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.
Makes 1 (very) generous serving
25ml vanilla vodka
25ml ginger simple syrup
30ml single cream
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.
Put the fruit at the bottom of your Christmas stocking to good use this year and make one of these.
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.
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
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.
Note to supermarkets – if you make avocados 50 cents each I’m going to buy way too many of them. This in turn means that I’m going to have a lot of very ripe avocados to get creative with and there’s only so much guacamole that even I can eat. I bought six of these super cheap super fruits, hence the appearance on here of many avocado based recipes and this was what I made with the last (exceedingly ripe) one.
I think that this makes a really good dairy-free alternative to a milk shake and it feels a bit more indulgent than a smoothie. It’s very thick and creamy. Raspberries with avocado is one of my favourite combos, I think that their sharp tang really compliments the creaminess of the avocado.
This is packed with fibre and vitamin C and obviously you’ll be getting all the usual avocado based benefits too, so next time you get bored with your bowl of bran flakes maybe you should treat your tummy to one of these for breakfast!
125g raspberries (frozen ones work fine and keep the whole thing nice and chilled)
1-2 tsp honey (to taste)
squeeze of lime juice
1 very ripe avocado
350ml (approx) unsweetened almond milk
Whizz together the raspberries, honey and lime juice in a blender or food processor until they are well pureed. Add the avocado and the almond milk and blitz again until everything is thick, creamy and smooth, you don’t want any lumps of avocado that can get stuck up your straw!
Christmas doesn’t officially start for my friends and I until we have bundled our way into a cosy pub and wrapped our frozen fingers around a steaming glass of mulled wine or cider.
This is a great way to recreate that feeling at home without having to brave the cold or battle your way through the supermarket to find the ready-made stuff.
If you have any pretty bottles it also makes a nice gift and an alternative to those little sachets of spices that you can always find for sale in gourmet food shops at this time of year.
Makes approx 300ml
3-4 strips of lemon rind
3-4 strips of orange rind
6 cardamom pods
4 allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick
Dissolve the sugar in the water using a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle bubble and leave for 5 minutes, or thereabouts. Add the spices, orange and lemon and leave to bubble away for a further 10-15 minutes until the liquid has become a pale golden colour.
Leave to cool at room temperature and then store in a sterilized jar or bottle. If possible leave this to fully infuse with Christmassy flavours for a few weeks before straining out the spices and peel and pouring into pretty bottles for gifts.
Mix with hot red wine, cider or apple juice to taste, a couple of tablespoons of syrup per 250ml of wine is usually about right but it’s really up to you.
On her recent visit, over a Ginger Romance or two, my friend told me about a cocktail that she had tried which was made using gin infused with Earl Grey tea. Well this sounded like a wonderful idea and the perfect Colonial Cravings cocktail. What could be more British than tea and gin?
I don’t actually know what went into her cocktail but I’ve kept mine pretty simple, basically making it the way that I would make a cup of Earl Grey tea, with lemon to compliment the bergamot and a little sugar to sweeten it.
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to persuade her to take me for one of the original cocktails when I go home for Christmas…
100ml gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
1 tsp loose leaf Earl Grey tea
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp simple syrup
lemon zest/rind to garnish
Stir together the gin and tea leaves and allow to ‘brew’ for about two hours.
Pour the gin through a tea strainer and mix with the lemon juice, simple syrup and ice. Strain into two glasses and garnish with curls of lemon rind.
A few years ago I spent a fantastic couple of days visiting Budapest with some friends. One evening we ate at a great restaurant called Menza where we started our evening as we meant to go on by indulging in a cocktail called a Ginger Romance.
As I said, the cocktail was only the start of our evening, so my memories of the ingredients are not 100% clear but I’m fairly certain that it involved gin, ginger and elder-flower.
Even if this version isn’t completely true to the original it’s still a deliciously refreshing start to an evening.
Serves 2 (you can’t have a romance on your own can you?)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbs elder-flower cordial or liqueur
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
60 ml good gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
ginger ale (optional)
Grate the fresh ginger and mix with gin, lemon juice, elder-flower cordial and ice. Strain into a glass and top with a splash of ginger ale for a long drink or into or leave plain for a stronger Martini style cocktail.
I’ve been making the most of the still wonderfully warm weather with evening drinks on our deck. Our rum stores are still amply stocked so mojitos seem to be the order of the day. A particularly hot spell has left the mint looking a bit on the tired side however but the basil plant is still over-achieving. I believe that they’re from the same family so why not substitute one for the other. I also changed the lime juice to lemon juice because I thought something slightly less tart might work better with the sweet basil.
5-6 fresh basil leaves (plus extra to garnish)
1/2 tsp sugar
50ml good quality golden or dark rum (I used Flor de Cana 4 year old)
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
splash of soda water
Muddle together the basil and sugar until the leaves have broken down but they aren’t quite a pureed mush. Add plenty of ice along with the rum and lemon juice and stir well so that it is nicely chilled. Top up with as much or as little soda water as you like. Garnish with a few more basil leaves or some lemon wedges. Sit back and think of Cuba.