Holiday cocktail craze
● Lucy Holden offers a few tips for festive inspiration at home
Cocktails are enjoying a renaissance, with new bars opening all over the show, and discerning drinkers mixing up more Aperol spritzes and negronis at home, too.
Home cocktail-making is also more popular, largely fuelled by the gin boom, and Aperol and vermouth sales are up internationally.
Ryan Chetiyawardana, who owns Dandelyan in London – crowned number one at the World’s 50 Best Bars awards this year – says cocktails have tipped into an everyday luxury.
“I think it’s partly because people are drinking less, and want something delicious and of higher quality when they do drink, but also because there’s always something unexpected and magical about a cocktail,” he says.
“People are definitely more adventurous now. They don’t baulk at unusual ingredients in drinks and have realised they can use their palate as a steer like they do in home cooking.
“If you like spiced, heavy autumnal dishes, then you know you’re going to like darker, spicier drinks, for example.
“Food and drinks use the same language – all you need is the words to translate your taste.”
The classics are a great way in.
“Look at the mojito and the Moscow mule: they do everything you want a cocktail to do.
“They are exciting and they have the ability to transport you from a dreary day to somewhere exotic.”
The gin craze helped pave the way for a reappraisal of cocktails. Drinkers realised different bottles had different flavours and started looking beyond tonic as a mixer.
“Gin cocktails are by far the most popular because the spirit is so versatile,” Alex Lawrence, founder of Porter’s Gin in Scotland, says. “It’s amazing, considering it was so uncool for a while.
“It’s been around for hundreds of years and it was drunk savagely in the 18th century when, it’s said, one in every three homes had a gin still.
“But by the ‘60s it started to be seen as stuffy and people switched to vodka, which was seen as a party spirit.”
The cocktail’s appeal is that you can do so much at home – grab a rosemary garnish from the garden or add a last-minute flavour boost from your favourite marmalade.
For a Christmas party at home, try making cocktails to elevate the evening.
Here are a few recipes for festive inspiration.
50ml medium cream sherry 25ml lime juice
15ml sugar syrup
Fruit and herbs
Muddle a small amount of fruit (pears, plums and quinces work perfectly) in the bottom of a highball glass before adding the other ingredients and ice. Stir to mix and garnish with lots of fruit.
Ingredients 35ml cognac 30ml Cointreau 15ml fresh lemon juice Method Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a coupe glass for this short, slightly sour drink. Garnish with a twist of lemon if preferred.
Ingredients 50ml gin
10ml blackberry liqueur 20ml sugar syrup 20ml lemon juice
4 fresh raspberries
Shake all ingredients together and pour into a coupe glass. Garnish with raspberries. – The Telegraph
FESTIVE CHEER: Home cocktailmaking is becoming more popular, on the back of the gin revival, and cocktails with added festive touches can be popular party starters this Christmas season
FESTIVE FARE: Read below Sam Venter’s festive options to add some fun and fizz to your holiday season