Drinks and Tipples

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.

 

 

Christmas Cocktails

 

When I was in my teens, my parents had an annual ritual of inviting friends and neighbours (one and the same?) around for Boxing Day drinks. Proceedings would begin at 11am and conclude at the stroke of 1 o’clock, at which point they would all depart the house to go the pub, where festive celebrations would continue. Apart from being light-headed by midday, what I remember most about these events was the organisation. My mother would get up and prepare the canapés and a buffet in attempt to soak up the vast number of cocktails to be consumed. My job was to make great pitchers of the things in readiness for the onslaught! My father would then trip down the stairs, freshly showered 10 minutes before the first of the guests arrived. For years, this was part of Christmas and it was a real enlivener after Christmas Day. So, here are a couple of my favourites cocktails, not necessarily the those of boxing day! Raising a glass to my dad – cheers!

Champagne Cocktail

Serves 1 person ready to celebrate

What you need…

1 x Champagne flute

1 sugar cube

Cognac/brandy

Champagne

1 maraschino cherry

What to do…

Pop your sugar cube into the bottom of the Champagne flute and pour in enough Cognac/brandy to soak into the cube. Top up with Champagne and chuck in the cherry if liked. Done! One celebration in a glass!

Baileys Espresso Martini

Serves 1 very lucky person

What you need…

1 x cocktail shaker

1 x martini glass

A handful of ice

50ml Baileys

25ml vodka

1 espresso shot

3 coffee beans to decorate (optional)

What to do…

Chuck all the ingredients (with the exception of the coffee beans) into the cocktail shaker. Pop the lid on (!) and shake like mad. Gently pour into your martini glass and decorate with coffee beans, if using. Find a large comfortable chair to sit in with your Baileys espresso martini, sit back, sip, relax, enjoy, repeat the last three instructions until glass is drained. Merry Christmas!

Tequila Sunrise

Serves 1 person looking for some holiday sunshine in a glass

What you need…

1 x highball glass

A handful of ice

50ml tequila

Fresh orange juice to top up

1 tablespoon grenadine

Half an orange slice

1 maraschino cherry

What to do…

Fill the glass up with ice and pour over the tequila. Top up with orange juice. Pour the grenadine down the side of the glass so that it sinks to the bottom.

Garnish your tequila sunrise cocktail with the half an orange slice and cherry.

Sip and savour the pictures that flood your mind of beach, heat, sunshine, blue skies and lapping waves. Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Christmas spirit!

How easy…

You just need the right motivation! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic Hot Chocolate

I saw Jamie do this on television and was truly inspired – it tastes absolutely incredible – like the hot chocolate you hear about in the very best fairy tales! The recipe is for a large jar of the mix – I have no idea how many glorious mugs it will make, but it’s so easy to make, you can simply and quickly top it up if it’s running low, something that I think may happen quite regularly!

What you need for the mix…

1 x preserving/Kilner clip top glass jar

2 tablespoons Horlicks

2 tablespoons cornflour

3 tablespoons icing sugar

4 tablespoons quality cocoa

100g 70% dark chocolate, finely grated

1 pinch cinnamon

for two mugs…

1 pint milk or Oatly if you’re keeping your dairy intake low

What to do…

Pour milk into a large saucepan and bring almost to the boil on a medium heat.

Meanwhile, take a large jar and chuck in all the chocolate mix ingredients, clip on the lid and give the mix a really good shake – that’s it job done! For two gloriously, silky rich mugs of hot chocolate, tip 4 heaped tablespoons of the mix into the hot milk and use a balloon whisk and incorporate all the ingredients. Bring your epic hot chocolate gently to the boil and let it bubble for a couple of minutes, whisking all the time – it will get naughtily gloopy in a really, really good way.

Pour into two mugs, sit back with your feet up and enjoy – a few cookies on the side wouldn’t go amiss (these ones are Cranberry and White Chocolate – will post recipe in a couple of days).

Alternative serving suggestions…

This hot chocolate is excellent for the purpose of dunking cookies!

It is VERY rich, silky and thick so another lovely option is to serve your epic hot chocolate in little espresso cups

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver

How Easy…

Insanely

 

 

Summer Fruits Smoothie with Chia Seeds

If you are looking for a pick-me-up to start your day with real zest and a blast of goodness, I can whole-heartedly recommend this smoothie. Stuffed full of fabulously nourishing ingredients, it also tastes deceptively delicious!

Serves 2

What you need…

200g frozen summer fruits, defrosted

250g Alpro soya ‘yogurt’, vanilla flavour

1dessertspoon Chia seeds

200ml water

2 teaspoons Manuka honey

What to do…

To make your summer fruits smoothie with Chia seeds, simply chuck the lot in your blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into a couple of glasses and look smugly at one another as you take in all this goodness whilst drinking something imitating a delectable dessert!

Tip…

You can swap my choice of soya yogurt for your own personal favourite – I just find that cutting down on dairy works better for me.

What are Chia seeds…?

For the uninitiated, they’re promoted as a super food. . They contain the highest levels of omega 3 and essential amino acids found in the plant kingdom. They are also high in fibre, calcium, ion, selenium and zinc. They are also rich in antioxidants and protein – what’s not to like?!

Inspired by…

Madeleine Shaw, ‘Get the Glow’

How Easy…

Tip in the blender, put the lid on and push the button!

Espresso Martini

Discovered by my son when we went out to dinner to celebrate exam results, the wonderful Espresso Martini presents itself in all innocence but it is, in reality, deliciously naughty and has the potential to knock your socks off!

Serves 2

What you need…

100ml vodka

70ml Kalhua/coffee liqueur

2 shots espresso coffee

Ice

Cocktail shaker

Two Martini glasses

What to do…

Pop the Martini glasses in the freezer whilst you make the cocktail.

Tip all the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake, shake, shake, smashing up the ice in the process and making this cocktail fabulously chilled.

Pour into your Martini glasses and watch as the cocktail separates to top the dark lushness with a creamy espresso top. Pass one glass to your drinking companion, sip and indulge. Delicious and soooooo naughty. A rich, sweet ice-cold coffee with a tangible kick. The only problem is that it’s quite difficult to put the glass down – just one more sip…

One, however, is probably enough!

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver has published the recipe together with a lovely anecdote as to its creation but we first tried it at the Windsor Grill.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/how-to-make-espresso-martini/#5PRtRiJY4pj2CjL6.97

http://www.windsorgrill.co.uk

How Easy…

Ridiculously!