french 75


french 75Just in case you haven’t drunk all the champagne (or prosecco, or whatever) already, here’s my very favourite thing to do with it. It’s deliciously grown-up, easily celebratory enough for new year’s eve, and easy enough to keep pouring well into the small hours.

french 75
Recipe from circle of misse. If you don’t have any simple syrup, there’s no need to buy a teeny bottle from the shop. Just put equal quantities of sugar and water in a saucepan and heat til the sugar’s dissolved, and boom: simple syrup. It keeps pretty indefinitely, too.

2/3 oz gin
2/3 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Champagne or another sparkling wine

Put the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a champagne flute and stir. Top up with champagne.


sherlock & watson

sherlock & watson

It’s not snowing here, but it’s been increasingly dark and drizzly, and it’s starting to feel like this Sunday’s solstice has been far too long coming. Luckily, this is at its best drunk huddled under a pile of blankets. A fire would be a good addition, or if you have a wood-panelled library you should go and sit in that.

Recipe after the jump. Continue reading

minty orange gimlet

minty orange gimlet

This is one of those cocktails that it’s best to feed a crowd. You’ll need to make a flavoured simple syrup which will make six drinks, and if your usual drinking partner switches to beers after one cocktail, too, you might find that this is too many drinks. Especially if you have work in the morning.

It’s worth it, though. I think it’s perfect for when you get home from a wintry afternoon walk, the kind where you wear your hat pulled right down over your ears and your breath makes little clouds in the air.

minty orange gimlet
Recipe entered into Food52’s your best cocktail contest. I didn’t use a cocktail shaker, and I didn’t miss it, so I’ve given my lazier method below.

For the simple syrup (enough for 6 cocktails)

1/2 cup (or mug) caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup (or mug) water

Put everything in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool for 2 hours. Strain the liquid and set aside.

For each cocktail

1/4 orange, sliced
Mint leaves
3/4 fl.oz orange simple syrup (see recipe above)
1 1/2 fl.oz gin
1/2 fl.oz lime juice
Soda water

Muddle the orange slices and mint in the bottom of a short glass. Top up with ice, then add the syrup, gin and lime juice and stir. Top up with soda water.

Leftover syrup can be stored in the fridge for weeks.

negroni sbagliato


This is a lovely cocktail, like a negroni (no surprise there, I suppose), but lighter in both taste and alcohol content. This is handy, as I quite often fancy a negroni at times when it’s not really appropriate to be drinking something that doesn’t include a mixer.

Here, the usual gin is replaced by prosecco, so it’s still probably not a lunchtime drink, but never mind – replace the prosecco with soda water and you’ve got an americano. Or, you know, there’s always lemonade.

negroni sbagliato
Recipe from Polpo, my new favourite cookbook for all things served on bits of bread.

I prefer the drink with just the one ice cube, in a coupe glass (the ones that look like a martini glass but with handily curved sides so you don’t spill your drink all over your shoes on the way back from the bar). Do you have a different way? Let me know how you make it!

For one:
5ml sweet vermouth
5ml campari
5ml prosecco (or white wine)
Slice of orange

Fill a tall glass with ice, and pour over the vermouth and campari. Top up with the prosecco, add the slice of orange and stir once.

nectarine mojito

nectarine mojito

This is very drinkable. Just a warning there. Imagine a mojito, with nectarines in.

You’ll be wanting the recipe now, I presume?

nectarine mojito
Recipe from eat the right stuff. I used The Kraken black spiced rum, which is my favourite, but I think this would work with any dark rum.

1/2 a ripe nectarine
6 mint leaves
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 shots rum
Soda water

Cut one thin slice of the nectarine to use as a garnish and chop the rest. Muddle the fruit, mint leaves and sugar in the bottom of a glass until the nectarine collapses to a pulp. Add the rum and ice. Stir, and top with soda water. Garnish with the nectarine slice you saved earlier and a sprig of mint.

italian greyhound

italian greyhound

Friday night is cocktail night. At least, in our house it is, and so it should be in your house too: nothing says “hello, weekend!” better than hard liquor at 5.30pm.

This one is particularly appropriate for what’s really still daytime, as it’s mostly fruit juice. Yes, there’s gin in there too, but the addition of pink grapefruit juice makes it much more acceptable to be sipping before you’ve got around to taking your work shoes off. The tiny dash of Campari brings out the bitterness of the grapefruit without overwhelming the flavour, and makes the drink a lovely pink colour. It also allows me to imagine that I’m a proper grown up, possibly one on the terrace of a pavement cafe somewhere in Paris. This is, I think, the main reason that I like Campari.

italian greyhound
Recipe from volume 6 of Canal House Cooking. You can use normal grapefruit juice for this if you like your drinks a little sharper.

1oz gin
2oz pink grapefruit juice
dash Campari

Fill a tumbler with ice, and pour in the rest of the ingredients. Stir gently.