As the party season heats up, John Wilson turns his attention to delicious Christmas cocktails, shaken and stirred.
Christmas Cocktails With An Irish Twist
Ask a group of friends to name their favourite cocktail, and you’re as likely to get as many different answers as there are people gathered. With this in mind, I asked six Good Food Ireland members to share their favourite festive cocktail recipes.
The results vary from fresh and fruity to rich and comforting, ensuring a selection that will suit everyone’s tastes.
None of these cocktails should prove too challenging for the rookie mixologist, although you may have to drop into a specialist off-licence or shop online to source some of the ingredients. Cocktail-making can be great fun, so during the holiday season, try to involve friends and family – although beware of competitive mixology and tasting….
Ballyvolane House has an advantage when it comes to cocktails as they produce their own gin – Bertha’s Revenge.
The hedgerow martini uses all sorts of refreshing fruity ingredients.
I would feel free to experiment, depending on what fruits you have available, but this recipe produces a delicious cocktail.
2 shots / 71 ml of Bertha’s Revenge gin
3 shots / 106.5 mls of sloe gin
1 shot / 35.5 ml fresh lime juice
¾ shot / 27 ml elderflower cordial
4 fresh blackberries (2 go into the cocktail shaker, 2 are used for the garnish)
4 to 6 lumps of ice
1 cocktail shaker
2 chilled martini glasses
Put all the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
Chill the martini glasses by putting them into the freezer or leave a few lumps of ice with water in the glasses for a few minutes. Pour the Hedgerow Martini through a cocktail shaker into the glasses. Garnish with one frozen blackberry per martini glass. Enjoy!
Bourbon Stout Flip
The Merrion Hotel in Dublin provided us with a simple but very delicious recipe that is perfect for those cool winter evenings by the fire.
15ml sugar syrup
50ml Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1 whole egg
Add all ingredients to the shaker and, using a hand blender, blitz the ingredients for 3-4 seconds. Add ice to the shaker and shake hard. Double strain into an Irish coffee glass and garnish with grated nutmeg.
This cocktail can also be served hot; repeat the method above, but instead of shaking with ice, steam all ingredients in the shaker, being careful not to cook the egg!
Visitors to Ballymaloe House and restaurant in Shanagarry in East Cork can treat themselves to the Ballymaloe festive Amaretto Sour.
40mls Lemon Juice
1 Egg White
2 Teaspoons of Cherry syrup
Garnish with cherries on a cocktail stick
Add Amaretto, lemon juice, egg white and cherry syrup to a shaker and dry shake for 5 seconds. Add ice to the shaker and shake for a further 10 seconds. Double strain into a whiskey glass over ice. Garnish with cherries on a cocktail stick and splash a dash of Angostura Bitters over the foam.
Spiced Winter Gin & Tonic
Hayfield Manor in Cork gives the classic gin and tonic a zesty spicy twist that will have your guests guessing the magic ingredients.
40ml Glendalough Gin
20ml Irish Mist
10ml pumpkin spice
15ml lemon juice
Indian tonic water
Combine the first six ingredients in a shaker or glass. Top up with tonic water to taste and garnish with a slice of lemon studded with a clove.
Ballykealey House in Co. Carlow provided us with two cocktails created by their mixology team of Tommy Dunne, Laura O’Neill and Wiktoria Boratyn.
25ml Black Tears spiced rum
12 ½ vanilla syrup
2 dash aromatic bitters
Simply add all ingredients to a shaker with plenty of ice, shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with star anise, a slice of dried pear and a cinnamon stick.
A dramatic drink with a bubbly base, courtesy of Ballykealey House in Co. Carlow.
25ml cane syrup
Put the first three ingredients into a blender with ice or into a shaker filled with small ice cubes. Shake and pour into a tall glass, with a sugared rim. Top up with chilled Prosecco.
A favourite at Pacino’s restaurant in Dublin, this is a simple Christmas
The white of an egg (or a dash of aquafaba if vegan)
20ml fresh lemon juice
10ml Irish honey
30ml Sloe Gin (We like Glendalough or Elephant Gin)
10ml Oloroso or cream sherry
2 dash orange bitters (optional)
Sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
Place the first six ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and give it a good shake. Strain into a chilled flute or small wine glass. Top with a generous glug of sparkling wine and a grating of fresh nutmeg.
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