Cocktails for Christmas
‘Tis the season of merriment and joy. Drinks to suit the festive spirit have always been part of the season; we give you five cocktails that will get you into Christmas spirit, if not add to the fervor. Most of these drinks are on the sweeter side, and can be comfortably made at home to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family.
A rich and heavy drink, which is closer to custard than a cocktail but is so quintessentially Christmas. The origins are very British but the story varies from noggin to milk curdled by ale. The eggs were added to make it richer. The addition of rum, however, started in America with easy access to Caribbean rums. American president George Washington’s recipe called for three different spirits – rye whisky, rum and sherry. You too can choose a spirit of your choice and the number of egg yolks depending on how rich you want the Eggnog to be.
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar + 1 tablespoon of sugar
½ litre of whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup dark rum or any other dark spirit of your choice
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
4 egg whites (optional)
A stick of cinnamon for garnish
In a pan mix egg yolks, sugar, milk and heavy cream. Stir continuously on low heat till the consistency thickens and covers the back of the spoon. Take the egg-milk mix off heat, add the rum and nutmeg. Cool the drink.
Just before serving beat eggs till the form soft peaks, at this point add a tablespoon of sugar and beat the eggs till the form stiff peaks. Mix it the egg whites in the cooled/chilled egg-milk mixture. Serve in glass or a cup sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon stick as a stirrer. ( Serves more than 4)
This one has different versions across Europe – Britain, Scandinavia and Germany. Although one thing remains constant that it is a red wine warmed with spices and sweetened with honey or sugar. Again designed to keep the cold at bay and definitely add to the Christmassy feel. To make it easier to understand, mulled wine can be described as warm sangria, but it’s definitely more than just that.
1 bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
1/3 cup of honey or sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 teasppon grated ginger
Peel the orange and keep aside. In a pan mix fresh orange juice with the wine, add the other ingredients including the orange rind and heat the wine on low flame. Do not let the wine boil. Keep it on heat till the sugar/ honey has completely dissolved and the spices have imparted their flavor into the liquid. This should take around 20-25 minutes. Pick out the spices and orange peel and pour the warm Mulled Wine in a glass or a cup. (Serves more than 4)
Celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver in his Mulled Wine recipe suggests that the sugar, spices, orange juice and a little of the wine should be cooked till it forms a syrup, before rest of the wine is added. This is because the syrup will extract all aromas and flavors from the spices, this method also protects the wine from losing any alcohol.
Hot Buttered Rum
An American invention as an extension to create a winter drink with all the rum that was available. Butter and rum seem to be an unlikely pair, but the richness with butter with the warmth of rum with a tinge of spice make it a good drink to nurse on a cold winter day.
25 gm of butter
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
A pinch of ground cinnamon
30 ml dark rum
50 ml hot water
Muddle butter, sugar and cinnamon in a glass. Add the rum, top it off with the hot water and stir. (Serves 1)
Dr Seuss left an indelible mark on Christmas with his ‘Grinch Who Stole Christmas’, not to mention actor Jim Carrey who played the Grinch to perfection. It seemed only fair to dedicate a cocktail to the green furry creature. Do not fear, this isn’t the mean spirited, grumpy Grinch so nothing bitter about the drink either. And it is so easy to make!
60 ml Midori melon liqueur
15 ml lime juice
A dash of simple syrup (a sugar and water syrup created by melting sugar in hot water)
A cherry or a candy cane for garnish
In cocktail shake the ingredients with ice. Strain and pour in a Martini glass. Garnish with a cherry or a candy cane. (Serves 1)
What’s there not like about the rush from flavored hard-boiled sugar confectionery? It’s even better for us tipple lovers if we can mix candies with our booze. Enter Candy Cane cocktail.
60 ml strawberry vodka
4 dashes of crème de menthe or peppermint schnapps or both (if you don’t have either, use fresh mint)
75 ml cranberry juice
Crushed candy cane for garnish
Coat the rim of a Martini glass with crushed candy cane. In a cocktail shake add all ingredients, cover and shake. Strain and pour into the glass. (Serves 1)