate juice and orange. Serve over ice with a twist of orange peel and a few fresh sage leaves.
ginger and pink peppercorn syrup
makes about 500ml
120g chopped ginger
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
zest of 1 orange
2 cups water
2 cups demerara sugar
add all the ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely before straining through a sieve. Store in an airtight container/bottle in the fridge until ready to use.
to make the smoke & spice cocktail:
100ml unsweetened pomegranate juice
25ml ginger & pink peppercorn syrup
25ml orange juice
2-3 sage leaves
strip of orange zest
carefully light the sage leaves, blow them out and place them on a heatproof surface, put the highball glass on top to catch the gently smoldering smoke while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
add the rest of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a handful of crushed ice, shake and pour into the glass. Garnish with a strip of orange zest and a few fresh sage leaves.
cooks hints and tips:
The leftover ginger syrup is delicious poured over ice cream, as a tea sweetener and added to fruit smoothies. It would also make a lovely food gift.
Swap the vodka for bourbon, which also works well with the spicy ginger, citrus and sage flavourings.