Winter time often sees us abandoning all thought of cocktails in favour of port, sherry and red wine, but there are a wide range of cocktail choices that are perfectly suitable for winter (even some that are tailor-made for the colder weather!) so make sure you get creative and add some spice to your winter celebrations.
Here are six of our favourite winter cocktails.
No. 1 Firecracker
Here's a cocktail from the book Fire Water: South African Brandy published by Quivertree Publications that combines the fiery heat of peppadews with sweet apple juice and brandy.
Pinch of cinnamon
20ml sugar syrup
50ml apple juice
Muddle the peppadews with the cinnamon and sugar syrup in a shaker, then add the rest of the ingredients.
Shake and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a peppadew float.
No. 2 Original Irish coffee
This is one of the essentials for winter time. Here's how to prepare it so that you get the cream to balance perfectly on the top and so that the coffee is perfectly hot.
Remember that you'll need a glass that will be able to take the heat. Try a thicker (or more substantial) wine glass that you've run under the hot tap to ensure that the glass doesn't crack from pouring hot coffee into it.
Make sure you have all your ingredients read to go in front of you before you assemble it to ensure the coffee is perfectly hot when served.
1 cup freshly brewed filter coffee
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 jigger Irish whiskey (1 1/2 ounces or 3 tablespoons)
Either normal cream that's been gently whipped with a little vanilla sugar or double thick pouring cream
Fill the cup with hot water and empty in preparation for the hot coffee.
Pour the coffee into the warm glass until it is three quarters full.
Stir in the brown sugar until it is dissolved, then add the Irish whiskey.
Wait for the liquid to settle and then, using the back of a dry tablespoon placed at the edge of the glass, gently and slowly pour the cream on top. It should form a white layer above the coffee.
No. 3 Pineapple Bee Sting
When it's bitterly cold out there, it's time to sweeten things up and what better way to do this than with the honey-infused Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey muddled in the tropical taste of pineapple?
Luckily, pineapples are harvested twice a year in South Africa which means they're available all year round. They're also a great source of Vitamin C - ideal to ward off that nasty winter cold, whilst indulging in something a little naughty.
2 tots Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey
25mls Lemon Juice
3 Pineapple Wedges
10mls Simple Sugar Syrup
Place pineapple chunks into the base of a Boston shaker and crush with a muddler.
Add cubed ice to the shaker, pour in all liquid ingredients and shake vigorously.
Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with cubed ice.
Garnish with a pineapple wedge.
No. 4 Good old Gluhwein
This winter cocktail article wouldn’t be complete without this recipe. In fact, no one worth their weight in wine will let a winter pass them by without having a few glasses of this warming drink. Here's an adapted version of the recipe that we really love.
1 bottle red wine
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, quartered
1 vanilla pod
2 tots of brandy
Put the wine in a saucepan with the orange, sugar and the spices.
Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Don't let the wine boil!
Taste to see if you want the wine sweeter, and add more sugar to taste.
Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the brandy.
Strain into heatproof glasses and serve at once.
No. 5 As night falls
It gets dark so much earlier in winter - which might be seen as a drag to some, but if you enjoy a bit of a party, then it's just another reason to get started sooner. And what better way to do that than with this citrus and vodka cocktail with Grey Goose?
Shake up these ingredients and add a little spice to your night!
35ml Grey Goose vodka
15ml Orange Liquor
25ml Fresh grapefruit juice
2 coriander leaves
7 red peppercorns
Small piece of ginger
½ tsp white sugar
Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake hard.
No. 6 Decadent port hot chocolate
Nothing is better than a rich hot chocolate during a wintry cold snap, all the more if the hot cuppa has a little something that's utterly and completely indulgent: port.
Half cup full cream long life milk
Half cup evaporated milk
Milk chocolate buttons
30-50ml De Krans Tawny Port
1 Cinnamon stick
Heat together the milk and evaporated milk.
Add milk chocolate buttons while stirring.
Add Tawny Port to taste.
Stir with cinnamon stick to taste.