Gin Holiday Cocktails
Jul 15, 2018
Which would you rather do: enjoy your party or serve your guests?
If you’re having people over for cocktails —especially during the holidays— a little pre-planning and mixing will get you out from behind the bar using a long-forgotten trick. Bottled cocktails. Well, okay, cocktails that you can bottle or put in an insulated thermos dispenser for serving. Warming, soul-satisfying beverages or fascinating alternatives to classic winter drinks are in abundance. Take it from the pros and even some people who have handed down their family recipes for entertaining during the dark days of winter.
Hot Gin Punch à lá Cratchit
The person who really put Christmas on the map—at least as far as literature is concerned—was a true gin aficionado. Charles Dickens, who’s 1843 book A Christmas Carol first brought the true spirit of Christmas to light, frequently wove a mixed drink made with gin into his tales. This book was no exception. Never one to dampen the festive nature of the season, despite his lack of funds, Scrooge’s clerk Bob Cratchit brewed up his hot gin punch for his appreciative family with all the ritual that one would expect from a long-standing tradition. Not knowing his exact recipe—Dickens failed to detail the entire contents of this most-loved libation—we came up with our Hot Gin Punch à lá Cratchit back in 2008, which quickly became a staple of our holiday menu.
To serve: simmer peels, cloves, coriander, pomegranate seeds, cardamom, juniper berries, and cinnamon sticks in water over medium heat for 10 minutes. Pour 30 ml of gin into each punch cup or teacup. Strain the hot, spiced liquid into each cup. Top each serving with ginger beer and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Sparkling bubbles and the palest rosy hue add a touch of glamour when toasted by candlelight on a wintry holiday night. You can add this romantic touch to your romantic tête-a-tête by mixing a pair of London mixologist Dan Warner’s Waterloo Sunset.
To serve: shake the gin and elderflower liqueur over ice. Strain into chilled flutes. Slowly layer in the chilled Champagne. Then add in the raspberry liqueur, using a barspoon to layer the liquid on top of the gin mixture, creating the “sunset”.
For gift giving, there’s nothing more cherished and personal than something that something that you made at home. Until like poor Bob Cratchit, we do live in modern times and can enjoy the freshness of fresh fruit even in the dead of winter. This brings us to a gift that anyone who whistfully wishes for the return of the warm months can savour until spring. A bottle of Raspberry Gin offers a multitude of possibilities, from a simple shot to a phenomenal Gin & Tonic to a complex and festive Original Cosmopolitan or Martini.
To serve: place berries in a sterile, 2-litre clip-top or screw-top glass jar. Add the gin. Steep in a dark room for 7 to 10 days. Strain into clean clip-top glass bottles.
Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown