If you’ve been reading SummerFruitCup for a while, you’ve probably realised that my wife and I are quite partial to the odd cocktail. We’re fortunate enough to have quite a well-stocked cellar, but even we sometimes find cocktail recipes, designed for home-mixing, that call for some obscure liquor or home-made concoction: lychee syrup, home-made violet sugar, some obscure fruit that’s in-season for two weeks every other year…
So I was quite pleased to hear about the new Tesco Real Food Cocktail Finder, a new feature on the Tesco Real Food website and a tool that I hope will make home-mixing much easier.
They kindly sent us a hamper of festive goodies with the aim of us coming up with a Christmas Cocktail for the site. Always one to overdo it, we came up with four.
50ml Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka
25ml Lemon Juice
One Heaped Teaspoon of Mincemeat
Combine ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a cocktail or small wine glass.*
*If Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka is not available, use plain vodka and add a few drops of vanilla essence.
You might not usually think of putting mincemeat in a cocktail, but this is inspired by the Marmalade Cocktail from the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.
This is a rich and flavourful drink, with rich vanilla from the vodka and strong fruit and spice flavours from the mincemeat. The lemon juice balances the drink and gives it crisp finish, which stops the drink from becoming sickly.
1 sugar lump
3–4 drops of Angostura or Orange bitters
Juice of ¼ of a lemon
25ml of Gin
One pinch of cinnamon and one of nutmeg
Add the sugar cube to the bottom of a Champagne Flute, add the bitters and the cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour in the Gin and lemon juice. Top-up with Sparkling Wine.
This is a variation on the French ‘75 with the addition of some cinnamon and nutmeg.
Crisp and clean, this would be quite pleasant to offer guests as they arrive on Christmas Day; a stronger alternative to Bucks Fizz, it would also be great for New Years Eve. The additional pinches of spice add a slightly festive feel that complements the bitters, making a light and clean, but flavourful drink.
25ml Captain Morgan Rum
25ml Disaronno Amaretto
100ml Warm Apple Juice
Combine the Rum, Amaretto and warm apple juice in a heatproof mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Very comforting, with some dark burnt sugar flavours from the Rum, followed by the sweet marzipan of the Amaretto and then the farm fruitiness of the apple juice. Smooth, delicious and decidedly moreish.
50ml Captain Morgan Rum
25ml Fresh Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Mincemeat
100ml Ginger Beer
Shake Rum, lime juice and mincemeat without ice. Strain into a tall glass with ice and top up with ginger beer. Garnish with a straw and a wedge of lime.
Tasty and refreshing, like your usual Dark & Stormy, but with an extra festive dimension, courtesy of the winter-spiced mincemeat. I gave this to some friends that are not usually Rum fans and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
It was great fun to experiment with these drinks and my favourite was easily the Mincemeat Madness, although the MerryTod proved popular too.
I’d also encourage folks to experiment with their own drinks and variations on classic recipes; that way, it doesn’t matter so much whether you have the exact ingredients or not. Just remember to always have plenty of ice, avoid mixing citrus and cream (it will curdle), and never put a fizzy drink in a cocktail shaker!