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.
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.
50 ml Bombay Sapphire
15 ml Chambord
75 ml Cranberry Juice
15 ml Lime Juice
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.
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.
15ml lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
5 to 8 mint leaves
1 lime wheel
1 mint sprig
For the simple syrup:
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.
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 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.
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.
A bottle red wine
60g demerara sugar
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.
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