With the peak festive season fast approaching I set about creating the perfect two cocktails to serve at my house this Christmas.
Based on a few ingredients you may well have lying around, these are both classics with a seasonal twist – the Christmas Old Fashioned and the Port Martini.
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Note on measures: roughly speaking 1 oz = 30 ml = 1 shot
Christmas Old Fashioned
2 oz dark rum
¾ oz tawny port
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1/3 oz sugar syrup
Stir the liquid ingredients with ice in a mixing glass if you have one, if not stir in a tumbler. Old Fashioneds are renowned for their need to be stirred properly. Stir for a full minute to ensure dilution and cooling. Fill your Old Fashioned glass (a rocks glass or tumbler is perfect) with ice and strain the mixture in. Top up with ice if possible. Spear 3 cherries with a cocktail stick and rest on the rim.
Our second Christmas-themed cocktail is another classic with a yuletide twist. The vodka martini gets a burst of warm, ruby flavours from a good port, and a wonderfully spicy nose from the floating star anise. This is a fantastic drink but dangerously easy to slurp and very strong!
2 oz vodka
1 oz tawny port
1 star anise
Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 with ice and pour in your liquid ingredients. If you’ve ever wondered which order to pour your ingredients in, many bartenders agree that they go in order of expense, cheapest first, so if you spoil it for any reason you’re least likely to waste the expensive booze! For this cocktail that very much depends on how much you splashed out on each ingredient.
Shake for half a minute until the shaker starts to frost on the outside and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Gently float a star anise on the surface and serve.