Christmas is a time of festivities and, as people tend to be celebrating at home, it is also a time for homemade cocktails! Most of these need three ingredients or fewer, and are all simple to prepare.
A perfect marriage of two Christmas stalwarts, giving a fruitier, more seasonally appropriate version of the rather hackneyed Buck’s fizz.
Add 25ml of Sloe gin to a champagne flute and top up with your choice of sparkling wine to taste.
Any sparkling wine can be used, although to be truly Royale it ought to be champagne. Also, I really recommend making your own sloe gin for this – though that’s a whole other article.
A fiery festive twist on the classic White Lady – with a hint of spicy warmth, yet still balanced and bright.
Shake with ice, 50ml London dry Gin, 25ml Ginger Liqueur (such as King’s Ginger), and 25ml fresh lemon juice.
Serve in a coupe glass, with a lemon twist or piece of stem ginger.
You could also use a ginger and rhubarb infused gin, tweaking the amount of lemon juice accordingly.
This might seem a rather summery drink to include in a list of Christmassy drinks, but with the spicy depth of a good vermouth and dark bitterness of the Campari, it perfectly suits the winter gloom. It also provides a vicarious burst of sun, as you briefly imagine yourself on some Florentine terrace.
Stir 25ml of Campari, 25ml red Italian vermouth (Martini Rosso works, but I would recommend something smoother like Cocchi Storico for some Christmas indulgence) and 25ml gin with ice, and serve over ice with a slice of orange in a tumbler.
For a traditional Negroni use a dry gin, but for a more festive twist go for a spicy gin – such as the Italian compound gin I used.
What drink could be more Christmassy than brandy? (Well other than sherry etc.) From being glugged onto a blazing pudding, to being creamed into brandy butter, it is ubiquitous yet often under-represented in drinks. Don’t just relegate brandy to the last stolid drink of a night but give it back the vibrancy it held in the 20’s.
Shake with ice, 50ml Brandy, 25ml Cointreau (or Triple Sec of choice), and 25ml fresh lemon juice.
Serve in a coupe glass, with an optional lemon twist.
Cognac is the traditional brandy here, but other brandies can work very well. From the rustic boldness of Armagnac to the appley force of Calvados, or even the bold fruitiness of a fig brandy – all work in different ways.
What is Christmas without some slightly over-sweet drinks that have a nostalgic umph of hot drinks?
Shake with ice, 25ml vodka, 25ml coffee liqueur, one espresso, and sugar syrup to taste (I would start with half a tablespoon).
Serve in a coupe glass, with coffee beans, or a festive dusting of nutmeg.
For those that think this drink has no right calling itself a Martini, try replacing the vodka with a strongly botanic gin – or try playing off the Italian ‘caffè corretto’ and swap in grappa for the vodka. Also, it might be a rather large divergence from the idea of the drink, but crème de cacao and hot chocolate made from baking cocoa powder is a lovely alternative.
– Ed Bedford
All other photos are originals by Adam Bedford