There are always a few things that say Christmas to people. Some will have a particular tradition, no matter how random it is to others, or particular food, that makes their Christmas entirely! For Calum there are a few things that make it Christmas, the first is pork pie for breakfast on Christmas Day (Don’t ask)! and the second is our last cocktail of the week before Christmas, we give you Calum’s Eggnog!
Eggnog is likely to date back to medieval Europe and was developed from a posset drink made with hot milk that was curdled with wine or ale and mixed with spices. These possets were used a cold and flu remedies that made it a winter tradition. The drink appears to have been taken across the Atlantic where the term eggnog was first used in a poem. There are many different versions. In the UK, the drink was popular with the aristocracy who used sherry. Others use rum (Caribbean and Puerto Rico), beer (German) and bourbon (South America). More recently the mix has been used in coffee that has brought it to the masses.
For this week’s cocktail, you will need;
- 2 pints whole milk
- 500 ml Single Cream
- 1 Measure of rum
- 6 egg yolks
- 200g sugar
- Orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Vanilla seeds
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of ginger
- Pinch of Nutmeg (plus some to garnish)
Take the orange zest, rum, cloves vanilla seed and the pinch of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg into a jar and add the rum. Leave for 12 hours to infuse. Once ready, mix the egg yolks with the 200g sugar. Mix together the cream, the egg mix and infused rum and heat the mix through to make custard. Start to add the milk to thin the mix out to the consistency of a milkshake. Once completed, chill the drink until cold. When ready, pour the drink into a glass of choice and sprinkle with nutmeg, and there you have this week’s cocktail, Eggnog.
Calum’s recipe has been tried and tested over many years to try and recreate the store bought drink he used to get in Hong Kong. For Calum it is Christmas in a glass, for Richard…not so much. It is a superb drink to have for a party or to enjoy watching your favourite Christmas movie on Christmas Eve.
It is the Christmas Party season and sadly we have had to forgo our annual party as we are still with Rich’s parents. Since we started dating we have had a Christmas party every year that just seems to get bigger! We love having all our friends with us and now our friends are starting to have children, sharing the Christmas joy with them just makes it better! One thing we always try to do is have a signature festive cocktail to serve and this week’s cocktail of the week went down a storm when we served it up; the Gingerbread Fizz.
Gingerbread is a long standing traditional item for Christmas. It comes in all forms and one of our favourites is Lebkuchen from Germany. We also enjoy making our own gingerbread men (and women) a tradition started by Queen Elizabeth I whose courtiers served them to visiting dignitaries. Every country has their own version of a gingerbread product from cakes to biscuits and they are all served in a multitude of ways. As the original recipe for gingerbread can be dated back to before 1000AD, it is no surprise that it has spread across the world. We came across this idea in Nigella Lawson’s book, Nigella Christmas and on a trip to France found a bottle of gingerbread syrup and ‘one or two’ bottles of Crémant du Loire for us to try the cocktail.
To make this week’s cocktail, you will need:
- One bottle of sparking wine of your choice
- Gingerbread syrup
To make the cocktail, ensure your sparking wine is chilled. Take a champagne glass and add a teaspoon of gingerbread syrup (or more if to your taste). Fill the glass with your sparkling wine and serve. There you have a very simple, but perfect festive cocktail, gingerbread fizz.
The cocktail is a great drink to have at a Christmas Party as it is so simple to make. Our friends loved it and we went through the entire bottle of gingerbread syrup and several bottles of sparkling wine. The laughs and merriment certainly made our party a lot of fun!
With Christmas and winter comes the continued love of mulled drinks. There must be millions of litres drunk each year of mulled something. You could probably drink a different version of mulled wine each day in December. This week, we are taking inspiration from our recent trip to Copenhagen and this week’s cocktail of the week is Gløgg.
Gløgg in Denmark is a staple winter drink. As the borders through the Nordic countries moved regularly over the centuries, it is impossible to say whether it is a Danish started drink, a Swedish drink or German variation of Glühwein imported to Denmark. However it arrived, the Danes have made it theirs! There appear to be as many different versions of the drink as there are Danes! It is traditionally drunk with a Danish winter treat called Æbleskiver, a doughnut/pancake type dessert that is served many ways. We were told the traditional way is with strawberry jam and a sprinkling of icing sugar.
To make this week’s cocktail you will need;
- Bottle red wine
- Almonds slivered
- 1 cup raisins
- Your own version of mulling spices
To start, heat the wine, but don’t let it boil. Add the spices and allow the flavours to infuse for a short while before serving. You can buy premade versions of the spices and as there are many versions, any type of mulled spices will recreate the drink. To serve, pour the wine into a suitable glass or mug using a sieve to remove the spices if using your own. Add the raisins and slivered almonds to the drink and stir. If you are so inclined, you can add a shot of rum, brandy or any other spirit of your choice.
Gløgg is a great way to keep warm whilst taking a short break from the sightseeing across Copenhagen. The only tip we can give is that it is best to serve Gløgg with a teaspoon to get to the good stuff of the warmed raisins and almonds.
This weekend is the first in Advent, which means only one thing, it is the start of the official countdown to Christmas! We both love Christmas and we usually mark this countdown by getting our advent calendars and making our own first mulled drink, which is our Cocktail of the Week, Mulled Cider.
Mulling drinks over winter is a European tradition. Nearly ever European country has their version of a mulled drink. In the UK it is mulled wine, Germany and Austria it is Glühwein and Nordic Countries it is Gløgg, all of which we have partaken in over the years. The concept of mulling wine and other drinks spread across Europe thanks to the Romans during the 2nd century as they conquered and traded with the countries they passed. The mulled spices we use today vary from country to country. The spices in the English version include cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. A Medieval version of a mulled wine also included pepper, rosemary and pepper. There is no one recipe for mulled wine and some of the more unique versions can include sausage and savoury herbs or be fortified with other spirits for good measure.
For this week’s cocktail, you will need;
• Mulling syrup or spices.
To make this week’s drink, pour the cider into a saucepan and heat gently. Add the syrup or spices and bring to a boil. If you are using spices add a a little bit of sugar. Once boiled, allow the cider to cool slightly and ladle into a glass or mug. Add some apple, cinnamon or star anise and you have this week cocktail, Mulled Cider.
Any mulled drink is an enjoyable drink to have on a winter’s night with your feet up next to the fire and mulled cider is one of our favourites. That said, we are always happy to have a mulled drink when it is available.
As halloween draws closer, we decided that it would be time to investigate some spooky themed cocktails. As the books don’t seem to have many, we turned to the net and found a huge range of cocktails that were a variation of a basic. Most had something to make them looks spooky and needed dry ice or something similar. We did come across a few that we wanted to try and have a suitable connection to Halloween. Our first offering for our Halloween themed cocktail of the week is the devilish El Diablo.
The El Diablo cocktail first appeared on the scene in 1946 and appeared in the ‘Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink’ and was named the Mexican El Diablo. The book comes from the restaurant chain that was started in the 1930s as a Polynesian themed restaurant that is still going today. The restaurant has a pedigree of cocktail creation and the founder is credited as one of the possible creators of the Mai Tai.
For this weeks cocktail, you will need;
- Two measure tequila
- One measure creme de cassis
- One measure lime juice
- Ginger beer
- Lime for garnish
To create the drink, add some ice to the cocktail shaker and add the tequila, creme de cassis and the lime juice. Shake to chill the mix and pour into a glass. Fill the rest of the glass with the ginger beer. Once you add the garnish you will have the El Diablo.
The cocktail has a great halloween look and our gothic style goblets add to the theatrical nature of halloween. The ingredients work well and would make a great signature drink for a themed party. Though be careful, the ginger beer hides the alcohol and you could find your self blaming the devil for drinking too much! Maybe, that could be why the drink is called El Diablo.
As Autumn continues we are enjoying the best that the season has to offer. Rummaging through our drinks cabinet we found the key ingredients for this week’s cocktail, The Bramble.
The Bramble is a newcomer to the cocktail scene having been first created in 1984 by Dick Bradsell, who was credited with changing the face of the scene in the 80s. The drink is based on the gin fizz (a new one to try in future!). It is described as a spring drink, but with the blackberry used in it, if feels more like an autumnal one to us.
For this week’s cocktail, you will need:
- 2 measures of gin
- 1 measure of lemon juice
- 1 measure of sugar syrup
- 1 measure of creme du mure (blackberry liqueur)
- Lemon slice and blackberry to garnish
- Crushed ice
To make the drink, add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Once mixed, fill a glass of choice with the crushed ice and pour over the cocktail. Add the lemon and blackberry and there you have this week’s cocktail, The Bramble.
The drink resembles a slushy but is still an enjoyable drink to have on an early autumnal day. Do you have a favourite autumn cocktail, let us know it the comments?
After making a pumpkin cake using our Nordic Ware bundt tin we found ourselves sitting with a few teaspoons of pumpkin purée. Rather than waste it, we decided to create a cocktail using it. There are very few pumpkin flavoured ones, but did take inspiration from Serious Eats and came up with our own Pumpkin Cocktail.
The pumpkin is ubiquitous with Autumn. It has received a massive push in the last few years thanks to a certain coffee based drink! None the less, it is a great ingredient to use for many things. Calum has been known to make a pumpkin and chilli ravioli in addition to the pumpkin cakes and soups. We also like to carve our pumpkins for Halloween, so keep an eye out for efforts in the next few weeks! We may find a need to try a different pumpkin cocktail when we do!
For this week’s cocktail, you will need;
- 2 tsp Pumpkin purée
- 1 measure Vanilla vodka
- 1 measure Pressed apple juice
- Ginger beer
Take the pumpkin purée, vanilla vodka and the pressed apple juice and pour into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake the mix well before pouring the mix into a tall glass with some ice. Fill the glass with the ginger beer. Add a straw and there you have our pumpkin cocktail.
The drink has a lovely smooth taste and certainly would be a hit and any Halloween or autumnal party! It even has Rich’s Mum’s seal of approval!
As we continue to seek out the delights of autumn, finding an autumnal themed cocktail that in not just about apples is not the easiest thing! That said, we did find one from Williams-Sonoma that was all about the apple and looked good enough to tempt us trying. After rummaging through the bar we found the ingredients we needed to make this week’s Cocktail of the Week, the Harvested Apple.
The key ingredient in this cocktail is Calvados. This is essentially an apple brandy that comes from Normandy region in France. We did bring back a bottle from our recent trip to France for Rich’s Dad (just don’t tell him we pinched some). Calvados is first recorded as being made in 1553. Over the centuries the drink has been subjected to taxation and prohibition. The production was important enough to the French that the area it is made in was called Calvados after the French Revolution; this is likely to be as the locals were already calling it this. World War II had an impact on the production of the drink where many factories were rebuilt. It also became the regimental drink of three Canadian regiments who passed through the area following the D-Day landings.
For this week’s cocktail you will need;
- 1 measure Calvados
- ½ measure Elderflower Liquor
- Thin slice of apple
- Sprig of thyme
Take a champagne coop and add the elderflower followed by the calvados and top the glass up with the chilled champagne. Drop the slice of apple into the glass and give it a stir with the thyme leaving the spring in the glass. Once settled, you the cocktail of the week, the Harvested Apple.
The cocktail is a great way to enjoy the start of the autumn season. It has a great apple undertone and could be very easy to enjoy two or three of these!
On a recent trip to Ikea, we did our usual thing and had a look through the food section of the store. In addition to our usual purchases, we found a bottle of rosehip juice. It has a great colour and we both thought it would be great to include in a cocktail. The next challenge was to work out a cocktail that we could use it for. We spent some time trying to figure this one out but came across the idea of mimosa’s that seemed to fit the bill. Adding in the rhubarb we came up with the Cocktail of the Week, the Rhubarb and Rosehip Mimosa.
A mimosa is traditionally made with equal parts of orange juice and champagne. It can be made with any fruit juice and identified by the name, for example, a grapefruit mimosa. The drink was invented as a drink around 1925 at the Hotel Ritz in Paris. Mimosas are now usually found at brunch, wedding receptions and when travelling first class.
For this week’s cocktail; you will need:
- 1 measure Rosehip Juice
- 2 tsp Rhubarb Liquor
In a glass add the rhubarb liquor. You can use any suitable tall glass for this cocktail. The Add the rosehip and then the champagne to fill the glass. Once you have done that, you have this week’s cocktail, the Rhubarb and Rosehip Mimosa.
Given the ease of making this drink, it is understandable why it is used when a drink is needed to produce en mass. It is also a versatile drink to enjoy first thing in the morning or as an early evening drink. The only thing we ask is that you go for the adventure and try a Mimosa that doesn’t have orange juice. It is definitely another one to add to the list of quick and easy cocktails.
As we are now in mid September, our thoughts have started to turn to autumn. Our first cocktail of autumn is making the best of the plums that are now in season. For our Cocktail of the Week we decided to go for a change from the sweet, summer inspired cocktails. We wanted to try something that could be enjoyed in the last of the sun or next to an outdoor fire. We found this one from Difford’s Guide that fitted the bill, the Plum Sour.
The Plum Sour is originally a Japanese cocktail made with sake that has evolved over many years. It falls into the sours family of cocktails. Sours were the original cocktail and classic sours, such as the margarita, kamikaze and the daiquiri can be dated back to the 1860s. The Plum Sour made its leap across from the East some time during the early 20th Century as more Japanese people moved across the world, taking the mix with them and finding an alternative to the sake to create the drink.
For this week’s cocktail, you will need:
- 1 fresh plum
- 1 plum piece for garnish
- 2 measures of vodka
- 1 measure of fresh lemon juice
- ½ measure of sugar syrup
- ½ a fresh egg white
Take the plum and roughly chop it into small pieces. Use a muddler to crush the fruit into a mush. Add a good amount of ice to the shaker and add the remaining ingredients. Give the mix a good shake to cool it well. Take a glass and add some ice before pouring the cocktail in. Add the plum garnish and there you have our cocktail of the week, the Plum Sour.
If you like a sour drink, this is a good cocktail to enjoy. The egg white did make it a slightly unusual drink and something we would probably leave out if we made it again. We would also use sweeter plums to draw out a stronger plum taste.