Recipes: Five Favourite Festive Cocktails

December 16, 2016

Salted Caramel White Russian cocktail recipe Image: Design Soda

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In just over a week Christmas will be done and dusted, you will have opened your presents, heard one relatives comic story about another 20 times already, rescued other people’s presents from your wayward toddler, endured at least one awkward silence (is all of this just me?) and hopefully had a jolly good time in the process. If you’re hosting, you may be blissfully thankful to reach Boxing Day with its traditional walk (which I can never make out whether it’s tradition to blow the cobwebs away before the new year or a chance to put pacing distance between yourself and certain relatives!) either way, you may, like me, be looking forward to settling down to watch the new Agatha Christie romp the BBC are putting on with a hard earned drink in hand come the evening of Boxing Day. Whether it be Christmas party visitors, Christmas Day drinks, Boxing Day therapy or even New Years drinks, I think I’ve got you covered for cocktails! Here, below, are my 5 favourite mixers at this time of year, they are all tried and tested by me, some I’ve been doing for years (Nigella’s Pomegranate Bellini is a Christmas Day non-negotiable in the Design Soda house). None of these recipes are original, but rather a selection of ones I’ve tried and love, go forth and pour yourself a drink, they really are lovely. 

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Best Christmas cocktail recipes for party hosting

Image: Design Soda

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The Big Five:

Pomegranate Bellini cocktail recipe for Christmas party ideas

Image: Design Soda

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Salted Caramel White Russian:

First up, is a new one for me which I discovered through Scottish lifestyle blogger Kate La Vie. I have tweaked the recipe a little substituting Amaretto for Vodka as, to my personal taste, this crisper spirit gives the drink an edge past the delicious sweetness. Hats off to Kate for this recipe, not only did I not know that Tesco make Salted Caramel Irish Cream Whiskey (so nice!) but the idea of drizzling of caramel on the glasses before hand adds a genius party note of pizzazz to this drink. Here’s what you need and how to do it:

Original recipe on Kate La Vie’s website.

Ingredients

  • Salted caramel sauce
  • Ice
  • Salt flakes
  • 25ml (one shot) Salted Caramel Irish Cream
  • 25ml Amaretto (or Vodka as I used)
  • 75ml (3 shots) of half and half (milk and cream)

Method

  1. Take the caramel sauce and use a teaspoon to slightly drizzle it in the glass, while slowly turning the glass so you get a nice swirled effect.
    Fill the glass with ice.
  2. Next, add your liquid ingredients to your cocktail shaker, along with a few cubes of ice. Shake well and strain in to the glasses. Garnish with a spring of rosemary, a bit of chocolate or even a candy cane! Perfection. I even sprinkled on a little salt flakes to complete the taste sensation!

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Pomegranate Bellini cocktail recipe for Christmas party ideas

Image: Design Soda

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Pomegranate Bellini: 

Ah, the aforementioned Pomegranate Bellini from Nigella that’s a perfect all rounder, Christmas party drinks, Christmas Day arrivals, staple buddy to the chef in the kitchen, I don’t know of anyone I’ve given this to that hasn’t enjoyed it. Nigella suggests pomegranate puree but to be honest I’ve made it with standard pomegranate juice many times and there’s not too much difference, she does also advise adding a dash of grenadine if you’re working with the latter, I say so go with whatever you feel.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part chilled pomegranate puree or concentrated juice
  • 3-4 parts chilled Prosecco

Method:

1. Pour pomegranate puree (or fresh pomegranate with dash of grenadine added)  into a glass

 

2. Top with the Prosecco (1 x 75cl bottle of Prosecco should yield about 6 Bellinis)

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Blackberry & Rosemary Gin Fizz cocktail recipe by Jamie Oliver for Christmas party ideas

Image: Design Soda

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Blackberry & Rosemary Gin Fizz:

Along with Prosecco and craft beer, gin is surely the most modern of drinks right now? I jumped on the bandwagon by way of Hendericks Gin when seduced by their edgy slightly-Victoriana-old-school-hipster-slightly-vintage-Schtick some years ago and gin has become pretty staple round here since. This is a Jamie Oliver recipe and it’s really good, he suggests Bombay Saphire, current favourite round here is Half Hitch so I’ve used that but this would work with just about any gin that isn’t the Heston Blumenthal one for Waitrose (that already has enough flavour!). 

Ingredients

 

  • 500 g frozen blackberries
  • 4 lemons , chopped into little pieces
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary , leaves picked
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 5 tbsp honey
  • 500 ml Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 1 litre soda water

Method

Divide the blackberries, lemons and rosemary evenly between each tumbler, then add a juniper berry and ½ tbsp honey. These can be made ahead of time and sit in the fridge until your guests arrive.

When you’re ready to serve, use a muddler or rolling pin to mash the berry mixture until the fruit is crushed. Fill each glass with ice, top with 50ml gin and a dash of soda water, stir well and serve.

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Pomegranate Bellini cocktail recipe for Christmas party ideas

Image: Design Soda

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 St Germain Champagne Cocktail:

Let me say, if you haven’t tried St Germain before, you’re in for a massive treat. I first bought this French liqueur when we moved 8 years ago and I will confess now that at the time it’s purchase was based solely upon the bottle – and why not when a bottle looks that good! Hands down winner of the most aesthetic bottle ever, invented in 2006 but like something out of the Art Deco heyday, I love it’s style. It went on my grandmas dresser next to a vintage 1930s task lamp and completed my vignette, it sat there very patiently for the next few years, me afraid to open it because I wanted to preserve its beauty. Then I bought myself one that I actually intended to consume and It’s gorgeous. The taste of elderflower with more than a hint of pear is just so lovely, it’s almost hard to believe you are drinking alcohol at all, surely the business of drinking is harder work than this!? That’s not to say it isn’t sophisticated, it just wears it’s alcohol with subtlety (in case you’re wondering it’s nothing like the saccharine of peach Schnapps which I detest). As this is such a lovely liqueur it requires very little to make it sing, I love it with soda water on a summers day, but it’s Christmas so I’ll push the boat out and use the recipe as suggested on the bottle and add champagne with a simple garnish of mint sprig, perfect aperitif for when guests arrive.

INGREDIENTS

  • St. Germain, chilled
  • Brut champagne (or any other dry sparkling wine), chilled
  • Sprig of mint to garnish

Method

  1. Fill a champagne flute 1/2 of the way with St. Germain.
  2. Top with champagne. Gently stir to combine.
  3. Garnish with Mint (optional) and serve

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Pomegranate Bellini cocktail recipe for Christmas party ideas

Image: Design Soda

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Snowball Cocktail:

And finally – The snowball! This is a cocktail classic brought back into fashion by Nigella a decade ago. If you read Monday’s post on Christmas styling in our house and my deep love of kitschy deer,  you will know, firstly, why this bit of 70’s nostalgia appeals to me, and secondly, why I felt compelled to make the styling shot here so bonkers and bold (after a few of these Snowballs it’s your duty to feel you’re inhabiting the set of Abigail’s Party by way of disco!). Seventies hangovers aside, if you like sweet drinks and the sound of grown up cream soda, and you haven’t tried one before (I hadn’t til Nigella Express hit the market) then walk forward, you’re in for a treat.

Ingredients:

  • Ice cubes
  • 3 parts chilled lemonade
  • 1 part Advocaat
  • A squeeze of Lime (to taste)

Method:

1. Fill a high-ball glass with ice

2. Add the Advocaat and then top up with lemonade

3. Spritz in lime juice to taste (1 x 70cl bottle of Advocaat should provide 14 Snowballs)

 

This post was such fun to compile,  what’s your favourite cocktail at this time of year?

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