Hol­i­day cock­tail craze

● Lucy Holden of­fers a few tips for fes­tive in­spi­ra­tion at home

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Weekend Life -

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

Pho­to­graph: 123.rf.com

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

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