Thursday, 01 November 2012
The 12 drinks of Christmas
Now is the time to start stocking up on drinks for the festive season - Henry Jeffreys suggests 12 Christmas fail-safes to keep all your guests happyChristmas, ’tis the season of horrible drinks. It’s the time when people buy sticky spirits in lurid bottles that will later gather dust at the back of the drinks cupboard. Is there anyone who actually likes advocaat, crème de menthe or cherry brandy? As soon as the carols start on Classic FM, people seem to lose all sense of taste and will drink anything if it’s described as seasonal. I particularly loathe mulled wine. It’s usually made from the worst sort of red wine, boiled until there’s no alcohol left and bitter with spices from a sachet. Yuck!
So much nicer is the spiced cider punch my wife makes. In America where she’s from, cider has no alcohol in it; it’s just posh apple juice. The kick in this recipe (below) comes from the whisky that you add at the end. You could of course make it with a proper cloudy cider like Addlestones but beware as it would then be rather strong.
Next month I’ll reveal my perfect 12 wines for Christmas 2012. The choices are a little, how shall we put this, unconventional, so I’m expecting complaints from the reactionary wing of the Jeffreys family.
- 3.5 litres of best quality apple juice, or cider
- Juice of 3 lemons and 3 oranges
- 1 tbsp orange zest and ½ tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp butter
- 6 cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks or bark
- Whisky or bourbon, at least 250ml or less if you’re using cider
Put all the ingredients, apart from the alcohol, in a pan. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, but do not let it come to the boil. Add the whisky and stir in. It’s the perfect winter warmer: strong, comforting, fresh and not sickly sweet.
Christmas drinksHere are my 12 Christmas fail-safes that will ensure smooth-running festivities:
Addlestones, £2.15 (500ml), www.sainsburys.co.uk Intensely appley cider with a bit of tannic bite.
Moreish and mellow, but strong. St Austell Brewer Big Job IPA, £9.99 (750ml), www.staustellbreweryshop.co.uk Massive hops and massive alcohol make this a great one to drink before venturing out in the snow.
Timothy Taylor Landlord, £1.99 (500ml), www.tesco.com My favourite. I could drink it all day and sometimes do.
Pilsner Urquell, £1.80 (500ml), www.asda.com Someone will always come round who wants a lager and this one’s awfully good.
Tanqueray, £18.50 (700ml), www.tesco.com I don’t want a gin that’s too subtle in my G&T – this gives an enormous hit of juniper.
The Famous Grouse, £16.99 (700ml), Sainsbury’s I’m not saying it’s medicinal but my grandmother drank two doubles a day with soda and she lived to be 94.
Balvenie Doublewood 12-year-old, £28.95 (700ml), www.thewhiskyexchange.com Have a good single malt ready for late-night chats.
Baileys, £13 (700ml), www.tesco.com I know it’s a bit sickly but my older brother George likes it.
Tio Pepe, £10 (750ml), www.majestic.co.uk One for my other brother, Thomas. He’d be furious if we didn’t have any of this.
Taylor 10-year-old Tawny Port, £21 (750ml), Tesco Rich, smooth and nutty.
Pol Roger NV champagne, £39.99 (750ml), Berry Bros www.bbr.com Lovely, yeasty nose with a taste that reminds me a little of marmalade.
Vin de Constance, £35 (50ml), www.majestic.co.uk A successful recreation of the legendary 18th-century South African sweet wine loved by Napoleon. Rich candied fruit, caramel and a vibrant acidity.
Related tags:christmas drinks  hot cider recipe  addlestones  timothy taylor landlord  tanqueray  the famous grouse  balvenie doublewood  baileys  tio pepe  taylor tawny  vin de constance  sainbury's  tesco  the whisky exchange  berry brothers
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