Off-Topic End of the Year: Christmas Cocktails!

For my last post before I break for Christmas, I thought just for fun I'd go right off topic with some cocktail recipes.

I like cocktails. Compared to most other drinks you can make great cocktails with cheap ingredients, if you want to develop your palate they're an excellent way to learn about the interplay of flavours (sweet and tart, creamy and sharp), they're impressive at parties and they make you feel classy right up to the minute you wake up with your head in a bin.

Sidenote: A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a glass fronted corner unit which made the perfect cocktail cabinet. It was at roughly the same time I was messing around with LED underlighting for my desk, so while I was at it I lit up the cabinet too. I cut up strips of the LEDs and soldered them together with wires which I passed through the divider between the top and bottom to make a complete circuit, and then simply hot-glued the LED strips to the edges.

Video here (apologies, it's vertical - in my defence I'd just spent a very long time grovelling on the floor forcing wires through holes and hot gluing myself to things and then had some celebratory martinis):

Sidenote to the sidenote: I'd forgotten I hadn't posted about that build yet, which means this post actually just accidentally went back on topic!

As I say, I like cocktails, and theme cocktails are particularly fun. These are three Christmas cocktails I've invented this year.

The "Christmas on a Stick"

I actually made this one in the summer. I'd just made some grenadine from scratch for the first time, which I'd highly recommend because the commercial stuff is generally awful (it's basically sugar syrup, citric acid and red dye number 5).

It's pretty simple to make the real thing at home, you just cook down some pomegranate juice with rosewater and orange flower water and a little sugar until it's a thickish syrup and bottle it up - with a couple of tablespoons of vodka added and shaken up occasionally it keeps in the fridge for months.

I brought a bottle of it to a party my friend was throwing in her art studio, and it definitely added an extra dimension to the cocktails, particularly this one which was very much a product of that late night "We've got some of this and some of this, what can we make out of them?" moment. The first person I handed one to had a sip and exclaimed "Cor, that's like Christmas on a stick!" and the name stuck.


Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange or lemon peel.

Chocolate Orange Shot

I wanted to create a couple of cocktails for a Christmas family movie session yesterday, and this idea had been knocking around in my head for a while. I actually wanted it to be a "magic" shot where either you added the hot Cointreau to cold chocolate and it melted or lit the Cointreau over the sauce to the same effect, but I haven't been able to quite make that version work yet.

It's pretty rich - frankly there's a fine line between it being a shot and a small glass of boozy chocolate sauce - and during R&D I drank six of them and felt quite ill. But I soldiered on FOR SCIENCE and ended up with something I think is a fun little shooter but haven't yet persuaded anyone else to actually drink.


Break up the chocolate into small pieces and put all in a heatproof container. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth and pour into a sherry glass. Down before it goes cold.

The Snow Queen

(There's at least a couple of Snow Queen cocktails out there already but they're just spirits and fruit juices; mine actually resembles snow :) ).

This one I also invented for our movie session. I like milky citrusy cocktails for some reason, partly because there's something a little paradoxical about them but also for the way the tang cuts through the richness. It's the same reason I like the very weird (and rather impractical - it usually separates before you can drink it) Down Under Dreamsicle.


Blend the milk, ice, lemon zest and Baileys for 20-30 seconds until you've got a smooth slushy-like consistency, then add the lemon juice and blend a few more seconds. It'll seem like the lemon juice would curdle the milk (it definitely would under normal circumstances) but the semi-frozen state seems to stabilise it, at least as long as this thing is likely to last - they're damn tasty.

Pour into a tall glass (a milkshake glass if you've got one) and garnish with whipped cream and snowflake sprinkles.

You could make it without the Baileys and with a little sugar for a kid-friendly version (Snow Princess?) but I don't know if they'd be bothered; it's actually quite a subtle, grown-up flavour with floral notes from the lemon zest.

Well, that's a wrap (Christmas puns!). I might do a post at New Year's if I'm feeling moved to say anything in particularly, but in all likelihood I'll be back on the 5th with a new post. Thank you again for reading, and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas or whatever you're celebrating, or just find time for some much-needed relaxation.

See you soon!

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