Drinks and Tipples

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!

 

Rhubarb and Vodka Love Potion

A deliciously delightful cocktail for Valentine’s day…..and for any other loved up days! Light, fragrant, sweet….but with naughty little kick to it. Having tried it once in the name of this blog, we’ve since had it three or four times!

Serves 2 romantics

What you need….

Cocktail shaker or jug

2 stalks rhubarb, sliced (choose stalks as pink as you can find)

100g caster sugar

120ml water

150ml vodka

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 large orange

½ a cup of ice

What to do…

Pop the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow to boil for a few minutes until the rhubarb has broken down to a mush. Take off the heat and sieve the clear pink juice into a jug, leaving the mush behind. Leave to cool.

When you’re ready to indulge, add the vodka, lime and orange juices to the jug. Have a quick taste to see if you are happy with it or would like a little more of any of the ingredients. Put your ice in a cocktail shaker, chuck the cocktail ingredients in, pop the lid on and shake like mad. (If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, pour into a jug with the ice and stir; then insist that a cocktail shaker is a necessary addition to your kitchen). Pour into two gorgeous glasses, deliver to your soul mate and gaze lovingly over the rim of the glasses as you sip. Drain glass and wish you’d made double the rhubarb sugar syrup so that you could make some more!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Really easy, just remember to allow time for the rhubarb sugar syrup to cool down.

Dairy-Free Mango Lassi

 

I’m not sure how authentic this is – Lassi heralds from India as a cooling yogurt drink and I know that you can get both salty and sweet varieties, both of which I believe contain spice – but for me this is a little bit of lusciousness in a glass and sometimes we swap this out for the usual breakfast smoothie with chia seeds (see previous blog). One of my favourite fruits, I love the way the mango in this ‘milkshake’ exudes its soft, fresh flavour – delicious!

Serves 4

What you need…

250ml Alpro Simply Plain yogurt

100ml Alpro Almond milk

300g fresh mango (buy it ready-prepared: saves a lot of faffing about)

1 dessertspoon runny honey (Manuka if you’re wearing a particularly healthy halo)

What to do…

Chuck the lot in your food process blender and whizz for about 1 minute, give or take!!!! Serve your dairy-free mango lassi and enjoy – feelin’ good!!!

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef

How easy…

Wop the ingredients in the blender – that’s it!

 

Cold-Defying Hot Toddy

This recipe was passed on to me many years ago by the mother of a friend who presented me with a steaming mug of her cold-defying hot toddy having witnessed my red, inflamed nostrils and watery eyes as well as having to put up with the infernal coughing and sneezing that goes with a very average but miserable British cold. She swore by this comforting antidote and now so do I. The way its benefits were described to me are as follows: the honey eases your sore throat, the lemon provides a zap of vitamin C and the whisky, well, that helps you sleep (although John says that it means you just don’t care how rough you feel!!!). Ideally, consumed just before bedtime, I also reckon that it sweats out the cold whilst you are blissfully snoozing. All I can tell you is that I wake up the next morning well rested, soothed and the with the pesky cold on its way out of the door (a couple more nights of the same treatment may be required!)

Serves 1 poor mortal

What you need…

1 decent sized mug

60ml whisky (nothing expensive)

1 chunky slice lemon (maybe 1cm wide)

1 dessertspoon runny honey

Boiling water

What to do…

Pour your measure of whisky into the bottom of the mug – the amount is obviously personal. Add your honey, leaving the spoon in the mug. Pop in the lemon. Top up with boiling water and stir to dissolve the honey. Then use the tip of the spoon to ‘stab’ the lemon, extracting as much juice out of it as possible.

Pad upstairs to bed, snuggle under the duvet and then drink your hot toddy as soon as you can – it needs to be as hot as you can stand it. Enjoy its soothing properties and then switch out the bedside light and cuddle up for a good night’s sleep. This is possibly the very best part of having a cold!

Inspired by…

Margaret

How easy…

Well, it’s not hard is it?! And it minimises suffering.