Smooth and luxurious, soften the chill and takes thing up a notch with these stellar serves, says Sam Wylie-Harris
If you’re looking for inspiration ahead of the party season and wondering how to shake things up when you entertain this year, these delectable, eye-catching concoctions are bound to revamp your repertoire.
Fuelled by some of the most innovative makers and distillers, there’s never been a better time to be a budding mixologist with a thirst for knowledge – or quite simply, someone who loves a well-crafted tipple.
To embrace the ritual of making the perfect cocktail, these powerful pours will not only bring some panache to wintry gatherings but will style up your drinks cabinet too (and make the occasion worthy of that little
Just be prepared to do battle with a lemon juicer and invest in some bartender armour…
© PA Photo/Grey Goose
1. Grey Goose Espresso D’hiver
Back by popular demand, Grey Goose La Vanille Vodka (£39 for 70cl, Ocado) has been relaunched to provide that little something extra in espresso martini cocktails. The vanilla flavoured vodka perfectly complements the finest coffee and will add a seasonal twist to your bartending talent, especially with the resurgence in popularity of the martini espresso.
50ml Grey Goose La Vanille
30ml freshly brewed espresso coffee
20ml spiced mulled wine syrup (see below)
10ml simple syrup.
For the mulled wine syrup
Add 1 part sugar (200 grams) to 2 parts (400ml) or about half a bottle of good quality French Bordeaux,
1 squeeze and zest of lime wedge
1 squeeze and zest of orange wedge
2 whole cloves, cinnamon stick
A few allspice pods
1 small grating of nutmeg
1 star anise,
2 pinches of Fleur de Sel.
Heat and simmer for 15 mins (do not allow to boil) to reduce. Strain and keep in a sealed container (the syrup lasts up to one month).
Half fill a shaker with ice. Add the ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans. Ta-da!
© PA Photo/Ciroc
2. Ciroc Black Raspberry Royale
A new addition to Ciroc’s library of flavoured vodkas, the winter limited-edition Ciroc Black Raspberry (£39, Amazon, available from November) looks set to fly off the shelves, with its glossy black bottle inlaid with gold lettering. A vodka distilled five times from French grapes and infused with vibrant black raspberry, the contrast of forest fruits with a touch of citrus can be enjoyed neat on the rocks or in this striking new serve – which is as much about the sexy new look as it is the
35ml Ciroc Black Raspberry
15ml lemon juice
15ml simple syrup
Sparkling wine or soda to top
Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and vermouth. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top up with preferred bubbles and garnish with frozen grapes or berries.
© PA Photo/Tanqueray No Ten
3. Tanqueray Martinez
Building on the timeless elegance of a martini, the martinez is cited as the ‘father of the martini’ and has two interpretations when you delve into the histrionics – and clock the list of ingredients.
To save you swatting up on the martini cocktail family tree, it’s similar to a gin martini but with a hint of sweetness: Try it with another classic, Tanqueray No. Ten Gin (£32 for 70cl, Sainsbury’s).
50ml Tanqueray No. Ten
25ml sweet vermouth
5ml maraschino liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
1 orange for the twist
1 maraschino cherry.
Half fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Stir slowly until chilled – stop and taste every now and then to make sure the drink doesn’t get too diluted. Strain into a frozen martini glass or coupe. Use a vegetable peeler to remove a strip of peel from the orange (try to get as little pith as possible), and twist over the glass to release the oils. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
© PA Photo/Bulldog Gin
4. Bulldog Gin’s Winter Warmer (serves 6)
Take the chore out of polishing up the punch bowl by firing up the bleakest evening with this delicious punch, which shines the light on Bulldog London Dry Gin (currently reduced to £15 from £22 for 70cl, Tesco, until November 12) and its punchy botanicals (12 in total). Although it looks fiddly, once you’ve pre-batched the mixture it’s very simple to serve, and your friends will love the warming tickle as it travels south.
480ml Bulldog Gin
480ml sweet wine (Madeira)
1.5tbsp dark muscovado sugar
1 lemon (juice & peel)
1 orange (juice & peel)
1 tbsp ground almonds
3 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 liquorice sticks
Pinch of ground nutmeg.
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer (do not allow to boil), cook for 30 minutes. Slowly pour the mixture into a heat-proof punch bowl (strain the punch through a sieve if you don’t want the hassle of trying to ladle around spices and peel) and serve warm in a rocks or toddy glass. Garnish with a slice of orange.
© PA Photo/Warner Edwards
5. Warner Edwards Rhubarb Sour
Proffer a tray of this scrumptious looking cocktail, and flavour-hunters will be wowed by the sweet and tangy burst of rhubarb in Warner Edwards Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin (£38 for 70cl, Waitrose), charged by lemon and sugar to create a sherbet like sensation.
50ml Warner Edwards Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin
25ml lemon juice
20ml sugar syrup
Dash angostura bitters
1 egg white (optional)
Blackberries and lime wedge to garnish
Dry shake (without ice) all ingredients together, then shake again with ice and strain into a chilled coupette. Garnish with blackberry and lime.
By Sam Wylie-Harris, Press Association