Yuletide drinking is hard when you hate hot vino
Cloves, cinnamon, star anise, mixed spice, tangerine, loads of dark red wine. For some people, these are the essential flavours and smells of Christmas, as integral to Yuletide as fairy lights and putting on that extra 5lbs.
For others, mulled wine is an unholy meld of booze and spice that tastes more like potpourri than something to savour. For those who hate the stuff, mulled wine panic is very real.
But help is at hand. Here are some seasonal cocktails from the clever people behind the book The Experimental Cocktail Club (Hardback, RRP £20, Mitchell Beazley)
1. The Madame Rêve
A fresh and fruity dream of a cocktail, spiced up with Christmassy flavours and charged with champagne to keep it festive.
- 1 large strawberry
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 50ml spice-infused aperol (see instructions below)
- Champagne, to top up
To make the spice-infused aperol
Place 1 star anise, 1 vanilla pod, 2-3 cloves, 1 whole nutmeg and 1 cinnamon stick in a bottle of aperol and leave to infuse. The longer you leave it, the stronger the flavour, so test from time to time and strain when you are happy.
1. Place the strawberry in a cocktail shaker, muddle, then add the lemon juice and spiced-infused aperol. Top up with ice, then shake vigorously until frost appears on the outside of the shaker.
2. Double strain into a chilled glass, top up with champagne, and serve with a smile.
2. The Get Buck In Here
A simple and delicious twist on the classic Gin Buck, pepped up with ginger ale and grapefruit.
- 25ml Hendrick’s gin
- 25ml Suze
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 6 dashes of absinthe
- Fever Tree ginger ale, to top up
1. Place all the ingredients, except the ginger ale, in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake and double strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice and top up with ginger ale.
2. Garnish with a long piece of pared grapefruit rind.
3. The Winnie the Pooh
This is a well-balanced, floral version of a Negroni, so it’s quite boozy and bitter.
- 15ml Banks 5 Island rum
- 30ml campari
- 30ml vermouth
- 5ml fernet branca
- 15ml cynar
- 6 dashes of orange bitters
1. Take a rocks glass and add a few cubes of ice. Then add all the remaining ingredients and stir well to create a lot of dilution.
2. Squeeze a piece of pared orange rind over the top to release the oils, then place it on top of the ice.