For the last #FridayOldFashioned before Christmas, here is a Mince Pie Old Fashioned. Instead of using the Mince Pie Cognac for this one, here is a more versatile approach to mince pie flavouring: a mince pie syrup:
Warm 500ml water and 500g sugar in a pan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Add 200g of mincemeat, bring to the boil and then turn off the heat.
Allow the mixture to cool and then strain out the mincemeat. Bottle, refrigerate and use within two weeks.
For the Mince Pie Old Fashioned:
Add a teaspoon of mince pie syrup, three dashes of bitters and a barspoon of water to a mixing glass. Stir to dissolve.
Add two ice cubes and 30ml of whiskey and stir well (thirty times).
Repeat step two and then strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a mince pie (you can tell mine is homemade!)
Photo courtesy of Jason Swihart, some rights reserved.
The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for ‘rejoice’. I’m choosing to rejoice in a Corpse Reviver #1.
Now this is a drink that is a long way from its more popular cousin, #2: No citrus, no absinthe and instead, what is effectively a brandy-based Mannhattan with a Calvados twist and no time for bitters.
So there’s no call for bitters, and there’s no spritz of absinthe, so this leaves us with a seriously hard-hitting drink that’s going to punch the corpse back into life.
Believed to have been invented at The Ritz, Paris in the 1920s, Harry Craddock described this one as “to be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed”, but, trust me, it is equally good later in the day:
Add 30ml mince pie Cognac, 3oml Calvados and 30ml sweet vermouth to a mixing glass with cubed ice.
If you’re like us here at House of Bourbon HQ, right now you’re spending Advent Sunday sat by the fire, basking in the glow of your Christmas tree, listening to some Christmas music and wrapping presents or Christmas shopping (depending on your level of organisation).
If so, you need just the right drink to celebrate having Christmas totally under control, and nothing says celebration quite like the Champagne Cocktail – especially given this festive twist. That’s right, this is the first of our Advent Sunday drinks making use of the mince pie cognac we made earlier this week:
Sploosh a dash of bitters on a sugar cube and drop into a chilled champagne flute.
Last year I put the decision between Christmas pudding or mince pie bourbon to a Twitter vote and Christmas Pudding Bourbon came out on top. It was tasty, super sweet and full of festive flavour.
This year then, it is the turn of the humble mince pie to be boozified. I’ve decided to infuse it into Cognac instead of bourbon and over the next four weeks I will use this to showcase four Christmas cocktail recipes.
As I suggested last year, the mince pie infusion is much easier to make, but in an attempt to help create a clearer, more easily filtered infusion, I have decided to follow a sous vide recipe.
Add 500ml of good quality Cognac and 200g of store-bought mincemeat to a ziplock bag. Expel all of the air and seal.
Heat the sealed bag at 45°c for one hour (see my Sous Vide Syrup recipe for my home sous vide technique).
Once the hour is up, place the sealed bag in the freezer overnight.
Next morning strain and filter the mix and bottle. Yum!
Hurrah, it’s Negroni Week, I thought it would never come. Did you know, in Venice it is not legally considered to be summer until Negroni week (2-8 June)? No? That’s because I just made that up. Despite what you might think Negroni week is not an age old celebration of all things bitter and difficult, it was in fact invented by Imbibe magazine (and Campari) in err 2013.
Anyway, I’m not a big Negroni fan (I have tried, honest) but couldn’t let this momentous occasion pass without comment, so here is my recipe for a Fizzy Negroni (makes 1 litre or 8 125ml servings):
Combine 300ml gin, 30oml Campari and 300ml sweet vermouth in a mixing glass and add 100ml of water (to account for the dilution you would normally get from stirring).
Stir well and add to a soda siphon.
Charge the siphon with CO2 and then discharge into small bottles (Schweppes’ 125ml minis are perfect).
The second of my ‘around the world’ themed cocktails (see Strawberry Fields for an explanation) took in the pistachio trees of the Middle East, the lemon groves of Asia, the sugarcane plantations of the tropics and the corn fields of the American South with a nutty twist on the classic Whiskey Sour. This drink wasn’t as well suited to scaling up to pitcher size (you get a much better texture/mouthfeel from the egg white if you shake these individually), but the proportions below will suit any sized vessel:
Add a large (double) measure of bourbon, a measure of lemon juice, half a measure of pistachio syrup, half a measure of simple syrup, half a measure of egg white and a dash of bitters to a shaker.
Fill 2/3 full with ice and shake well for twenty seconds.
Strain the drink and dry shake (no ice) for a further ten seconds.
Strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with some ground pistachios or a cherry.
( Don’t be put off by the murky browny-green colour of this one, it is delicious!)
Photo courtesey of Wholesale of void, some rights reserved
My first garden party of the summer was in aid of a good friend’s thirtieth birthday party and had a ’round the world’ theme (i went as Willy Fogg by the way and came second in the fancy dress contest – thanks Mr & Mrs Cooke!).
I was asked if I could provide one or two drinks for the occasion that could be easily scaled up and served to a group of around forty people. Happy to oblige I combined a classic Barbadian rhyme* and some typically English ingredients to create a summer punch which was duly christened ‘Strawberry Fields’.
I made this in litre-jug sized batches, but the proportions below will work just as well glass by glass:
Muddle a few leaves of mint and one strawberry (per serving) in the bottom of a mixing glass.
Add four parts cold Earl Grey tea, three parts gin, two parts strawberry syrup and one part freshly squeezed lime juice.
Add ice and stir well.
Strain into a highball glass and garnish with a strawberry.
* The rhyme in case you were wondering is the old Bajan basis for a traditional rum punch “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak”. For the rum punch it refers to lime juice, sugar, rum and water in that order (served with a dash or two of Angostura bitters and nutmeg, which don’t make the rhyme) but can easily be transposed to a whole range of other ingredients.