When you think about Christmas drinks, what first springs to mind? Mulled wine, champagne, eggnog, "obligatory" sherry and port at the end of the meal, Baileys and Advocaat. At this time of the year numerous magazines publish food and wine pairing guides, and often overlook beer and cider. Yet these alcoholic drinks make a perfect alternative to Christmas wines, and could be used as a great base for a big selection of cocktails too.
Jane Peyton, founder of the School of Booze, drinks educator and writer, and Friends of Glass (community campaigning for the glass packaging for drinks) have created a useful guide for Christmas dining with beer and cider. They have suggested an inspiring pairing of beer and cider with all the Christmas dinner courses including dessert and cheese course.
As this inspired guide says, "With the huge range of brilliant bottled beers and ciders now available, there's never been a better time to try a different taste sensation this festive season".
"Christmas is a time for eating a wide range of delicious treats. These are often rich and heavy and need a liquid lift, which is why anything carbonated performs such a miracle in lightening the richness. So this coming Christmas dinner, why not take a holiday from wine and turn instead to beer and cider? With the huge range of brilliant bottled beers and ciders now available, there's never been a better time to try a different taste sensation this festive season".
Crabbie's alcoholic ginger beer comes in a variety of flavours. It was created by the Scottish pioneer John Crabbie who invented the recipe by combining exotic spices from the Far East with the finest steeped ginger. It has a very pronounced ginger taste, sharp and pungent. The ginger beer is spicy and refreshing, best served in a glass with ice cubes as a perfect thirst-quencher.
On the run to Christmas, I'm testing seasonal recipes for food and drinks.
Crabbie's-based cocktails would be perfect at any Christmas party.
I had a look at the Crabbie's cocktails, and loved the sound of Crabbie's Raspberry Delight.
I have slightly adapted the recipe, first of all by reducing the amount of rum from 50ml to 40ml, and even that was pretty
You will need:
4 fresh or frozen raspberries, mashed with a fork
40ml or less spiced rum
3tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
25ml raspberry syrup
Shake all the ingredients together and pour in a wine glass with fancy ice cubes, or just crushed ice
Top up with Crabbie's ginger beer
Garnish with a slice of lemon
The original recipe suggests using Crabbie's Scottish Raspberry Flavour ginger beer, I used the original ginger beer.
From the image above you can see that I have used Bacardi Oakheart spiced rum and Lowica Malina (Polish raspberry syrup, which I found in Tesco for £1).
It is a flavourful cocktail, just use the rum a bit more sparingly or add more ice than I did.
If you like the idea of beer-based cocktails, Jane Peyton and Co have produced a delightful festive recipe of The Big Smoke Winter Cockt-Ale, which I present here with their kind permission. It looks splendid, and is beautifully presented in a fancy glass.
It can be served warm/mulled or cold.
1 x 500ml bottle of porter (a dark beer brewed by several breweries such as Fuller's)
1 x 500ml medium dry cider (such as Cornish Orchards Gold)
Add a sprinkle of smoked paprika
If serving mulled, gently warm the drink on the hob
Serve in a tulip or snifter glass
Garnish with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer
Accompany with a couple of slices of crisp smoked apple to nibble on (sprinkle the apple with smoked paprika too if desired).
Isn't it just a beauty?
|Image credits: Friends of Glass|
Which cocktails do you enjoy at Christmas parties?
Disclosure: I received a bottle of Crabbie's for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are our own.