Winter cocktail shake-up
Whether it's chilled to perfection to mirror the wintry landscape, or warm as the glow from a roaring fire, the right spirit can evoke feelings of congeniality and happiness. To put you in the mix, here's how to spruce up your cocktail repertoire this season, with some spicy winter editions
1. La Fleuriste French G&T
Thanks to our insatiable thirst for gin, Aldi have expanded their gin palace with some exciting new releases such as La Fleuriste French Gin (£19.99, 70cl, Aldi). The liquid contains 17 botanicals and spices and pairs well with their new premium tonic, Ridge Valley (£1.79, 4 x 20cl, available from December 14).
Ingredients: 35ml La Fleuriste, 20cl Ridge Valley Tonic Water, large ice cubes.
Method: Half fill a high ball glass with ice. Add the gin and tonic, stir slowly.
Garnish: Sprig of rosemary to balance the herbal nature of the gin.
2. Bombay Sapphire Spiced Apple Tea
Some like it hot – and Bombay Sapphire (£21, 70cl, Sainsbury) have created a spicy twist on this party classic that's in perfect harmony with the gin's 10 exotic botanicals.
Ingredients: 50ml Bombay Sapphire, 15ml Martini Bianco, 20ml fresh lemon juice, 3 thin slices of apple, 1 cinnamon stick; 3 cloves, 3 cardamom pods (broken), 1/4 vanilla bean, 1 black tea bag, 15ml honey, 150ml water, 50ml cloudy apple juice.
Method: Add water, honey and apple to a pot and heat. Add spices and tea bag and allow to simmer for five minutes. Remove tea bag and add apple juice. Strain. Add Bombay Sapphire, Martini Rosso and fresh lemon juice and stir before serving. Serve in a large teacup.
Garnish: Orange zest, spent apple slices and nutmeg sprinkle.
3. Dakin Gingroni
With the growing trend for spicy, bitter cocktails, Stone's Ginger Wine is the secret ingredient taking a back set in Thomas Dakin's (currently reduced to £25 from £29, 70cl, Tesco) remix of a classic.
Ingredients: 35ml Thomas Dakin Gin, 35ml Aperol, 35ml ginger wine.
Method: Build all ingredients in a rocks glass over ice and stir a few times with an orange twist.
Garnish: Orange twist.
4. Poinsetta Punch
With spruce tips cited as the hero ingredient in the special Winter Edition of Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin (£34, 70cl, Dunnet Bay Distillers), the original elements have been scaled down to allow the earthy and gentle citrusy notes from the spruce to shine.
Ingredients: 35ml Rock Rose, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml gingerbread syrup, pomegranate juice to top up.
Method: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker then add ice and shake until cold. Strain over fresh ice in a highball glass. Top with pomegranate juice.
Garnish: Berries (your choice).
5. The Grey Goose French Coffee
Why not perk up your palate (and spike up a seasonal favourite) with Grey Goose La Poire Vodka (£38, 70cl, Ocado). A pear flavoured vodka that sounds scrumptious in this recipe, and cries out for a slice of pear and cinnamon coffee cake to enjoy alongside it.
Ingredients: 35ml Grey Goose La Poire, 75ml warm speciality filter coffee, 15ml demerara sugar syrup, double cream.
Method: Build all ingredients in a French coffee glass. Float double cream on top.
Garnish: Ground nutmeg.
6. Patron Winter Margarita
With hints of aromatic ginger and festive spices, we love this winter twist on the classic tequila cocktail, made with Patron Silver Tequila (approx. £40, 70cl, Amazon).
Ingredients: 50ml Patron Silver Tequila, 15ml Funkin Spiced Syrup, 15 ml fresh lime juice, 15ml agave nectar.
Method: Pour the tequila, spiced syrup, lime juice and agave into a cocktail shaker over fresh ice cubes. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish: A wheel of fresh cut ginger.
7. Remember the Grain
Belvedere have released a luxury vodka – Single Estate Rye Vodka, Smogory Forest (£49, 70cl, Clos19), made from dankowskie diamond rye. The base ingredient is grown at a small estate in western Poland, where the lush, forested terroir (soil and climate) is reflected in the vodka.
Described as having 'notes of salted caramel, a touch of honey and a bold savoury finish', we like their suggestion of using Smogory as an alternative in classic rye whisky cocktails.
Ingredients: 50 ml Belvedere Smogory Forest, 10ml sweet vermouth, 5ml Absinthe, 2 dashes of chocolate bitters.
Method: Stir the ingredients together to combine and pour into a short tumbler over one large ice cube.
Garnish: Orange twist.