Getting into the spirit

Fiona McLaren demonstrates a muddler as she creates ''Santa's little helper''. PHOTOS: LINDA...
Fiona McLaren demonstrates a muddler as she creates ''Santa's little helper''. PHOTOS: LINDA ROBERTSON

Fiona McLaren, hospitality lecturer at the Food Design Institute at Otago Polytechnic has put together some Christmas cheer with the occassional sparkle.

How to

The aim of the different methods of making cocktails:

Shake and strain:  To mix and chill the beverage and serve cold without ice.

Muddle: To release the oils, aroma and flavours particularly of herbs and citrus fruit − it intensifies the flavours.

Blend: To create a frozen drink of even consistency, mixing the solid and the liquid ingredients together, especially if you are using fresh or frozen fruit pieces.

Tips for a good cocktail

• Always use lots of ice - cocktails and mocktails are not nice warm

• If creating a frozen drink, use the glass you are going to serve the drink in to measure the ice (fill and add to blender)

• Use ingredients you like (be adventurous, but start with a flavour base you enjoy)

• Don’t overcomplicate it - simple is often the best, too many flavours can clash or cancel each other out

• Don’t overload it - cocktails are meant to be blends of flavours that complement each other, not rocket fuel

• Make it fun - theme the names to suit the occasion (you can call them anything you want), be creative with glassware and garnish

• Glassware doesn’t have to be expensive, little treasures are available at op shops or recycle jars and bottles (just make sure bottle necks are wide enough to add ice!)

Must-have equipment

• Shaker/strainer (either a three piece shaker set or a Boston Shaker, glass and Hawthorne strainer)

• Muddler (I have seen people use the end of their rolling pins before)

• Blender (kitchen blenders crush and mix and the result is still fairly liquid, magic bullet style blenders tend to pulverize so a little extra liquid needs to be added to ingredients, even just a little water)

• Nip measure

• None of these items are particularly expensive and are readily available in homeware stores

Clockwise from top left: Rudolph (he's driving!), The grinch, The nut cracker, Mrs claus, Silent night, Santa's little helper.  PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Clockwise from top left: Rudolph, The grinch, The nut cracker, Mrs claus, Silent night, Santa's little helper. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON

The grinch

Frozen drink blended with ice
Margarita glass rimmed with sea salt

30ml midori
30ml tequila
15ml cointreau
15ml fresh lime juice

Mrs claus

Too busy to faff about. Very simple - build over ice.

30ml (to taste) chai syrup

Top with almond milk and sprinkle with cinnamon to serve (add a shot of bourbon if you dare).

The nut cracker

Shake and strain

30ml tia maria
30ml frangelico
45ml half and half (milk and cream)

Garnish with chocolate spinkles or dust with nutmeg.

Rudolph

(he's driving!)

Muddled and built over ice
Hurricane glass

6 fresh mint leaves
1 lime quartered
10-12 frozen raspberries

Muddle gently together to release flavours but not destroy the fruit.
Add ice to glass.
Pour in muddled fruits.
Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon and top with dry ginger ale.

Santa’s little helper

Muddled and built over ice
Tall glass

6 fresh basil leaves
3 strawberries halved
1 lime quartered

Muddle gently together to release flavours but not destroy the fruit.
Add ice to glass. Pour in muddled fruits.

30ml bacardi (white rum)
15ml cointreau

Top with soda water. Garnish with a dash of grenadine

Silent night

Shake and strain

15ml gin
30ml blue curacao
15ml grenadine
2 Tbsp silver cake balls

Strain into a cocktail glass or Champagne flute and top with lemonade (it’s purple and sparkly!).

Essential equipment and garnishes. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Essential equipment and garnishes. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON

 

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