Tag Archives: cocktail

GINGERBREAD MAN COCKTAIL

gingerbread cocktail

Give the Bailey’s a break and make your own creamy concoction.
This isn’t quite as heavy as Bailey’s or as rich as something like eggnog but it’s still got a bit of a kick to it. It makes a nice alternative to dessert at the end of a festive meal.
For the ginger simple syrup you need equal amounts of sugar and water (about 3 tbsp of each) and a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger that you’ve sliced into 6-7 pieces and bashed about a bit to release the juice. Combine them in a small pan and let the mixture bubble over a low heat for 5 minutes. Allow to cool before straining and using. This doesn’t make a lot of syrup, enough for 1-2 people but you can easily increase the amounts if you need to.

gingerbread cocktail

Makes 1 (very) generous serving

25ml bourbon
25ml vanilla vodka
25ml ginger simple syrup
15ml amaretto
30ml single cream
ice
pinch of nutmeg/cinnamon

Add everything but the cinnamon or nutmeg to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake to combine and then strain into a glass. Sprinkle the top with a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon.

gingerbread cocktail

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CHRISTMAS STOCKING COCKTAIL

Clementine sour

Put the fruit at the bottom of your Christmas stocking to good use this year and make one of these.

Clementine sour
I love this drink, it looks all sorts of fancy but it’s actually pretty easy to make once you’ve got the syrup. It’s not as tart as a ‘sour’ because the clementine juice is nice and sweet and the spices make it wonderfully fragrant. I also like to think that the foamy egg white layer on the top makes it look extra festive and snowy.

This makes enough for two drinks but you can easily increase the quantities. To make the simple syrup lightly crush 3 cloves and 1/2 tsp pink peppercorns before combining with equal amounts of soft brown sugar and water (about 3 tbsp of each) in a small pan and heating gently for a few minutes. Leave to cool before straining and using.

Clementine sour

Makes 2
75ml bourbon
2-3 strips of clementine/satsuma zest
25ml clove and pink peppercorn brown sugar simple syrup
Juice of 2 clementines/satsumas (50ml approx)
25ml triple sec
1 egg white
ice

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into coupe or martini glasses and let the foam settle on the surface before garnishing with pink peppercorns.

Clementine sour

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SPICED APPLE SPARKLER

Spiced rum & cider cocktail

It might be because I was raised in the West country but I’d take one of these over a bucks fizz on Christmas morning every time. This is made from apple and spice and all things nice. And by ‘all things nice’ I mean rum.

For the simple syrup (there’s enough here for two drinks but you can easily increase the quantities) lightly muddle 3 sprigs of rosemary with 3 tbsp sugar in a small pan. Snap a cinnamon stick in two and add this to the pan along with 3 tbsp of water. Heat gently and allow to bubble for a few minutes. Leave to cool before using.

Ingredients

makes 2
30ml cinnamon and rosemary simple syrup
50ml spiced rum
ice
dry cider, apple slices and rosemary sprigs to serve

Shake the rum and syrup along with the rosemary and cinnamon from making the syrup in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Strain it into glasses filled with ice and top up with cider. Garnish with an apple slice and a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Spiced rum & cider cocktail

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Pomegranate & Rosemary Shrub

Mr Colonial Cravings again with another boozy post. I had been threatening for some time to do another shrub and, when recently perusing our local supermarket I decided that pomegranate would be an excellent fruit to use in one. I was warned by Mrs Colonial Cravings about how finicky pomegranate is to deal with, and it turned out that she was once again correct! However, I’m glad I persevered as it makes a lovely base for a tasty shrub and I’d say it was well worth the effort.

pomegranate_shrub3

Ingredients

2 parts pomegranate juice
1 part white wine vinegar
1 part sugar
2 sprigs of rosemary

This is incredibly simple to make and as with the previous shrub it’s very tasty as either the basis of a soft drink or as a cocktail ingredient. Start by juicing your pomegranates (much better to try this with a blender and sieve, otherwise you’re left with the task of forcing it manually through a sieve a few seeds at a time which takes ages – believe me I know!). The reason this recipe is noted in ‘parts’ is simply because the amount of juice extracted from your pomegranates can vary massively based on your fruit and the time you’re willing to put into juice extraction.

Once you have your juice, measure out half the same volume of sugar in a bowl, add one of the sprigs of rosemary to the sugar and then lightly press them together. Don’t bash it too hard otherwise you risk extracting the bitter chlorophyll from the leaves as well as the flavourful oils we want, so be gentle. Once you’ve got it started, leave it to one side (for at least 15mins) and the sugar will continue to extract and absorb the herb oils for you from the lacerations in the herb.

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Combine the herbs and sugar, juice and vinegar together in a jar and shake until mixed together. Leave the jar in a dark, room temperature location for a couple of days and then remove the rosemary and store the liquid shrub in the fridge. It should now last for some time, at least a few months, although I’m sure you’ll have consumed it a lot sooner than that!

I’ve use this in a refreshing and simple gin based cocktail by combining equal parts gin and shrub and then topping up with soda water in a rocks glass finishing off with a garnish of fresh rosemary to emphasize the fragrance. As ever though, feel free to adjust the relative levels based on your own tastes as you build the drink. I’m confident that whichever way you go it’ll still go down very easily!

pomegranate_shrub1

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MANDARIN-BASIL SHRUB

Mr Colonial Cravings here, writing a guest post on my wonderful wife’s excellent blog! (you see I get to benefit from the fruits of Mrs Colonial Cravings efforts, so I really do think it’s excellent!)

mandarin basil shrub

A few years ago, while in a sleepy Cornish town, I was party to a very British tradition, the pub lock-in. My ticket to such a prestigious event lay with the old bar piano, on which I had been entertaining the locals with increasingly messy versions of Delilah, Your Song and Hey Jude (amongst other less memorable sing-alongs), increasingly messy because the locals had been plying me with the traditional Cornish tipple Rum & Shrub. I came away with an almighty hangover, but also with a taste for this new delightful beverage, and its similar cousin Brandy & Lovage.

Not only do they taste great, but they have a great story too. Shrubs have been around for a long time, according to ‘The Ark of Taste’ it was a colonial drink whose name derives from the Arabic word sharab, to drink, but by the time they arrived in Cornwall they took on their own unique purpose. Cornwall was a hot-spot for smuggling due to its abundance of coastline littered with many small coves, and one of the big items to smuggle was booze, in the form of French Brandy and Caribbean Rum. Trying to get a barrel of booze, in the dark, onto a small boat, into a small cove in the notoriously fickle seas around Cornwall could easily result in a dunk in salt water leaving you with a tainted product. No problem, just adding some Shrub or Lovage would mask that salty taste – proper job (as they say in Cornwall!).

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Anyway, fast forward to the present and I find in our new stateside home that Shrub is back again, and back with a vengeance. I’ve even got a book on it now and have found out you can make all kinds of yummy shrubs by combining fruit, vinegar, sugar, water and herbs. So Mrs Colonial Cravings asked me to have a play with a new shrub concoction and write a post about it. This is a simple shrub combining mandarin and basil, it’s incredibly easy to make and can be used in all sorts of drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Ingredients

2 mandarins
lots of basil (at least 20 leaves)
100g sugar
120ml white wine vinegar

Remove the zest from the fruit, trying to keep the amount of white pith to a minimum. Muddle the zest thoroughly with the basil and the sugar before covering and leaving it for 1 hour (this allows the sugar to extract the citrus oils from the zest).

Combine the oily sugar mix with the squeezed juice of the fruit and the vinegar. Stir it well so that the sugar dissolves and then strain the liquid into a clean jar and give it a good shake. Put the shrub in a cool dark spot and leave it for a couple of days for the flavours to mellow and mingle together. When it is ready store it in the fridge until you want to use it, the sugar and vinegar combined with the cold of the fridge should keep it fresh for a long time (although ours only lasted 6 weeks because we’d drank it all by then!)

Now you have your shrub there are many ways to use it, here are a few suggestions we tried but I’d encourage you to get creative and try others too.

Elderflower & Mandarin Martini – try this sophisticated drink for size.

blogmandarinbasilshrub_elderflowermartini

Ingredients

2 parts shrub
4 parts gin
1 part elderfllower cordial

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and then strain into martini glasses. Add a simple garnish of basil for presentation.

New-Fangled – my take on an Old Fashioned!

blogmandarinbasilshrub_newfangled

Ingredients

1 part shrub
2 parts bourbon
1 tsp honey
2 dashes of bitters

Warm the honey so it will dissolve more easily and then combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (without ice), shake and then serve over ice in a rocks glass. Add a twist of mandarin peel for presentation.

Mandarin-Basil Mocktail – even the kids can get involved in this one, it makes a very sophisticated and refreshing take on a soft-drink.

blogmandarinbasilshrub_mandarinmocktail

Serves 2

1.5 oz shrub
1 tsp demerara sugar
big handful of basil
soda water

Muddle the basil (keep some leaves for garnish) with the sugar in a jug (or directly in the glasses if they’re sturdy). Add the shrub and then slowly add the soda water to keep the fizz. Serve in glasses with a garnish of basil leaves.

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SUMMER BLUSH

Summer blush- gin, prosecco & raspberry

I’m not a fan of champagne or other sparkling wines. I would much rather have a beer than a glass of Bolly.

This however is the exception. I guess it’s a bit like a raspberry Bellini but with the added bonus of gin. I’m not going to lie, this is what really sells it to me.
The botanicals in the gin (I’ve tried this with Green Hat and Hendricks, both are great) really complement the acidity of the raspberry and wine. And obviously because it’s sparkling, it’ll make you feel all kinds of fancy!

Summer blush- gin, prosecco & raspberry

Ingredients
Makes 4-6

1 small punnet of raspberries
2-3 tbsp really good gin (depending on how boozy you like things)
2 tsp icing sugar
1 bottle of chilled prosecco
mint leaves to garnish

Pick out enough nice looking raspberries for a garnish and then whizz together the sugar, gin and remaining raspberries in a food processor. Pass this through a fine mesh sieve to leave you with a smooth puree.
Add a generous tablespoon of the puree to each glass and top up (be careful, it’ll fizz up a bit) with the chilled prosecco. Garnish with the reserved raspberries and some mint leaves.

Summer blush- gin, prosecco & raspberry

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G & THAI (same same but different)

Thai gin and tonic

I love so much about travelling in Southeast Asia, the people, the culture, the landscape and obviously because I’m a glutton, the flavours. Fragrant and sweet and sour and fresh and creamy and spicy and all perfectly harmonious. But it’s not all massaman curries and jasmine rice. I’m just as happy to drink in the flavours with a gin and tonic. On a sunny evening, if I sit on my deck, block out the noise of the road and close my eyes I can almost pretend that I’m back in Krabi whilst I sip one of these.
I’ve used Bombay Sapphire East for this because it’s infused with lemongrass and Tanqueray Rangpur would also be nice but it’s not essential, just choose a gin that you really like.

To make the simple syrup cut a 6″ lemongrass stalk into three and give it a quick bash with a rolling pin. Stab a red chili several times (or slit it open if you want it really spicy) and put this and the lemongrass in a small pan with 70ml of water and 3 teaspoons of sugar. Gently simmer this for about 5 minutes and then leave it to cool. The longer you leave the chili and lemongrass in the syrup the more flavour and heat you’ll get out of them. I actually put it all in a jam jar and leave it over night and then strain it just before I use it.

Thai gin and tonic

Ingredients
makes 2
70ml of Bombay Saphirre East
2 tbsp chili-lemongrass simple syrup
squeeze of lime juice
tonic water

Stir together the gin, lime juice and chili-lemongrass syrup. Fill a couple of tumblers with ice and then divide the mix between them. Top each glass up with tonic water and garnish with a slice of lime and lemongrass stalk.

Thai gin and tonic

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