Image Credit: Sophie Burton (Canva)
As part of our countdown to Christmas, our editors are doing a mini series of their five festive favourites. First up, Sophie Burton collates her favourite cocktail recipes for when you’re fancying a festive tipple! From spiced warming flavours to sweet treats there’s a bit of everything… including a mocktail option if you’re looking for something alcohol-free!
There’s a range of ingredients used in these recipes but I’ve tried to make it so that it’s easy to source cheap and readily available alternatives. All you need is a shaker, plenty of ice and your favourite glass to sip cocktails from…. Or if you're feeling like going full-student-mode, grab a mug!
Number 5: Stormy Spiced Apple-tini
This one encapsulates some of the typical festive flavours. For those of you who like your festive food to leave a warm tingly feeling behind, this should be right up your street! I’d recommend using a regular tumbler to serve this one!
To make this I added a single shot (25ml) of Smirnoff Apple vodka, a double shot (50ml) of spiced rum (you can use any you like but for this one I used Aldi’s own brand which is around £10 for a bottle!) and 50ml of Apple Juice all to a shaker filled with ice. (I also added a dash of apple cordial which I had lying around but that’s not a must-have!) Shake until your shaker feels cold to the touch and you can see the condensation on the outside!
Fill your glass with ice and fill halfway with ginger beer/ale. Strain your shaken mix and pour into the glass, aiming for the ice cubes to create a nice layered effect. (If you have it) serve with a wedge of lime and enjoy!
Number 4: Cranberry Christmas Spritz (Option to become a mocktail)
A simple fruity number, this one is nice and easy. You don’t even need a shaker! But sometimes the tried and tested combinations hit the spot!
This quick and easy drink can be turned into a mocktail super easily if you would prefer an alcohol free alternative! If you’re feeling sophisticated you could serve this in a champagne flute (You might want to halve the quantities for this though) or a wine glass, otherwise any old glass will do!
To make, add around 100 ml of cranberry juice and then 100ml of orange juice to your chosen glass. Then top with 50 ml of prosecco - if you’re opting for the mocktail then use some sparkling grape juice or Shloer!
Optional extra – finish with a drizzle of grenadine for added impact.
Number 3: Salted Caramel Espresso Martini
The espresso martini is go-to all year round, and a personal favourite of mine (right next to a good old pornstar martini!). This subtle little twist adds a little sweetness and luxury and works perfectly for Christmas drinks!
The ideal serve for this would be in a martini glass but if you don’t have one of those lying around, anything you can find will do!
To make this I used freshly brewed coffee - made from an espresso machine I picked up for £20 from Facebook marketplace (an absolute bargain) - but you could use instant or substitute for coffee liqueur (Kahlua or a supermarket own brand). Doing this will also result in a less sharp coffee flavour for those of you who want a smoother, creamier drink. The coffee I used was Whittards ground salted caramel blend which added to the caramel flavour.
To the shaker, I added 50 ml of the coffee (or a double espresso shot), and 50 ml vanilla vodka (I have the Absolut one currently but I highly recommend the Aldi own brand or the Smirnoff one for a slightly cheaper alternative) and a dash of salted caramel coffee syrup (mine was 79p from B&M!) - alter the amount of this used to your personal preference.
Shake over plenty of ice until you can see condensation and your shaker is cold to the touch. Then strain into your chosen glass and it should settle with a foamy layer on top.
Optional extra: Garnish with a coffee bean or two!
Number 2: Chocolate Orange Twist
Chocolate orange is one of those classic combinations that is so moreish, so what better flavour to turn into a Christmas cocktail? This is a variation of one of my all time favourites incorporating local products from Rainsthorpe Manor - you’ll find them at the christmas market or at their shop in the outlet centre. Again, I served this in a classic martini glass but you can serve in just about anything!
To a shaker filled with ice I added 25ml of Rainsthorpe Manor Chocolate Orange Liqueur, approximately half a shot of blood orange gin (I used some Whitley Neill I had left from summer but there’s plenty of alternative orange gins such as Gordon’s, Beefeater’s and Tanqueray Sevilla to name a few) and half a shot of vanilla vodka (for options see the previous recipe). To get your ‘half-shot’ measures, you can use one 25ml measure and half fill with each to make one full measure. Then add 100ml of milk (you can use any kind, dairy or non-dairy, my personal choice for cocktails is always oat milk). Finally add a couple of teaspoons of hot chocolate powder and stir. Again you can use any kind of hot chocolate but I went for Whittards Chocolate Orange to compliment the orange flavours. Shake thoroughly until the shaker is too cold to touch and you can see condensation around the outside.
Strain carefully into your chosen glass and enjoy!
Number 1: The Winter Velvet
Last up we have my number one - The Winter Velvet! I love a sweet little number like this, especially as an after-dinner treat! This is my personal favourite, to make and to drink!
I served this in a martini glass and did a little bit of decoration but in absence of that, any glass will do!
For the decoration - I drizzled some chocolate sauce/ syrup (I used the sweet freedom ones available at Aldi!) back and forth across the glass and placed it in the fridge to set whilst I continued making the drink!
To your shaker filled with ice add 25ml of vanilla vodka (purchase options listed in recipe number 3) and 25ml of Baileys - On this instance I used the limited edition Red Velvet Baileys because that’s all I had, but I would recommend using classic Irish Cream Liqueur (Aldi’s Ballycastle is perfect and budget friendly) or if you can get your hands on it, the special white chocolate version from Aldi. Then add 100ml of milk (again, I used oat milk but you can use whatever you please), a couple of spoonfuls of white hot chocolate powder (I used Whittards but Galaxy have a good version of this which is much cheaper), and a dash of white chocolate coffee syrup - another bargain find from B&M but not an essential, you can make it without it! Give a good stir before shaking thoroughly until the shaker is cold to touch.
Strain into your chilled glass, sit back and enjoy!
Well there you have it, the first of our Five Festive Favourites! I hope you enjoy. Be sure to share any of your creations and your festive favourites with us on our Instagram Page @muse_food.
Images: Sophie Burton