As Christmas gets under way, here is a last look at some of the festive cocktails that we have come across over the past few weeks. The Maestro himself, Salvatore Calabrese, got into the Christmas spirit with a menu of five cocktails designed to embody the tastes and scents of the festive season. They include the Christmas Puddingtini (pictured), a gin-based drink that features a mini Christmas pudding soaked in sambuca, set alight and dropped into the cocktail, perfectly combining the chill of a Martini with the warmth of a flaming Christmas pudding.
Other drinks on the menu at Salvatore’s Bar at London’s Playboy Club are the Cardinal, a dark, indulgent drink, full of rich flavours thanks to the Visciolata del Cardinale cherry liqueur and two drops of Mozart chocolate bitters. The Quails Eggnog is a quirky take on the staple winter drink, made with Johnnie Walker Blue whisky but without milk and using a quail’s egg.
The Chestnut Fizz combines vodka and champagne plus two spoonfuls of chestnut jam, which Salvatore says will go wonderfully with turkey, while the Silent Night (pictured) is a rum-based drink featuring the sweet flavours of cranberry sauce, apricot brandy and vanilla pod.
This winter has seen the release of the limited-edition Johnnie Walker Double Black, a smoky blend made with whiskies matured in deep-charred old oak casks. It combines the rich, malty flavour of Johnnie Walker Black Label with slightly peatier whisky, available. To tie in with the release, brand owner Diageo has been promoting a winter serve, The Dark Smoky.
The Dark Smoky
30ml Johnnie Walker Double Black
5ml teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Half a cup of apple cider
1 teaspoon of honey
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 lemon peel
Heat the apple cider, honey, cinnamon stick and lemon peel in a small saucepan over a medium heat for about three minutes, until the honey has melted and the cinnamon is fragrant. Turn off the heat and add the Johnnie Walker Double Black and the lemon juice and stir to combine. Transfer to a heatproof glass or a mug and garnish with the cinnamon stick and the lemon peel.
Warm cocktails have been created by leading bartenders using Hendrick’s Gin for the festive season, inspired by Victorian Christmases and Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol. Tristan Stephenson of Purl, Dach & Sons and The Worship Street Whistling Shop in London came up with Hendrick’s Purl, pictured below.
150ml Hendrick’s Gin
1 litre of good-quality hoppy ale
200ml Cloudy apple juice
5 slices of satsuma
1 cinnamon stick
1 dessert spoon of honey
2 large splashes of Angostura Bitters
1 whole star anise
Heat ingredients in a pan. Simmer for 20 minutes then strain the hops out and serve in a teacup, with satsuma slices and a stick of cinnamon to garnish.
Hendrick’s Gin’s own British brand ambassador Duncan McRae devised Mr Micawber’s Favourite Hot Gin Punch for sharing, a subtly tweaked recipe inspired by Dickens’s own recipe from David Copperfield. Pictured, it uses pineapples which would have been a real treat in the 19th century.
Mr Micawber’s Favourite Hot Gin Punch
3 full teacups of Hendrick’s Gin
3 full teacups of Madeira wine
Pinch grated nutmeg
Large teaspoon of cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
6 large lemon and orange twists
Small slice orange
1 fresh pineapple
4 large spoons of honey
Juice of two lemons
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place on the heat to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add lemon or honey depending on whether you prefer sweet or sour. Pour into a teapot and serve in teacups or in a traditional punch bowl. This punch can be reheated if you want to prepare it in advance. It is best simmered for half an hour or more, allowing the pineapple time to soften and caramalise.
A chilled sharing punch using Hendrick’s Gin has been created by Jason Scott, co-founder of Bramble and The Last Word in Edinburgh.
Eden Special Fizz
500ml Hendrick’s Gin
250ml Noilly Prat dry vermouth
150ml Home-made cherry liqueur or Cherry Heering liqueur (to taste)
1 bottle of champagne
Steep sliced lemon rounds in the first three ingredients overnight. Pour into a punch bowl filled with ice and add champagne just before service. Serve in champagne saucers with a garnish of a lemon round.
Pawel Rolka, bar manager at Coq d’Argent in the City of London, has created a seasonal cocktail in his role as brand ambassador of Zubrowka bison-brass vodka. The Ginger Fizz (pictured) is the latest of the brand’s monthly cocktails released in time for the full moon, inspired by the extra aroma released by the grass when the moon is full. “The Ginger Fizz Full Moon cocktail is the ideal drink for the party season, with the ginger and chilli syrup providing an extra kick to get celebrations going,” Pawel adds.
Zubrowka Ginger Fizz
20ml Peach puree
15ml Ginger and chilli syrup
Combine all ingredients and serve in a champagne flute. Garnish with physalis and bison grass.
At The Capital Bar at The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, bar manager Cesar Da Silva introduced a cocktail called The Butler (pictured) for the festive season, made with cranberry juice and bourbon.
20ml Orange juice
35ml Woodford Reserve bourbon
Dash of freshly squeezed lime juice
50ml Cranberry juice
Pour the orange juice into a chilled cocktail glass. Into the cocktail shaker add the bourbon, lime and cranberry juice. Shake and pour gently onto the orange juice. Garnish with apple or a slice of lime.
Leading mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana was enlisted by Martin Morales to create special pisco-based cocktails at his Peruvian restaurant Ceviche in Soho, London. Ryan worked with head chef Gregor Funcke to come up with dishes that went well with food on the Christmas menu. They included Celery and Smoke, a mix of celery-infused pisco shaken with home-made pineapple syrup and lemon, finished with a rinse of peaty Ardbeg and a splash of soda. This was paired with Causa Salmon, a dish of smoked salmon, artichokes and sour cream with chives on a cool Peruvian potato cake.
Other festive cocktails include the Mario 45, made with spiced cranberry-flavoured pisco mixed with tomato and honey, and topped up with sparkling chardonnay, paired with slow-cooked pork belly, beetroot and raisins salad and salsa criolla. The Blanca Noche is a mix of orange-flavoured pisco, Cointreau, cream, lemon and egg white, shaken hard and charged with soda water, matched with duck confit, mash, dried apricots, spring onions and rocoto chutney.
Popular cocktails were promoted for bars in the run-up to Christmas by drinks company Cellar Trends for its Finest Call premium cocktail mixes, such as a Wild Berry Mojito, a Midori Sour and Ginger Cosmo.
50ml Citrus-flavoured vodka
15ml Ginger liqueur
40ml Finest Call Cosmopolitan Mix
10ml Finest Call Sugar Syrup
Combine all the ingredients in a Boston glass filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a slice of ginger on the rim.