Can you feel how cold it's getting? I can. The playful nip that used to be in the air has suddenly and forever (okay not really forever, it just feels like it) morphed into the frigid sting of winter. That freshness was sprightly and frolicsome. It woke us up and let us know that the unending, physical weight of summer had retreated into a cave for another nine months. But best of all, that slight bite announced itself on the arm of the gorgeous, warming and radiant reds and oranges of autumn.
But now it has left us, and our new dance partner is harsh and unforgiving. But rather than fight the inevitable winter, I say embrace it. Twirl and leap and perhaps learn a few moves.
And as we all know, alcohol makes you a better dancer.
During my travels I've spent a lot of time behind various bars to support my nomadic leanings. I've mixed caipirinhas in the Algarve, served champagne at swanky seafood festivals in the Channel Islands and conducted cocktail masterclasses at incredibly fancy restaurants in London, charging 50 quid a head for the privilege.
So, based on my work as a mixologist, I've put together five of my favourite winter cocktails for you to quaff and add some bloom to your collective jowls. So take note, because the best time to enjoy these drinks is right now, in this weather.
And best of all, none of these drinks need complicated bar equipment; you can make them with ease in the comfort of your holiday home's kitchen, with ingredients from a local market.
- 1 x 750ml bottle of ruby port
- 1 x 750ml bottle of red wine
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 5 cardamom pods, bruised
- 1 large piece of orange peel
- 1 teaspoon vanilla pods
- 1 cup of orange juice
- ½ cup of golden raisins
- 1 cup of roasted almonds
- ¾ cup of brandy
- ¾ cup of aquavit
- 1 dash of Grand Marnier (optional)
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup of sugar
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 cups whole or semi-skimmed milk
- 1 cup single cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 tablespoons bourbon whiskey (or to taste)
- 1.5 tablespoons rum or brandy (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon white chocolate liquor - per person
- 2 tablespoons Southern Comfort - per person
- White chocolate flakes to garnish
- 1 bottle of vodka
- ½ cup of dried cloves
- 6 fresh mint leaves
- 3 white sugar cubes
- Soda water
Now, down to business. To create your julep, place the mint leaves flat in the bottom of a short tumbler and press them with a pestle or the handle of a wooden spoon to break the leaves and release the oil and aroma. Drop your sugar cubes and ice into the glass. I advise crushing the ice a little first (wrap the ice cubes in a clean towel and whack with a rolling pin). Lastly add clove-infused vodka and soda water to taste. Stir lightly and serve.
Pumpkin punch with cinnamon rum
Image from Seriouseats
- 1 bottle of rum
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 12 cups still water
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can pumpkin puree (or cook 250g of pumpkin and mash it super finely if you can't find a can)
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
Phoenix down - an herbaceous Hot Toddy variation
- 40ml Cognac
- 15ml green Chartreuse
- 15ml honey
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 10ml lemon juice
- 75ml boiling water
- 1 wedge of lemon
- 1 large piece of orange peel
- 3 fresh sage leaves