Tag Archives: christmas cocktails

Cocktails O’ Clock: Christmas with Champagne… Part 2

The alcohol fuelled cocktails…


Here, listed below, are some of the best cocktails you should be trying out this Christmas and New Year… Using French Champagne, Italian Prosecco and of course good old English Sparkling Wine these cocktails aim to add a bit of colour (and class) to your drinking experiences this festive period.

1.       Kitsch Revolt

Recipe:
1 measure absolut vodka
½ measure strawberry puree
Top up Laurent Perrier Champagne Brut
 
Method:
Combine the strawberry puree and vodka in a chilled champagne glass and then top up with well chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: this recipe is unusually suited for mass mixing. Combining the vodka and strawberry puree together and pouring and sharing between the required glasses really speeds things up.

Champagne: The best price you’ll find at the moment is at sainbury’s where you can save a whole £10 and nab a 75cl for only £26.99.

2.       La Siene Fizz

Food & Wine

Recipe:
1 measure Brandy
½ measure fraises de bois
½ measure fresh lemon juice
Dash of orange bitters
2 strawberries (hulled)
Sugar syrup (to taste)
Top up Marca Oro Prosecco
½ measure Grand Marnier

Method:
–          Muddle the strawberries and sugar syrup together in a cocktail shaker and then add all the other ingredients (except the champagne and Grand Marnier) and shake well.
–          Strain into a tall, ice filled Collins glass. Top up with champagne, float in the Grand Marnier and garnish with a strawberry on the glass’ rim.

Champagne: Available at Sainsbury’s for a very tempting £8.49 (75cl). A good choice for a budget sparkling wine and perfect with the fruit flavours in this cocktail.

3.       Kir Royale

kir royale

Recipe:
2 teaspoons crème de cassis
Top up Lanson Black Label Champagne Brut

Method:
Drop in the cassis and then top up with chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: for added sweetness, especially if you’re using a dry sparkling wine, try using a sugar cube to soak up the cassis and place that in the glass. The drink will become sweeter the more you drink. Top up as desired

Champagne:  On offer at Sainsbury’s, this champagne is £10 cheaper than normally, and for a limited time (no really, after Christmas I have a feeling they’ll be removing the offer rather quickly) it is only £23.99.

4.       Riviera Fizz

riviera fizz

Recipe:
1 ½ measures sloe gin
½ measure fresh lemon juice
½ measure sugar syrup
Top up Etienne Dumont Brut (Non-Vintage) Champagne

Method:
–          In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup and shake well.
–          Strain into a champagne flute and top up with the chilled champagne.

Champagne: This champagne, one of the bigger brands, is on offer at Sainsburys (check online to see if it’s available near you) at a very reasonable £13.49.

5.       Champino

Champino

Recipe:
1 measure Campari
1 ¼ measures Sweet Vermouth
Chilled Antoine De Clevecy Champagne
 
Method:
Combine the ingredients in a champagne glass and top up with chilled champagne.
 
Champagne: Sainsbury’s currently have this champagne on a good offer. Saving £9.99; you can grab a bottle at a fantastic £12.

6.       Cranberry Cooler (by sainsburys)

cranberry cooler

Recipe (serves 6): (build and serve)
150ml Gin
150ml Grand Marnier
330ml Orange Juice (smooth)
600ml Cranberry Juice

Method:
Combine in a large jug and mix well with a selection of fresh (appropriate) fruit. Spread among 6 ice-filled highball glasses and serve straight away.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This drink’s recipe reads very much like a summer punch, except the flavours your end up with are very much winter-orientated.

7.       Apple & Berry Bucks Fizz (by sainsburys)

apple and berry bucks fizz

Recipe (Serves 12):
360ml Apple & Raspberry Juice
6 oranges
Sainsbury’s TTD Vintage Cava
Fresh Mint Sprigs

Method:
–          Add 30ml of the Apple & Raspberry Juice into a champagne glass and then squeeze half an orange worth of juice in as well.
–          Top up with the Vintage Cava and then garnish with the mint sprigs.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: When preparing fresh mint the best way to release the oils without damaging the leaf is to follow this simple to remember routine:
Place the mint leaves in the palm of your left hand.
Then with one swift and forceful motion clap your hands together.
This releases the oils and allows for applying the oils to the rim of the glass and also creates a fantastic fresh mint smell when you put your nose to the glass.

Champagne: This sparkling wine is a real bargain this time of year, especially seeing as, at full price, it is already a discount product. You can expect to spend around £7.49 right now (£9.99 usually).

8.       Christmas Cheer (by sainsburys)

christmas cheer

Recipe:
6 glace cherries
90ml Kirsch
Sainsbury’s TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:
–          Drop a cherry into a champagne flute and then add 15ml of the Kirsch.
–          Top up with the Prosecco.

Champagne: I’ve made no secret about this product being one of my favourite sparkling wines. Having used it several times for events and cocktails at home, it is perfect for both fruit flavours (such as a classic bellini) or straighter drinks such as this one. Prices can range depending on the time of year, but generally it costs around £9.99. It is available at this moment 25% off£7.49.

9.       Black Velvet (Tesco)

black velvet

Recipe:
880ml (1 ½ pints) Guinness
Top up Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grande Reserve Champagne
 
Method:
Half fill the champagne glass with the Guinness and then top up with chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This cocktail is specifically built for particular taste, especially seeing as it uses Guinness. It’s a very eclectic tasting cocktail but the aesthetics of the drink is something a little different (and different is good).

Champagne: Now this champagne is one I’ve yet to try (I have a bottle unopened in my cabinet) but I’ve heard nothing but good things. Better still it is on offer at Sainsbury’s and if you’re quick enough you’ll be able to nab a free specifically designed Ice bucket. Price (if you’re quick):  £14.99!!!

10.   Raspberry Champagne

raspberry champagne

Recipe:
25ml Chambord
25ml Raspberry Puree
Top up Champagne
 
Method:
Layer the liqueur then the puree and finally top up with the chilled champagne.

Champagne: Sainsbury’s TTD Champagne is a bit of a jewel when it comes to cheaper champagnes. Supermarket wine/champagne buyers are extremely clued up when it comes to what’s good and what’s not. So you should definitely try this whilst it’s still on offer: £20.99.

Look out for Part 2 coming your way very soon… Oh and a very Merry Christmas to you all! CHEERS!

Now for the disclaimer: Let me apologise for one thing: Sainsbury’s. They seem to be the easiest supermarket whose online grocery website allows you to look at individual products in detail (as you’ll notice from the links in this post) as well as stocking the best sparkling wines (champagne or no) available. And so they are mentioned exclusively when it comes to pricing of the champagne/sparkling wine. I would like to point out that this post has not been sponsored, nor influenced by Sainsbury’s in any official capacity whatsoever.

Enjoy your Christmas and remember to drink responsibly. After all no one likes a let down…
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Cocktails O’ Clock: Christmas with Champagne… Part 1

A brief introduction to Champagne and where to buy it…

It’s not all about Champagne…

The first thing you need to know about champagne is that the word ‘Champagne’ is geographically patented and can only be used for a sparkling wine if it is made within the Champagne region of France. However the process used to make champagne is not exclusively used by the French (a common misconception).

This process itself is not an uncommon practice with products that sell well, think about Cognac and Cornish Pasties, and protects the so called quality of the product. Now that’s not to say that all champagnes are great because, trust me, there are not! But what it does mean is that a premium can be charged by companies for calling a product champagne. And without going into the economics of champagne making; they probably need it a lot more than the domestic companies…

What Champagne should you use in a cocktail anyway?

There are hundreds of different sparkling wines out there, as many as there are grape varieties in fact, but there is more to the world of cocktails than just champagne.

There was once a time when only the best champagne was used for cocktails, that was until other countries tried their hand at this so called ‘secret’ method of making sparkling wine. Sure they could never recreate the same processes the French used (for obvious legal reasons) but therein lied the secret to success: Their products were different, but in a good way. they do say after all that variety is the spice of life.

So then different countries had different products: Italy had Prosecco ( a slightly sweeter but essentially the same as the French) and as of the last couple of decades us English folk also started producing our Sparkling Wine. Prosecco is becoming more acclaimed and in some cases as highly regarded as the best champagnes.

Whilst English Sparkling Wine is in its infancy, it is pretty darn good, and winning awards all over the shop. Sure i’m English, and biased, but English Sparkling Wine is genuinely good (for the most part).

Of course you shouldn’t take my word for it, why not try it out for yourself? Or even get out there and try a tasting course or two?

Check out the links at the bottom for more information…

So where can you buy Champagne/Prosecco/Sparkling Wine?

As already stated they are all pretty much made the same way, meaning that if you can source one, chances are you can find all different kinds. The best/easiest places to start, here in the UK at least, are the supermarkets; places like Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, M&S & Majestic wines.

Then when you know what you’re looking for you can head online to speciality companies and even try out websites like TheWhiskyExchange and TheDrinkShop.

Sparkling English Wine

English Sparkling Wine

5 Best English Sparkling Wines

Is English Sparkling Wine better than the French?

Ridgeview Wines – English Sparkling Wine Producers

Cocktails O’ Clock: Inspired By… Germany…

Apple Strudel

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Vodka

½ measure Krupnik honey liqueur

½ measure Blackberry Coulis/Puree

1 dash Vanilla (flavoured) Syrup

2 measures Apple Juice

Top Up Champagne

Image
Bubbly & Fruity, this cocktail is perfect for Christmas parties…

Method:

  1. Shake all the ingredients together over cubed ice. Shake well until the shaker has iced.
  2. Pour into a large Collins glass and top with champagne/sparkling wine.

This cocktail should taste like that classic German dessert: Apple Strudel. Sweet and fruity with the Champagne adding a bubbly and light feel to the heavy sugary taste.

This drink is improved significantly with a rimmed glass. Try using a Cinnamon & Sugar mix and dusting the glasses rim. This should add a little heat to the drink as well as adding a traditional Christmas twist to the drink…