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Cheers, it’s Christmas!


Need a festive fillip? Kickstart your Christmas morning with a classy cocktail 


The turkey’s in the oven, the sprouts are ready and the potatoes have been blanched ready for roasting. What’s next on the Christmas Day to-do list? Well, if all’s going to plan it might be time for a quick tipple or a celebratory cocktail.

However, after the year we’ve endured it might be a good time to kick out the traditional bubbles and try something a little more adventurous. Certainly, something more exotic than a snowball …

As it’s probably mid-morning let’s kick off with a Bellini, a classic combination of peach juice and fizz which can be largely prepared in advance and kept in the fridge. Peel, stone and halve two peaches (or use the equivalent from a tin) and puree until smooth. Spoon half into chilled champagne glasses and slowly stir in Champagne or sparkling wine, so you have a ratio of one third peach, two-thirds fizz.

If you’re a fan of Sex And The City, you’ll be familiar with the Cosmopolitan, a classy combination of vodka and orange liqueur. Place the 35ml of vodka, 15ml of orange liqueur, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and 25ml of cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice and strain into a small Martini glass. For added effect, you can always hold a piece of orange peel over a glass and flame with a match.

But, for sheer decadence it has to be the classic Champagne cocktail, a mix of bubbles, bitters and cognac. Add two dashes of bitters to a cube of white sugar in a champagne flute, pour 20ml of cognac and top with Champagne.

Alternatively, Champagne with a splash of cranberry juice makes you a simple, straightforward Poinsettia, while the latter, some sparkling wine and a splash of orange liqueur becomes a Christmas Mimosa, which looks very seasonal when garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs and sugared cranberries.

Push the boat out a bit with the slightly sophisticated Earl Grey Martini. Add around 35ml of strong, cold Earl Grey tea into a shaker with 35ml of gin, 20ml of lemon juice, 12.5ml of sugar syrup (sold as ‘gomme’ syrup) and half an egg white and shake well. Then double strain into a Martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

However, you will probably be up early checking on Santa and could be flagging a bit by 10am, so revitalise your Christmas morning with a Gin Espresso Martini. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in 50ml of gin, 25ml of espresso coffee and 25ml of a coffee liqueur and shake vigorously. Look for a good ‘crema’, as baristas call the foam on a good espresso, and strain into a preferably chilled glass. Complete the effect with coffee beans or a twist of orange.


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