If you are looking for a reason to drink, the pandemic is an excellent one. As we desperately tried to eke out one last restaurant meal on Plague Island, even my usually abstemious American friends took to drinking at lunch. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Most of us are now confined to barracks for the next week or so pretending to not work from home. There really is even more reason to drink. Martini Mandate is pleased to present you with a few bacchanalian choices to get you through Christmas Day.
Start the day as you mean to go on with a Breakfast Martini. This is a fine concoction of gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and…marmalade. Those fine sweetened Seville oranges taste as good in a glass as they do on toast!
2 oz gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
a generous teaspoon of marmalade
Shake all the ingredients vigorously over ice and strain into a martini glass
Somewhere towards the middle of the day there is the inevitable need for a pick me up and an Espresso Martini does the trick admirably. Freshly made espresso is the trick to a good Espresso Martini. A wee pinch of salt in the shaker “lifts” the flavour of the finished product.
1 1/2 oz vodka
1 oz Kahlua
1 oz freshly made and hot espresso coffee
Shake over ice with a tiny pinch of salt. Serve in a martini glass. A spritz of lemon oil (squeeze the skin of a lemon shiny side down over the surface) and a few coffee beans floating on top add the final touches to this remarkable pick me up.
Unwrapping presents is the time for joy and celebration (assuming Jeff Bezos has delivered his presents on time). There is nothing quite like a champagne cocktail that says “celebration”! The sugar cube at the bottom of the champagne flute add urgency to the gently rising champagne bubbles, while the cognac turns the drink a golden hue. I like to float a few edible gold flakes on the surface of this drink for a touch of indulgence.
1 white sugar cube
Edible gold flakes
Soak a sugar cube in the bitters (Angostura stains easily so use a paper towel under your sugar cube) and top it into a champagne flute. Pour just enough cognac to barely cover the sugar cube. Top up with champagne. Sprinkle gold flakes on the surface and sit back and watch the family open their presents.
Whet your appetite before dinner with a suitable grown up cocktail packing depth, sophistication and punch. You’ll need it go get through this next part of the day. I love mixing up a proper Sazerac with all its memories of New Orleans and generally louche behaviour. The dash of absinthe just makes the whole thing properly decadent.
1 oz cognac
1 oz bourbon
1 oz rye whisky
1/3 oz sugar syrup (adjust to taste)
a dash of Absinthe plus a couple dashes of Angostura and Peychauds bitters
Rinse a martini glass in Absinthe. Pour off the excess. Stir the rest of the ingredients over ice, and strain into the glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
And there my friends you have it. After dinner I usually switch to a digestif to settle the stomach – I am partial to an Amaro these days, usually with something Cuban to accompany it.
Merry Christmas! May we have many more reasons for celebration in the year to come!