20th Jan, 2017

The best cocktails to impress with this Christmas

Sarah Mason 24th Dec, 2016

AS the Christmas party season gets into full swing, cocktail lovers are busy looking for any excuse to dust down the shakers.

Here is The Observer’s list to some of the finest cocktails you can whip up this Christmas.

Bellini:

Two ripe peaches, peeled, halved and stone removed, or use tinned peaches in natural juice

Chilled champagne or sparkling wine

Place the peaches in a small blender and purée until totally smooth (this can be done well in advance and kept in the fridge).

Spoon half into the chilled champagne glasses and slowly top up with champagne, stirring as you pour.

You should ideally have one third peach purée to two thirds champagne.

Saigon Cooler:

50 ml Bombay Sapphire

15 ml Chambord

75 ml Cranberry Juice

15 ml Lime Juice

7 Raspberries

Muddle raspberries in a shaker.

Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice.

Fine strain into a glass filled with cubed ice.

Garnish with three raspberries on a cocktail stick.

Wicked Champagne cocktail:

3 to 4 pomegranates

Caster sugar, optional

A bottle Champagne, chilled

Cut the pomegranates in half and take the seeds out – the easy way to do this is to hold one half of a pomegranate cut-side down in and bash the top of it with a spatula so the seeds come tumbling out.

Put the seeds in a food processor for 5 to 10 seconds, pour through a sieve and you’ll have some lovely pomegranate juice.

If the pomegranates are particularly sharp, stir in a little sugar to sweeten.

Put about 5cm of pomegranate juice into a Champagne flute, then top it up with Champagne.

Summer Martini:

3oz Summer Edition Gin

1oz Dry vermouth

Add the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir until well chilled and strain into a Martini glass and garnish with a blackberry and a raspberry on a toothpick.

Champagne Mojito:

60ml rum

60ml Champagne

15ml lime juice

1 tsp brown sugar

5 to 8 mint leaves

1 lime wheel

1 mint sprig

For the simple syrup:

1L water

900g white sugar

Make the simple syrup first. Bring to a boil the water with the sugar. Allow this to cool and pour into a clean, sealed container. This can be kept refrigerated for up to three weeks.

Combine 20ml of the simple syrup with the lime juice, sugar, and mint leaves in a highball glass and muddle until aromatic.

Add ice, rum, and Champagne then stir and garnish with lime wheel and mint sprig.

Cosmopolitan:

35ml vodka

15ml orange liqueur

squeeze fresh lime juice

25ml cranberry juice

twist orange peel, to garnish

Put the vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice and cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.

Shake hard and then strain into a coupe glass or small Martini glass.

Hold the piece of orange peel over the glass and carefully flame with a match and serve.

Long Island Iced Tea:

15ml vodka

15ml gin

15ml light rum

15ml orange liqueur

15ml fresh lemon juice

15ml freshly squeezed orange juice

1tsp sugar syrup

Cola, to top up

Lemon wedge, to garnish

Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake hard.

Strain the cocktail into a highball glass, top up with cola and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Strawberry Daiquiri:

4 fresh strawberries, plus ½ strawberry to garnish

2 tsp white sugar

35ml white rum

1 tbsp strawberry liqueur

25ml lime juice

Place the strawberries, sugar, rum, strawberry liqueur and lime juice into the base of a cocktail shaker and mash with the end of a clean rolling pin.

Place the lid onto the cocktail shaker and shake well.

Strain the mixture into a Martini glass and garnish with half a strawberry.

Mulled Wine:

A bottle red wine

60g demerara sugar

Cinnamon stick

Grated nutmeg

An orange, halved

Dried bay leaf

Put the wine in a saucepan with the orange, sugar, bay leaf and the spices.

Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Taste to see if you want the wine sweeter, and add more sugar to taste.

Strain into heatproof glasses and serve at once.

Virgin Mary:

200ml tomato passata

2 spring onions, finely chopped

A lemon, juiced

½ tsp Tabasco sauce

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

55g ice cubes

1 tbsp chives, chopped

In a blender, mix the passata, spring onions, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and ice cubes.

Blend for two minutes, or until smooth.

Pour into a tall glass and garnish with chopped chives