Tag Archives: christmas

Prosecco – 3 ways to a New Years Party…

Hey, everyone! Sorry about my forced hiatus recently! I had internet troubles whilst moving into a new house! I’m back up and running now though and just in time for New Years! So scroll on down and enjoy yourselves! Thank you all for your continued readership!


Enter the New Year in style with some fancy sparkling wine! Whilst you could go for an expensive bottle of Champagne, sometimes saving a little bit of money is a good shout…

Prosecco, generally speaking, is much cheaper than even a semi-good bottle of champagne. And if you head to a specialist wine shop, you’re more than likely to find a top end brand too!

The best example I’ve come across in the past few years is Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Prosecco Conegliano… It’s usually inexpensive and can often be nabbed when it’s on offer!

Below I give you 3 simple cocktails you can make for your new years eve party. At least to make it a bit more fun for your new-to-prosecco friends! The price detail really hits home if you have a party for more than just a few people!

Cocktail #1:

Prosecco & St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Ingredients:

30ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Top Up TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:

  • Using a standard champagne flute, gently add the Elderflower Liqueur into the bottom of the glass.
  • The simply top up with the prosecco.
  • Garnish with

Usually used at Christmas this simply made cocktail is perfect to capture the sweetness of the prosecco and pump it up into a sweeter-than-usual mouthful. The St. Germain Liqueur adds a floral note and really does make the prosecco go down easier for those with a sweeter tooth…

I tried this very recently at an italian restaurant with my girlfriend. It was delicious and should be available for everyone to try! My well-known bias for Licor 43 aside, this is my favourite cocktail in this post!

 

Cocktail #2:

Prosecco & Licor 43

Ingredients:

30ml Licor 43

Top up TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:

  • Pour chilled Licor 43 into a standard champagne flute.
  • Top up with the Prosecco and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

This cocktail is one I’ve wanted to try out for a long while and, thanks to my girlfriend, I was able to finally get hold of a full bottle of Licor 43. It’s a very sweet liqueur and can produce many a fine cocktail. But there’s something about this Prosecco & liqueur blend that captures my feelings for prosecco perfectly!

Prosecco, whilst sweeter than champagne, is still a little dry for my palate. But add enough of a sweet liqueur and you have the perfect balance of sweet and dry. Not to mention the addition of various subtle flavours (from the liqueur).

Licor 43 brings its blend of 43 different ingredients into the mix, but it mainly shows off the Citrus and Vanilla in this particular drink… Although there are some herbal undertones there for those with a keen nose…

 

Cocktail #3:

Prosecco & Creme De Peche

Ingredients:

25ml Creme De Peche

Top up TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:

  • Gently pour the Peach Liqueur into a standard champagne flute.
  • Top up with the Prosecco Conegliano…

This cocktail is very much like a mimosa, only it cuts out the fruit juice and uses an alcoholic peach liqueur instead. It has certainly got more bite, but like the other 2 drinks on this list, you get a balance to the dryness of the wine with the sugary liqueur…

This is one of the fruitier of the 3 drinks, with the peach flavour being very, very prominent throughout. Give it a try, and if it’s too sweet, try cutting it back with a dash of fresh lime!

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A Temporary (forced) Hiatus

Hello, everyone!

First, let me thank everyone who has been a return reader to my cocktail blog!

Second, let me thank every single person who’s ever read, commented on, or shared one of my articles!

I’ve been quiet for a month or two now – mainly because I’ve been working on a few other things (cocktail related) and preparing my Christmas posts.

However, I’ve been forced into a moving of homes quite suddenly. All is well and I’ll be moved in shortly, but as many of you know, the process of such a short-term move means amenities like tv/phone/internet are a hard commodity to get sorted quickly.

As such, my new house has no current phone line, and therefore no internet. Being the time of year as it currently is (Seasons Greetings) the phone company cannot get out until early in the new year.

So, the short story is that I shall be without the internet for anywhere from 1-4 weeks. It is crap and I genuinely had plenty of ideas to share with you this Christmas. The fact is, alongside my relatively time-consuming work-life and my just as important personal life, i just havent had the time to get the posts ready. I haven’t even been able to get them ready enough to shcedule whilst i’m out of commision! [insert sad face here]…

I will work on some posts for the new year and when I’m able to, I shall be back with an abundance of cocktail recipes and other fun items for you all!

In the meantime, please feel free to peruse my blog, using keywords for your favourite spirits/cocktails and enjoy what you read! Feel free to comment, as I will still be able to reply via my phone, I just won’t be able to post new content until I’m reconnected to the matrix!

Thank you all for your continued readership, Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to you all!

All My Love,

Dan,

The Fervent Shaker…

merry christmas happy new year.jpg

Seasonal Escapades: A Winter Vacation

Escape from the cold this winter with 5 Exotic tasting treats, courtesy of our dear old friend: Alcohol…


 

Christmas is literally days away now (possibly hours if you’re a day or two late reading this) and in no way am I feeling festive.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the time spent seeing family members but it’s not the same when you grow up. The excitement goes and the headaches set in (siblings having kids will do that to you).

But one thing I’ve always enjoyed, of course, is the alcohol. I love to experiment with Cranberry sauce every year, last year was simply Cognac laced Cranberry Sauce. This year however I’m going for something a little more adventurous: Grand Marnier Orange & Cranberry Sauce.

I will share that recipe after Christmas as I would like to make sure I get it right before sharing with you all (egg and face and all that).

Until then I will be wishing my days away fantasising about being on a desert  island somewhere, with an endless supply of rum and fruit juices…

To help me I’ll be sampling a few summer-style cocktails to help me with my isolated fantasy of a tropical Christmas.

Here below are 4 cocktails, all different to the usual Christmas themed drinks you’re all fully up to date on, but all of which will still add touch of Christmas spirit on your festivities… Enjoy them my friends…


 

#1 Palm Beach

palm beach cocktail

Recipe:

1 measure Rum

1 measure Gin

1 measure Pineapple Juice

Top up with Soda Water/Prosecco (both optional)

Ice

Method:

  • Combine and shake ingredients over ice.
  • Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge and serve with a straw!

This drink calls for an optional top up with Soda water. This is purely to lengthen the drink and make it last a little longer on those long summer nights. However this time of year a slight dash or two of Prosecco in place of the Soda wouldn’t go amiss… I’m saving this one for the evening!


 

#2 Sunny Bay

sunny bay - june bug cocktail.jpg

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Vodka

½ measure Midori

2 measures Pineapple Juice

Ice

Method:

  • Add to a shaker full of ice and shake well – for around 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a cherry.

The long slender glass really lends itself to the aesthetics of this drink. It’s a simple and effective mixture that is perfect for transporting you away on those loud and rowdy afternoons with the kids!


 

#3 Bajan Sun

bajan sun cocktail

Recipe:

1 measure White Rum

1 measure Mandarin Brandy

1 measure Orange Juice

1 measure Pineapple Juice

Splash of grenadine

Method:

  • Shake together everything and do so until well-chilled.
  • Strain into a tall, well-chilled, glass and garnish with pineapple wedge and cherry.

The only drink on here with an obscure liqueur. The mandarin brandy might be hard to find, but try using a sweet syrup version. here in the UK you can purchase mandarin segments in syrup by the tin. Try mixing some cognac in with the syrup from these tins and you have a wonderful home-made hack!


 

#4 Ocean Breeze

ocean breeze

Recipe:

1 measure white rum

1 measure amaretto

½ measure blue curacao

½ measure pineapple juice

Top with Soda water

Method:

  • Shake together all the ingredients, except the soda water, with ice.
  • Strain into a well-chilled tall glass.
  • Top up with soda water.
  • Serve immediately and with a straw.

Again you can substitute the Soda water with Prosecco but the beauty of this drink is the crisp blue colour it exhumes…


 

#5 Risky Whisky Ricky

whisky lime soda

Recipe:

2 measures Scotch Whisky

1 measure fresh lime juice

Soda water/Champagne

Method:

  • Layer the whisky and then the lime juice over ice in a tall thin glass.
  • Top up with soda water.
  • Garnish with a lime slice and serve with a straw.

Simple and yet elegant to a fault. This cocktail is so simple it can be built in a glass by your pet dog. Ok so maybe not quite. It is a simple cocktail mind you and its simplicity is what makes it a perfect getaway from the overbearing in-laws. Try a few of these and they’ll seem far less scary…


 

So there you go 4 cocktails to give you an escapists advantage this Christmas.

Sit back, enjoy, and from me here at the Fervent Shaker; Have a Very Merry Christmas!

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…

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…

Image
Texans – A friendly bunch…

TEXAS – Margarita

Sparkling Citrus Margaritas

Recipe: Serves 8

750ml (1 Bottle) Champagne

250ml Fresh Grapefruit Juice

250ml Cointreau

250ml Tequila

65g Caster Sugar

8 Lime wedges

Salt

Image

Method:

1)      Combine the grapefruit juice, Cointreau, tequila and sugar in a bowl, cover and leave in a fridge to cool down.

2)      Rim the glass with the salt (use lime juice as an adhesive), and add the tequila mixture to the glass.

3)      Top with the champagne and serve right away…

This cocktail is not only inspired by a Texan, it was created by one. Sweet Life is a site by a Texan Girl called Vianney Rodriguez and covers not only cocktails but food too. This Recipe is one I found randomly a few weeks ago and, after testing it out at home, it is extremely refreshing and moreish. I find it is best made using with good quality champagne, although if using Sparkling wine, a Prosecco or Demi-Sec should do the trick.

Should you wish to check out the original article or even a few of her other recipes (they’re really good by the way) then head on over to Sweet Life and enjoy yourself a little…

Disclaimer: All photos (as well as the recipe & method for that matter) are the work of Sweet Life; I’m just sharing it because it was pretty darn good!