Four festive cocktail recipes for you to try over Christmas

Pubs and bars might have closed their doors over Christmas, but a do-it-yourself cocktail is the perfect antidote for revellers wanting to lift their festive spirits at home.

‘Is it any wonder that ‘locktails’ became something of a phenomenon during 2020?’ says Julia Charles, who has compiled a book of cool cocktails and warming winter drinks to help banish the pandemic blues.

‘Taking care to craft and serve a delicious drink at home can be very comforting in this time of uncertainty.

‘Most people have bottles of spirits, liqueurs and cordials at the back of their cupboards that can be dusted off and combined with some simple home-made syrups, fresh juices and garnishes to create pretty spectacular drinks.

‘They can bring a much-needed moment of joy whether you are with family, friends or spending the festive season alone.’

Here are some of Julia’s favourite festive recipes:

Portuguese mulled port

Similar to mulled wine but made using port, this is an elegant spiced punch perfect for a winter dinner party. It is fairly potent, though, so serve it in small demitasse cups (or heatproof glasses) at the end of a meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges
  • 10 cloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 75-cl bottle Ruby port
  • Pestle and mortar

Makes 12 servings.

Method

Fireside Sangria

Who said rosé wine was just for summer? Here is a delicious sparkling wine punch to cosy up with on colder days. It makes a lighter and refreshing alternative to mulled wine.

Ingredients

  • 10 seedless white grapes, halved lengthways
  • 10 seedless red grapes, halved lengthways
  • 1 small orange, finely sliced
  • 90ml Grand Marnier or other orange-flavoured liqueur
  • 90ml aged sweet red vermouth (such as Carpano Antica Formula)
  • 170ml fresh clementine or blood orange juice
  • 375ml well-chilled fresh, fruity sauvignon blanc (preferably from New Zealand)
  • 75cl bottle well-chilled sparkling rosé (a pink prosecco or cava works well here)
  • Dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks, to garnish
  • Ice cubes

Makes six to eight servings.

Method

Sparkling hibiscus tea fizz (mocktail)

Tea makes a good base for non-alcoholic cocktails, and cold-brewing the tea rather than using hot water gives a smoother, more delicate taste. Top up with sparkling tonic water for an elegant festive fizz.

Ingredients

  • 1 hibiscus teabag
  • Runny honey or agave syrup, to taste
  • Well-chilled, good-quality tonic water, to top up
  • Dried hibiscus flowers, to garnish

Makes one serving.

Method

This is a delicious holiday drink bursting with all the evocative aromas of the season, such as orange zest, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg and a little splash of warming orange liqueur. It’s great to serve at the end of dinner party in place of a heavy dessert.

White Christmas

Ingredients

  • 1 litre milk
  • 200g white chocolate, grated
  • 2 large pieces of orange zest
  • 4 cloves, lightly crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed
  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 90ml Cointreau or any other orange-flavoured liqueur
  • 125ml double cream, whipped until stiff
  • Candied orange peel and grated white chocolate, to serve
  • A milk frother (optional)

Makes six servings.

Method

Winter Drinks, £9.99, published by Ryland Peters & Small.

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