Preparing cocktails when you’re a bit half cut while tolerating a reindeer cardigan is not the easiest task.
We’ve all been at the point where we can’t pronounce “Negroni”, let alone knock several up for visiting relatives. So with the help of drink expert Andy Hamilton, we’ve selected some that will slip you into the Christmas groove.
The Apotheke/Pharmacy cocktail
The Apotheke is one of those cocktails that you wouldn’t drink all night; indeed, you might never want another one. It’s unusual. The ingredients do balance, but the Fernet and Crème de Menthe seem to jostle for dominance. It’s also black from the Fernet, and a murky black at that, so it’s not much of a looker. But stick with it, let it play about on your tongue a bit; rather like your first Negroni, you have to make your mind up at the bottom of the glass. It’s not a drink for the faint of heart, but you will be rewarded if you are a fan of bitter flavours. Sip it gently and give this ugly duckling that time forgot a chance.
1 part Crème de Menthe (vert)
1 part Fernet Branca
2 parts dry vermouth
Stir over ice and serve in a coupe.
Pistachio and Walnut Manhattan
It’s a good idea to have some rules about when and where to drink cocktails. Not to save off the inevitable, but instead for maximum enjoyment.
If there is a perfect time and place for the Pistachio and Walnut Manhattan it’s Boxing Day, early evening and by a roaring fire. It offers a strong hit of warming alcohol, a complexity of flavour and a certain decadence. Perfect for when you’ve taken on Christmas and won.
2 parts Pistachio and Walnut bourbon
1 part Italian sweet vermouth
4 dashes of angostura
Stirred over ice.
The pistachio and walnut bourbon is a cinch to make, just follow the instructions on Andy’s website
The first time I tried the following cocktail, I was reminded of my walk to school with my brother and two friends. The route took in two sweet shops and whenever any of us had any money it would end up in one of those sweet shop owners’ pockets. We ate jaw breakers, Wham bars and a host of other sweets but the classic sherbet fountain was always a favourite, of which the floral sherbet has a hint.
1 part rose petal vodka
1 part bath tub gin – Heavy on the fennel
1 part rich elderflower syrup
1 part lemon juice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Ice and lemon wedge
Put all the ingredients into a Tom Collins glass and stir. It will start to fizz, sometimes over the top of the glass. Wait until this dies down a little before taking a sip. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.
Loaded freelance reporter Ian Wade writes about music and TV for newspapers and websites. He is also a music publicist. Follow him on Twitter at @WadeyWade