7 Luxury Winter Cocktail and Food Pairings ...

Looking for some desirable cocktail and food pairings? Guest contributor Robin Sherwood shares some fabulous ideas that you'll love for sure.

1. Mexican Mary and Eggs

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With its thick tomato base, Bloody Mary is the cocktail for celebratory pre-noon gatherings โ€“ however, try this little twist on tradition. Tomato juice pairs well with eggs, so we say - make it brunch. And why not go Mexican with something adventurous like huevos rancheros? This classic dish of fried eggs on corn tortillas is topped with chilli sauce and served with sliced avocado.

How to make it:

45ml Ketel One Citroen
75ml tomato juice
2 pinches salt
2 pinches pepper
2 dashes hot sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 squeeze lemon (optional)
Green chilli or fresh coriander to garnish
Mix all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain over ice in a highball glass and garnish with a green chilli pepper or fresh coriander twist.

2. Eggnog and Appetizers

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This creamy โ€˜egg-in-a-cupโ€™ drink was practically de rigeur at Christmas parties in the 1970โ€™s. Now itโ€™s back on the menu. You can make eggnog with most types of alcohol, but we recommend the smooth and rich Zacapa 23 rum for its mix of sweetness and spiciness. Try serving this with toasted nuts and warm home-made cheese straws.

How to make it:

700ml bottle Zacapa 23
12 eggs, separated
1,5L Milk
500ml thickened cream
1,5 Cups Sugar
2tsp ground nutmeg
Beat the egg yolks and sugar for 10 minutes until the mixture is firm and the colour of butter. Slowly add the rum, a little at a time. Cool the mixture in fridge for six hours. Half-an-hour before your guests arrive, stir the milk and nutmeg into the chilled yolk mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed to form stiff peaks. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture and then fold in the cream. Ladle into cups and garnish with nutmeg.

3. Scandinavian Spice and Sausages

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You will never view mulled wine in the same way again after trying this recipe using vodka. We recommend the five-times distilled Ciroc Vodka - an innovative French spirit made entirely from grapes. Serve with crusty rolls, hot sausage and fried onions.

How to make:

100ml Cรฎroc vodka
1 bottle red table wine
15 cloves
5 cardamom seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
2 pieces fresh ginger
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
Crush the cardamom and add to a glass jar containing the vodka, along with the lemon peel and cinnamon. Leave overnight, then add wine and sugar to a saucepan, but donโ€™t boil. Add more sugar to taste.

4. Grand Spice Coffee and Chocolates

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Perfect for entertaining mothers, aunts or, in fact, any adult family member! Festive coffee mornings will never be the same again with this classic combination of strong coffee with orange notes of Grand Marnier heightened by the delectable sweet taste of cinnamon. Select some delicious orange truffles to accompany this treat.

How to make it:
22,5ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
1 shot of espresso
Whipped cream
Cinnamon powder
Ginger powder

Combine the coffee, Grand Marnier and cinnamon in a cocktail glass. Top with a thin layer of whipped cream and sprinkle with powdered ginger.

5. Rangpur Rickey and Cucumber Sandwiches

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The Gin Rickeys have graced popular culture since the 1890s and achieved literary status in the 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald weaved them into the scene in which Daisy first declares her love to Gatsby. A&Jโ€™s modern version uses our favourite lime-infused gin, Tanqueray Rangpur, and like Daisy - we are quite smitten! We think anglicising the whole affair with a serving of cucumber sandwiches works well for an afternoon gathering.

How to make:

35ml Tanqueray Rangpur
22,5ml Freshly Pressed Lime Juice
15ml simple syrup
A splash of soda water
1 lime wedge

Pour the gin, lime juice and syrup into a highball glass with ice. Stir. Top with soda water and garnish with a wedge of lime.

6. Retro Old-fashioned with Finger Foods

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Vintage cocktails of the 1950s and โ€˜60s usually contained only three ingredients. Call it a simpler time, or just a tribute to taste. This pairing would work for a Mad Men style drinks party, with snacks that nod to bygone days. Try serving pigs-in-blanket, fondue with cruditรฉs and dressed oysters. This recipe reinvents the past with the unexpected combination of Don Julio tequila, Grand Marnier and bitters.

How to make:

50 ml Don Julio Reposado
5 ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
3 dashes Peyshuad bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Measure all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a tumbler.

7. Hot Toddy Spice with Jacket Potatoes and Haggis

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The ultimate winter treat! Perfect for heating up cold evenings and keeping sniffles at bay with its healing boost of vitamin C and warming whiskey. This robust combination is ideal for entertaining a friend or two in smaller social situations. Experiment with measurements to get the perfect mix. Still unfamiliar to many cooks, a hearty haggis dish makes a delicious feast, with buttered jacket potatoes on the side.

How to make:

30ml Bushmills 10 year old Irish whiskey
50ml just-off-the-boil water
Lemon juice to taste
Honey or brown sugar to taste
5 cloves
A stick of cinnamon

Boil the water in a saucepan with the cloves and cinnamon and stir in the honey. Pour the whiskey into a heatproof glass or mug and add the water mixture. Stir and serve.

With these classic winter cocktails, you'll never fail to entertain and impress even the frostiest of festive visitors!

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