Fiona Beck­ett If you’re go­ing to drink less, make sure you drink bet­ter

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I know it’s an un­fash­ion­able view these days, but Jan­uary is not a time for ab­sten­tion. Mod­er­a­tion maybe, but no booze at all? That makes an al­ready mis­er­able month even more dis­mal.

My sug­gested strat­egy, as I’ve ex­pounded be­fore, is a sin­gle drink, prefer­ably just be­fore re­tir­ing to bed so you won’t be tempted to have a se­cond. Un­less your rel­a­tives have drunk you out of house and home over the past week or two, there may well be some un­fin­ished bot­tles of port or sherry around the house, so drink ’em up (a glass at a time), be­cause they won’t keep un­til next Christ­mas.

Whisky you could, of course, save un­til Burns Night, though if there’s a month to drink whisky in, I reckon it’s Jan­uary. I’m par­tic­u­larly keen on Crab­bie’s 46% non-chill fil­tered cask strength

which is de­signed specif­i­cally to com­ple­ment Crab­bie’s gin­ger wine in a whisky mac, but is equally good on its own.

In fact, gin­ger drinks gen­er­ally tick that warm­ing box, from gin­ger beer, if you’re not drink­ing, to gin­ger liqueurs, such as

which is avail­able even on Ama­zon for £23.49 at the time of writ­ing. If you’re lucky, you may also find a bot­tle of Aldi’s rather fancy gin liqueur, which is per­haps more lemon and gin­ger than gin­ger­bread, but a good sea­sonal sub­sti­tute for a G&T all the same.

It’s also the right time of year for other dark spir­its and cock­tails. Bring on dark, sug­ary rums and smooth, suave co­gnacs to swirl and sip in front of the fire. In fact, I like all kinds of brandy (a shame Aldi isn’t do­ing its cheap cal­va­dos this year), in­clud­ing un­der­rated Span­ish ones – if you’ve got some cash to splash af­ter Christ­mas, treat your­self to a bot­tle of González Byass’ rather glo­ri­ous

I would also be tempted to aban­don hoppy ales for a few weeks and in­stead dive into what the beer world has to of­fer by way of win­ter warm­ers: sub­stan­tial stouts, porters and bar­ley wines. I’m lov­ing the idea of

Gin­ger, Eight-YearOld, The King’s The In­fu­sion­ist Gin­ger­bread Lepanto. Siren’s Bro­ken Dream Break­fast Stout

(6.5%), the 2018 Camra Cham­pion Beer of Bri­tain, for a week­end brunch in­stead of a chilly glass of prosecco.

And for those who are still drink­ing wine, there are plenty of hearty reds around the £6-£7 mark right now, south­ern Italy and Si­cily be­ing par­tic­u­larly good hunt­ing grounds. Mor­risons does a crack­ing £6 (14%) in its The Best range that’s per­fect for bat­tered, post-Christ­mas bud­gets.

Nero d’Avola

15ml dry white port – we use Niepoort White Rab­bit

5ml orgeat (al­mond) syrup – we use Monin 1 strip lemon peel, to gar­nish

1 bour­bon cherry

– we use Jack Rudy – to gar­nish

Win­ter is about whiskies and long con­ver­sa­tions around a warm fire. This is a scotch-based twist on the old fash­ioned, an old-school cock­tail that’s hav­ing a bit of an on-trend mo­ment. The in­spi­ra­tion came from a reg­u­lar at Scar­fes, who al­ways asked for an old fash­ioned. We wanted him to dis­cover new cock­tails without stray­ing too far from his favourite, and this is what we came up with.

Stir to­gether all the liq­uids in a mix­ing glass, pour into a chilled rocks glass over a large cube of ice, gar­nish and serve.

Yann Bou­vi­g­nies, head bar­tender, Scar­fes Bar, Rose­wood, Lon­don WC1

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