Happiness is… Christmas Day morning, surrounded by my family. All of us in cosy PJ’s, trying to help my mum (but inevitably getting in the way) in the kitchen, snacking on sausage rolls and enjoying a few glasses of fizz.
It’s one day of the year where it’s more than ok to be tipsy whilst still wearing your pyjamas. I’d happily drink Champagne all day at Christmas, but every year I’m on cocktail duty, so like to mix it up with something fresh and fruity. I make some version of this clementine gin fizz every year because it goes down a storm. It’s so fresh and Christmassy at the same time, and instantly peps you up for the day.
Sherry Clementine Gin Fizz
I love a gin fizz anytime of the year so I’ve used that as a starting point and created a super festive version. The dry sherry and freshly squeezed clementines combined with the gin and sparkling wine really make this Christmas in a glass.
1 measure = 25mls
2 measures freshly squeezed clementine juice (or use shop bought if you are short on time)
1 measure dry Fino sherry
1 measure gin
Sparkling wine (I use Cava) or soda water (if you like it less boozy)
A strip of clementine peel (garnish)
A sprig of rosemary or thyme
Pour the clementine juice, sherry and gin into a glass, add a handful of ice and top up with sparkling wine or soda water. Garnish with the clementine peel and a sprig of rosemary or thyme.
Simple Mulled Wine
Fun fact for you – mulled wine was invented by the Romans who heated wine to defend their bodies against winter illnesses. In other words, wine is good for you and there is historical evidence to back this up. I’m sold.
I find the mulled wine at Christmas markets is often too sweet and sticky, meaning that the taste of the mulling spices is lost. I made my own batch for Christmas Eve last year and by adding fruit juice, a dash of sweet sherry as well as the traditional spices, it made a less sweet, easy to drink, warming wine which is perfect for getting everyone in the festive spirit. I add a slug of amaretto, brandy or rum if I’m in the mood for something a bit stronger.
1 bottle of red wine (Shiraz or Merlot tend to work well)
500ml fruit juice (apple, cranberry or orange or a mixture)
50ml sherry (a sweet cream sherry or Pedro Ximénez is best)
1 orange or clementine
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
4 or 5 cloves
2 or 3 star anise
1 tablespoon caster sugar (or to taste)
Slice the orange and stud the slices with cloves. Add all of the other ingredients to the pan and gently warm through, taking care to not let it boil. Just before it comes to the boil, take off the heat and cover. Leave it for 5 mins for the flavours to mingle then ladle into mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks if you are feeling fancy.