Ok, yes, for some of us it’s WAY too early to be thinking about, let alone organising, anything festive. But if you are the head host of your family and live for hosting the best Christmas party of the year it may well be time to put some things in place.
A Christmas party is incomplete without some form of festive cocktail and if you really want to impress then you’re going to have to start sourcing ingredients now and dare we say it, even making some of the components so they have time to infuse to their maximum potential. Trust us, it will all be worth it when you’re handing them out to sounds of enjoyment from the family.
We are going to give you three knockout cocktail recipes to use that cover all bases. You’ve got the classic, the showstopper and the wildcard. Take your pick, or if you’re feeling adventurous, make all three.
The Negroni is a classic in the eyes of every cocktail drinker. The perfect mix of dry, sweet and zesty spirits. For the Christmas version, there’s a slight switch up in the gin component. You can either buy a Christmas gin or, if you feel really fancy, make one yourself by mixing 700ml of vodka, 2 tsp of juniper berries, a strip of orange peel, 4 cloves and 1 cinnamon stick. Allow this to infuse in a cool dark place for 12-24 hours and then strain through a fine sieve or coffee filter into a clean bottle. This will keep well for several months so will be great for Christmas. The other addition is Amaro Meletti, an Italian herbal liqueur.
To make a Christmas Negroni
In a mixing glass or jug pour
25ml Christmas gin
15ml Amaro Meletti
10ml Sweet Vermouth
Stir with ice for 30 to 60 seconds and then strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a slice of blood orange.
Winter Grape and Rosemary Cocktail
This is a delicious cocktail and a real showstopper when served in a classic martini glass. It will take a little bit of prep as you’re going to make your own aromatic syrup but you’ve got plenty of time for this.
Rosemary Simple Syrup
2tsp fresh minced rosemary (about 2 sprigs)
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
¼ cup water
In a small saucepan add the sugar and the water and simmer on low heat till all the sugar is dissolved. Add the rosemary and leave on a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to sit for 20 minutes or until cool. Using a fine strainer or muslin cloth, strain the rosemary out of the syrup. This will keep well in a sealed bottle for about a month.
To make the cocktail add ½ oz of fresh lime juice to a shaker and muddle in 6 large red grapes. Add 4 oz gin and ½ oz of your homemade rosemary syrup. Add ice and shake hard till the outside of the shaker begins to frost over. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a chilled martini glass and top with 2oz of soda. For the all-important garnish, a small red grape or two and the top of a sprig of rosemary would look wonderful.
This one is the true wildcard as it’s a bit unusual, but trust us, anyone who likes mulled wine is bound to like this. Super easy to make and delicious to sip next to open fire.
In a saucepan, gently warm 1 ½ glasses of cloudy apple juice, ½ glass of orange juice, 1 mulled wine sachet (or make your own!) 2 cinnamon sticks and 2-star anise. You don’t want this mixture to boil and you’re looking at about 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
In each glass pour 50ml of Sloe gin and add a slice of orange. Pour the hot mulled juice over the orange slice and gin and serve quickly to keep it nice and warm.