By Ananya Mukherjee
We are in the last fortnight of the year and it’s time to hit the party circuit. Hard drinks are passé, the swish set, the fashionable and the who’s who are downing colourful cocktails. Whatever your poison, you can find a delectable cocktail crafted with it. This season, give these top drinks a go.
Must-try for blokes who can’t drink anything but whiskey:
1) Whiskey sour
This cool cocktail is made with whiskey or bourbon, shaken with ice, fresh lemon juice, simple sugar syrup and served into a rocks glass with more ice. For those who don’t mind the taste of raw egg, mix an egg-white into the shaker (minus ice) and you will get a richer, creamier, whiskey sour (also called Boston sour). Either way, drop a cherry or two to add colour and flavor to your cocktail.
You get this by combining bourbon with sweet vermouth (fortified wine), a dash of bitters (an alcoholic preparation that adds bittersweet/sour flavours) and some cherries. If you can’t get bitters, take a twist of lime and orange, flame over the drink and then drop it in the drink for a slight bitter, zippy flavor.
3) Old Fashioned
True to its name, this cocktail has been around for over a century and the winter version of it, will warm the cockles of your heart. Spices like cardamom, anise and cinnamon are simmered with sugar and water. This syrup is cooled and mixed with bourbon and ice, and shaken hard.
4) Bourbon a la Crème
This mouth watering cocktail is a super combination of bourbon whiskey, dark Crème De Cacao
poured over vanilla beans in a mixing glass with ice cubes. Strained, chilled, stirred and served in a white wine glass.
For Vodka lovers:
Don’t go by the name, there is nothing complicated about it. A drink for all seasons, it is one of the simplest cocktails to make. Screwdriver is what you get when you add vodka to a highball glass filled with ice, topped up with orange juice. While serving Screwdriver, use the finest vodka and freshly squeezed juice instead of canned OJ. Garnish with a slice of orange or a sprig of mint.
Another easy one, Cosmo is made by adding equal parts vodka and cranberry juice, a spoonful of lime juice and shaken with ice. Served in a martini glass with half an orange slice, it is a pretty drink to look at and sip. To add a little orange essence, take an orange peel, flame it for a second or two and let the oil drop into the drink before serving.
7) Absolut Bloody Mary
An absolut-ely spicy cocktail, this version of Bloody Mary has a good amount of Absolut vodka with generous dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, added to an iced glass filled with tomato juice. Salt and pepper are sprinkled and garnished with olives.
As exciting as its name, Intercourse is done by mixing Absolut vodka and fresh orange juice in a cocktail glass, stirred and topped up with equal parts (Hawaiian or any other) fruit punch and Mountain Dew (or any citrus soda).
Mixed Drink Cocktails:
For a little heavier stuff, go for a combination of wine, rum and orange juice that constitutes the classic Sangria. The flavours of lime, lemon, orange, wine and rum mixed together, give you a nice, warm high. You can cut down on sweetener to make it a healthier drink. While serving Sangria at home, add freshly chopped pieces of apples and pears. These will soak up the rum and fill your guests’ up with warm goodness. Remember to use wide-rimmed wine glasses that can hold the fruit with the drink.
10) Mulled Wine
Perfect for winter, mulled wine is a traditional Christmas drink. Simply put, this is red wine warmed up with spices. Port, claret or a mix of both is heated in a pan with castor sugar, spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and fruits like oranges or lemons. Add a dash of brandy to turn up the heat and garnish with star anise to enhance its looks.
11) The Irish Royale
A royal drink this, it is made by placing a cube of sugar in a champagne flute, adding a few generous dashes of bitters, pouring Irish whiskey over it, and then dousing everything with chilled champagne. Replace Irish whiskey with Scotch whiskey to get a Scotch Royale.
12) Aunt Roberta
Not for the faint hearted, it is one of the strongest cocktails known, that is all alcohol and no mixers. Absinthe, Gin, Vodka, Brandy and Blackberry liqueur are mixed up in equal parts to ensure Aunt Roberta gives you a lasting high.
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