Christmas is coming so naturally our thoughts at Fig1 are turning to the party season ahead. We get really busy at this time of year, but Christmas has always been the high point of the calendar in my family and I fully intend not to miss out, which means getting organised early.
When we were growing up my family owned busy restaurant businesses, but Mum would always insist on closing Christmas Day. Despite the heavy workload she never lost her enthusiasm for Christmas and all my 3 siblings have inherited the Christmas bug. Presents in our family are carefully chosen and beautifully presented, given with love and often homemade. Everyone takes part in preparing the Christmas meal – we have also all inherited a passion for good food from Mum – and this year I am officially putting myself in charge of cocktails.
I wanted a little bit of winter sun for Christmas day, so have made up an Orange and Rosemary syrup recipe to use as the basis for 2 different cocktails. It also has the advantage that rosemary sprigs used as decoration, plus a couple of frozen raspberries in the champagne version, make them look very festive too.
Zest of 2 oranges
1 pint Orange Juice
1/2 pint sugar
I remove the zest from the oranges in strips using a peeler for ease. You can use the juice of the oranges as part of the pint of orange juice, or eat them and use it all from a carton, but I usually use a good quality fresh orange juice.
Put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minute and then allow to cool. If you have time leave overnight, covered, in the pan to infuse the rosemary flavour further. Strain.
The syrup will keep for a couple of weeks in a clean jar in the fridge.
Below are two recipes that use the syrup. You can also drizzle it over vanilla ice cream, add fizzy water for a non-alcoholic festive drink or … think of something else entirely. It’s Yummy!
Prepare your glasses and decoration first. I put half and half fine sea salt and caster sugar mixed on a saucer so there is a fine covering. For each cocktail I choose a sprig of rosemary long enough to stick out of the top of the glass you are using, in my case these funky martini glasses by Sagaform. I use a wedge of lime to rub a little juice round the rim of the glass and on the end of the rosemary sprigs. I then dip the glass in the salt / sugar mix and do the same with the end of the rosemary twig, making it look like a snowed-on Christmas tree.
Mix in a cocktail shaker with ice, per person:
1 shot / 25ml syrup
1 shot tequila
1 shot lime juice
1 shot triple sec
Serve in the glass over crushed ice
Champagne, Orange and Rosemary Cocktail
Prepare the rosemary twig as above. I also like to add 2 or three frozen raspberries to the cocktail at the end as the red and green give it a really Christmasy look. Use a champagne flute.
In the base of your glass tip 1 measure (25ml) or syrup and 1 measure brandy. Top up with a dry Champagne, Cava or Proseco. Give it a stir, gently or it will loose all its lovely fizz. Decorate the glass and serve.