Drinks and Tipples

Sidecar

 

A distinctly grown up and classy iconic cocktail, I had never had this before but can guarantee I’ll be having it again. It tastes like something that I should be sipping all dolled up to the nines somewhere terribly posh and….equally, as much as you know it’s alcohol and you can smell alcohol, the taste is sublime but not so obviously alcoholic – deeply sophisticated with a kick! Cheers!

Serves 1 very lucky person

What you need…

1 x cocktail shaker

Caster Sugar

40ml cognac

25ml Cointreau

15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

A strip of grated lemon peel

What to do…

Chill a cocktail glass and dip it into the caster sugar so that the rim of the glass is coated.

Tip all your other ingredients into a cocktail shaker that’s already loaded with ice cubes. Pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Pour into your glass and garnish with the lemon peel.

Sit back and enjoy your glass of sophistication with a kick!

Inspired by…

James Winter, Who Put the Beef in Wellington?

How easy…

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Chocolate Cocktail (oh yeah!)

What a fabulous combo: two of my favourite things – chocolate and cocktails! This one is simply divine. Really, it should be sipped elegantly but it’s quite difficult to restrain from the silken, velvety loveliness that is this delectable chocolate cocktail as it glides around your taste buds and slips down the throat. And it’s not sickly and does have that essential gentle ‘kick’! The first batch was checked out with Maddie, which was not received well by Connagh so, being the good mother that I am, a second batch will be consumed this evening! Oh, and chocolate vodka – there’s a thing to behold!

Makes 4 delicious little numbers

What you need…

for the sugar syrup

200g sugar

200g hot water from the kettle

for the cocktail

50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

175ml vodka

5 tablespoons sugar syrup (made in advance – see below)

40ml brandy

10 cubes of ice

A drizzle of single cream (optional)

What to do…

First, make up the sugar syrup. Tip the sugar into a jug and then pour over the hot water. Use a balloon whisk to dissolve the sugar into the water. Decant into a bottle, cool and then keep in the fridge until required for this and other recipes! It keeps indefinitely.

Also to be prepared in advance is the chocolate vodka. Melt the chocolate in a bowl sitting in a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water. Allow to cool slightly and the tip into a screw top jar with the vodka. Pop on the lid and shake like mad to mix together. Store somewhere cool until required – it keeps for weeks (if left alone!)

To serve, mix the chocolate vodka with the sugar syrup, brandy and ice together, either in a cocktail shaker if you have one or a large jug. Divide equally between 4 martini glasses. Drizzle over a little single cream, if you fancy. Serve, indulge, enjoy. Consider for a moment whether it would be worthwhile creating a large stock of chocolate vodka so that this cocktail is readily available! Cheers!

Tip…

Always keep a batch of sugar syrup in the fridge – it makes life so much easier if you suddenly fancy this or another cocktail, i.e. a mojito – it’s a staple in our fridge!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Rather too easy really, but if one is to have bad habits this is a good one to have!

Sunny Daze Cocktail

Saw this on last week’s Saturday Kitchen when Michel Roux and his team introduced it as ‘Alcoholic Pink Lemonade’. A rather uninspired name for what is the best cocktail I’ve had in a very long time: it tastes like summer in a glass and slips down very nicely – not too sweet and with a definite hint of naughtiness (it has a delightful little kick to it!) Make up a jugful and gently sip with friends beneath glorious sunshine (like today) – it really doesn’t get any better than this but I am rebranding it – Sunny Daze Cocktail it is!

Serves 4

What you need…

80ml gin

80ml Martini Rosso

80ml Grand Marnier

40ml Campari

80ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

400ml cloudy lemonade

to serve

Ice

Strawberries, quartered

Mint sprigs

Grapefruit peel (peeled in long ribbons)

What to do…

Take one large jug and tip in all the cocktail ingredients. Give them a quick stir.

Fill 4 large round glasses with ice and arrange the ribbons of grapefruit peel. Pour in the cocktail mix and then pop in the strawberries and mint! Ta Dah! All done. Take outside to a garden bathed in sunshine. Sip, smile, sip again. Repeat! Cheers!

Inspired by….

Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Just a roll of the ice!

Frozen Coffee Baileys Kick-Offs

I know these little naughties are called something else but I’m calling them Frozen Coffee Baileys Kick-Offs – ideal dwinkies to kick off or round off a New Year’s Eve sesh I’d say. Dead easy to make, even easier to enjoy and quite simply rather gorgeous!

Serves 1

What you need…

60ml Baileys

20ml vodka

1 drop of vanilla essence

3 coffee ice cubes made from frozen espresso

What to do…

Choose a pretty glass. Add the coffee ice cubes. Pour over the Baileys and vodka and then drop in the vanilla essence.

Walk away for about 10 minutes to allow the coffee ice-cubes to start to melt. Give your lovely drink a quick swirl to mix up all the ingredients and then either 1) sip elegantly or 2) down it and demand another one! Either way, enjoy!

Tip…

Most recipes that I’ve seen for this use Vanilla Vodka – I used what I had available!

Inspired by…

I saw them in a magazine and then googled the recipe.

How easy…

Dead easy. Just remember to make the coffee ice cubes in advance.

 

 

 

 

Brandy Alexander Cocktail

Peculiarly, Christmas provides me with the excuse to try out all sorts of cocktails that under normal circumstances I would deem OTT. Of those tried most recently (we now have a bar extremely well stocked with all sorts of unusual liqueurs and mixers) Brandy Alexander is my favourite. I have no idea whether this is authentic and quite honestly, I don’t care – it’s lovely: a real Christmas treat!

Serves Just 1 Lucky Person

What you need…

1 x cocktail shaker

A large handful of ice cubes

60ml brandy/cognac

40ml crème de cacao

30ml single cream

Nutmeg, freshly grated (optional) to garnish

What to do…

Into your cocktail shaker, tip in all the ingredients except the nutmeg. Pop on the lid and shake like mad. Pour into a very grown up glass created especially for cocktails. Sprinkle with nutmeg if using. Sit back, relax, sip and enjoy. Repeat until glass is empty. Consider making a second one!

Tip…

Crème de Cacao seems to be difficult to find in supermarkets. In the end: Amazon!

Inspired by…

Too long flipping through cocktail books writing very long short lists!

How easy…

You just need enthusiasm!

 

 

My Morning Honey, Lemon, Ginger and Cinnamon Pick Me Up

This drink, recently tweaked with the addition of cinnamon, is a lovely livener to greet the day with. The fresh lemon partnering the warmth of the ginger provides a gentle kick start and the cinnamon adds a lovely soothing aaahhhh with just a hint of Christmas going on! In combination, they make for a truly lovely start to any day! This recipe is to make up a whole pre-prepared jar that you can keep in the cupboard and dip into whenever you fancy – enjoy!

What you need…

for the cupboard mix

1 x 250g good quality honey

2cms fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 heaped teaspoons ground cinnamon

for the daily morning pick-me-up

1 x tall glass

1 thick slice fresh lemon

1 teaspoon of your honey, ginger and cinnamon mix

Boiling water from the kettle

What to do…

To keep the mixture handy in the cupboard, open your new jar of honey and mix in the ginger and cinnamon so that all the ingredients are evenly mixed. Store in a dry, cool cupboard for access whenever you need it!

Each morning, add fresh water to the kettle and boil. In your glass, chuck the lemon slice and then a rounded runny teaspoon of the honey mixture. Pour over the hot water and stir to mix everything together. Allow to cool a little and then sip and enjoy, ideally relaxing listening to the radio, absorbing the news on the TV or in the paper, or more likely, whilst you’re organising everyone else in the house!

Inspired by…

Not sure: a combination of healthy suggestions I think!

How easy…

Well, it’s not hard is it? And, such a lovely treat to start the day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Canapés

We first tried these a couple of weeks ago at friends and neighbours, Chris and Suzy, who kindly invited us for lovely, leisurely Sunday evening drinks. So gorgeous were these little delights that we’ve since had them three times (in just two weeks). They go brilliantly with a glass of fizz, G&T or scrumptious white wine. The watermelon is fresh, sweet and juicy: the perfect foil for the earthy dryness of the feta and the mint provides a lovely zing at the end. All together with a little squeeze of lime, they are simply delicious! Give them a go: they’re quick, easy and just yummy!

Makes around 12 – 15 depending on how large or small you cut your chunks!

What you need…

100g water melon, chopped into chunky, small slices (I buy ready-prepared from Waitrose and just halve each one)

100g feta cheese, cut into chunks of a similar size to the water melon

A handful of mint leaves

A squeeze of fresh lime juice

A bunch of cocktail sticks

What to do…

Choose a pretty serving plate and stack these little lovelies together using a cocktail stick to pierce through each layer – watermelon on the bottom, then feta and on the top, either a couple of tiny mint leaves or a larger one folded.

Arrange on your plate and just before you want to enjoy them, give them a quick spritz of lime juice. So simple, so utterly yummy!

Inspired by…

Chris and Suzy: thank you!

How easy…

You can knock them up in seconds – no mess, no stress!

Affogato al Caffe e Disaronno

Wow! This is just Naughty with a massively capital ‘N’. Ice cream, Disaronno, espresso and chocolate: it tastes like a combination of Italy’s boozy trifle, Tiramisu and my favourite cocktail, Espresso Martini. Equally, we started off eating it with a sundae spoon and ended up drinking it! The biggest problem is that it makes you greedy to get the lot down as quickly as possible, so fantastically naughty, it is! Made in seconds, this could become a really wicked little habit! What can I say: you need to try it!

Serves 1 (but that would be sad: double up and share with your favourite person)

What you need…

1 scoop of vanilla or honeycomb ice cream (previously blogged and works brilliantly in this).

1 tablespoon Disaronno

1 shot freshly made espresso coffee

1 teaspoon good quality dark chocolate, finely grated

What to do…

Wodge ice cream into the bottom of a pretty glass or small cup.

Pour over the Disaronno, then the espresso and then, sprinkle over the chocolate.

Immediately dive in with your spoon, marvel at the wicked gorgeousness of it, plunge in the spoon a couple more times before discarding it to drink the rest of your affogato! There’s probably a more elegant way of enjoying this but….this level of naughtiness deserves some gusto!

Tips…

If you are not quite as partial to Disaronno as I am, you could always swap it for Baileys.

There’s nothing to stop you mucking about with the quantities of any of the ingredients in this pudding-cum-cocktail.

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Dangerously so!

La Bomba! Rum-Laced Decadent Hot Chocolate

This fabulously decadent hot chocolate with its naughty little rum kick is ideal on a miserable grey day when you’re looking for something cheery and warm or alternatively, it would perfectly suit a Swiss chalet, roaring fire and snow-covered mountains. Even though it was only the first option available to me today, it did brighten a rather dull, grey afternoon: hot, smooth and velvety chocolate topped with indulgent rum-flavoured cream and then that cheeky little shot at the end! For grown ups only!

Serves 2

What you need…

100g plain chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon icing sugar

500ml milk

200ml double cream

2 tablespoons rum, plus 2 shots to serve

What to do…

Chuck the chocolate, icing sugar and milk into a saucepan over a moderate heat. Melt the chocolate, whisking all the time and then warm the hot chocolate to piping hot.

In a bowl, pour in the cream with the 2 tablespoons rum and, using an electric hand held whisk, whip up the cream into stiff peaks (snow-like ones!) If you want to you can now put the cream into a piping bag but it’s not really necessary.

Pour the hot chocolate into 2 mugs or heatproof glasses and either pipe on a huge swirl of the rum-cream on the top or simply dollop it on. Leave a weeny space at the top – when your settled and ready to indulge, tip a shot of rum into each mug or glass, sit back and sip gently. The greyness of the day will be eased away, I promise! La Bomba! Rum-laced, decadent hot chocolate: lovely, velvety and comforting!

Inspired by…

The Lady

How easy…

Very. It’s more the mood that you’re in that’s important!

 

 

Parisienne Café (or French Coffee)

A child of the 1970’s, I have memories of many trends and fashions that were introduced, often in bad taste, but this morning I woke up (worryingly) thinking of French coffee, thoughts that instigated a little trip down memory lane. Each Sunday, my dad would cook – usually something from his Supercook cookbook collection – whilst sipping large glasses of homemade wine (another story). After the mid-afternoon lunch, he would retire to HIS chair and snooze whilst mum and I would clear up – her washing and me drying. That done, there would be a return to the dining table for French coffees, a job that was mine as I was particularly good at floating the cream. This little ritual was then followed by another: a few games of Backgammon with my dad –inevitably he won!!!

So this morning, I’ve whipped to Tesco’s for the papers and some double cream and we will have a little history repeated, except it’s Connagh who plays me at Backgammon….he doesn’t always win! Funny old world….

I’ve used cognac here because it’s what we happened to have, but you can of course make liqueur coffees with pretty much any thing you fancy: whisky for an Irish or Highland Coffee (depending on where your whisky hails from), Amaretto for an Italian Classico or rum for Calypso Coffee…the list goes on and the choice is yours! Whichever you choose, liqueur coffees are rather indulgent and have a definite ‘chillax’ affect!

Serves 1

What you need…

1 glass, glamorous if possible (I need to get some!)

2 teaspoons demerara/brown sugar

1 tablespoon cognac/brandy

Strong, hot coffee

Double cream

What to do…

Double up on the ingredients and make two – these should be enjoyed together!

For each one, tip the sugar in the bottom of your glass and then pour over the Cognac. Make up your coffee (I use Taylors Rich Italian ground coffee to make up a cafetiere). Pour the coffee into the glass, leaving about a centimeter at the top. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Gently and slowly pour the double cream in over the back of a dessertspoon and watch with delight as the cream floats on the top! Do not stir!!!

Sip the delicious liqueur-infused hot coffee through the cool double cream – absolutely delightful and soooooo indulgent! Enjoy!

Inspired by…

The 1970’s and increasingly odd thought patterns when I wake up in the mornings – recipes, recipes!

How easy…

You don’t have to ask, really. Just go steady with that cream!