The cocktail countdown to Christmas starts here…

ByThe Cocktail Lovers

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…starting with three festive tipples for all tastes: there’s a warming apple hug in a mug for the teetotallers, a nostalgic guilty pleasure for those in retro mood and what we like to call ‘Christmas in a glass’, our own creation, the TCL mulled fizz, combining mulled spices, port, clementines and a splash of something sparkly.

Look out for more festive recipes from bars, brands and our favourite cocktail books, plus gift ideas and cocktail shopping tips coming up soon.

As featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour on Friday 4th December.

Hot Spiced Apple

Apples and spices are a match made in taste heaven – perfect if you’re not drinking alcohol but still want a hit of something warming and interesting in the taste department. You don’t have to be too precise with this recipe – start with a cup of apple juice for one to two serves and scale up to a litre or so if you’re entertaining or for decanting into a flask for social distanced al fresco meet-ups.

Apple juice or apple cider
Orange slices
Lemon slices
A selection of spices such as:
Cinnamon stick
Allspice berries
Star anise
Grated/ground nutmeg
3 cloves

Demerara sugar or honey to taste

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes until all of the flavours have infused. Add sugar or honey to taste. Pour into heat-proof mugs and garnish with orange peel and cinnamon stick or star anise. Alternatively, decant into a flask to warm you up during winter walks.

If you have any left over, this can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. Serve cold.
For an alcoholic version, add brandy or bourbon.

TCL Mulled Fizz  

For the taste of mulled wine without the cloying sweetness, this Christmas special combines, spiced rum, clementine juice, port, sparkling wine and wraps them all up in winter warming spices. Make the spiced syrup ahead and store in the fridge and use as needed.

35ml spiced rum
30ml spiced syrup*
20ml freshly squeezed clementine juice
15ml port
40ml sparkling wine

Method:
First make the spiced syrup*. Next add all the ingredients except the sparkling wine into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Double strain into a chilled champagne flute then top up with the sparkling wine. Garnish with an orange twist (or edible gold leaf if you’re feeling fancy!) and serve.

Spiced syrup:
50ml caster sugar
50ml water
1 cinnamon stick
½ grated nutmeg
2 cloves
1 split vanilla pod

Method:
Warm ingredients together gently for three to four minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so, then strain off into a jar.

Snowball

Light, frothy, creamy and low abv to boot, this retro guilty pleasure is sure to bring on the smiles. Want more of a kick? No problem. Just add some brandy into the mix.

50ml Warninks Advocaat
25-35ml lime cordial or fresh lime juice
25 ml brandy (optional)
Lemonade
Cocktail cherry to garnish

Method:
Shake Advocaat and lime juice together with ice (add 25ml of brandy for a boozier version). Strain into a Coupe/Martini or Flute glass and top up with lemonade. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers are Mr G and Ms S, a man and a woman who share a passion for cocktails. (We also happen to be married, so we’re cocktail lovers in more ways than one…)

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