Seasonal Sipping

The Christmas season is a time for feasting. Turkey dinners with roasted spuds, Cayman Christmas beef, minced pies as an afternoon treat, delectable passed appies at drinks events and, of course, the drinks themselves. What’s Hot sourced some thirst-quenching recipes for delightful Christmas cocktails, sure to wow your guests at your next holiday event.

Mulled wine

The U.S. may have eggnog, and Cayman prefers spiced sorrel, but the U.K. also has its own offering for Christmas drinks in the form of mulled wine.

Simple to make, this recipe comes from Mary Berry – most recently of “Great British Bake Off” fame – as featured in her BBC installments of “Mary Berry’s Absolute Christmas Favourites” recipes.

Serves: 12

  • 1 large orange
  • 3 lemons
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 satsumas or clementines
  • 2 x 750ml bottles red wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 150g/5½ ounces caster sugar (optional)
  • brandy, to taste (optional)
  1. Carefully peel the zest very thinly from the orange and lemons using a vegetable peeler. Squeeze out the juice and set aside.
  2. Stick the cloves into the satsumas.
  3. Pour the wine, 1.2 liters/2 pints of cold water, and the citrus peel and juices into a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the clove-studded satsumas and cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture just to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, cover the pan with the lid, and continue to simmer for about 1 hour. Stir in the sugar gradually during cooking, until the mulled wine is sweetened to your liking.
  4. Strain the mulled wine and serve hot in cups.

Candy Cane Cocktail

After 10 of them many may be tired of sucking on candy canes. But what if you could have them in liquid form? This easy recipe from Charles Corpion from The Four Seasons, via “The Martha Stewart Show,” delivers quite the sugar rush.

Serves: 1

  • 1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish
  • 2 ounces strawberry vodka
  • 4 dashes white creme de menthe
  • 2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
  • Ice cubes
  1. Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice. Shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass and serve immediately.

Christmas Alexander

Jamie Oliver calls this recipe, by Giuseppe Gallo, “A wickedly creamy brandy cocktail.” Original Alexanders were gin-based, but brandy versions now prove more popular, and this Christmas version takes the cake.

Serves: 1

  • 1.35 ounces cognac
  • 1 ounce Crème de cacao white
  • 1/2 ounce almond milk
  • 1/2 ounce double cream
To garnish
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp peeled pistachios

Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into a stemmed cocktail glass.
Grate over a pistachio, then garnish with the whole nuts and star anise.

Make it a Mocktail

Christmas doesn’t always have to be boozy, in fact it might be refreshing to wake up on Christmas morning bright eyed and bushy tailed. For times when alcohol is not called for, try this delicious non-alcoholic option.

Peppermint hot chocolate

BBC Good Food is always a great source of food and drink recipes, and it doesn’t disappoint with this hot chocolate recipe, perfect for enjoying while the Christmas breezes are around.

Serves: 6

  • 200g bar plain chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 20 ounces milk
  • 5-ounce pot single or double cream
  • sugar, to taste
  • Six peppermint candy canes, to serve
  1. Put the chocolate in a pan with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Continue heating until the milk is steaming, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
  2. Divide the hot chocolate between six mugs, add sugar to taste and hang a candy cane on the edge of each. Pass the mugs round and let everyone stir their hot chocolate with their candy cane – letting as much of the sweet peppermint dissolve as they fancy.