Cocktail Hour: Italian 75
I hope everyone had a fantastic day yesterday, and that you’re having a nice lazy day today, full of food, enjoying presents and filling up on leftovers. There is nothing I like better at this time of year than leftover turkey, stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce sandwiches. While this ‘dead’ week between Christmas and New Year is usually a time to veg out, relax and enjoy spending time with your friends and family (and in my case, write another 5,000 words worth of essays!) we do still need to start thinking about New Year celebrations. This year I’m planning a quiet New Year Eve at home, but on New Years Day my Mother and I are cooking for my Dad’s side of the family, and I’ve had an awful lot of fun planning the menu.
Today while we’re all still basking in the post Christmas Day haze I thought I’d share with you a cocktail I created a few months ago and I think will be absolutly perfect to enjoy while you’re ringing in the New Year, and a discount code if any of you wanted to get 25% off of sidebar advertising on Rachel Phipps up until midnight on December 31st. Just enter the promo code LETITSNOW at the checkout.
An Italian 75 is what cocktail you end up making when you were planning on making a classic French 75 (gin, champagne, lemon juice and simple sugar syrup), and you discover that you don’t have any lemons in the house, including scrags of half lemons lurking in the bottom of the fridge. After failing to find any kind of citrus around one weekend, but still intent on mixing up some Saturday night cocktails with the bottle of Martin Miller’s Gin the Martin Miller’s team were kind enough to send over to me, I spied a bottle of my favourite liquor, Limoncello in the drinks cupboard. I thought to myself that Limoncello is basically lemon and sugar, right? So why could I not substitute it for the lemon and sugar syrup? The resulting, delicious cocktail with three very clear flavour notes I named an Italian 75, because of the provence of the lovely lemon liquor.
I never really used to be a gin drinker, disliking the stuff unless a load of sloes and a bucket full of sugar had been seeped in it for at least a couple of months. (Sloe Gin is my favourite drink!) However, over the Summer I spent an afternoon with the Harvey Nichols food team tasting all the different gins that they were going to be selling in store this Christmas. At first I thought it would be rude not try the gin, but once I started tasting lots of different ones, and learning about the processes and the subtly of flavours behind it I discovered that I do actually rather like gin. I absolutely can’t stand tonic water, but gin and lemonade has become my evening go to when I’m out with friends for a relaxed drink. As of yet, though, I can’t really say that I have a favourite gin, because I have not really tried enough of them, but I can tell you that I really, really like Martin Millers. A taste that I once disliked, trying a sip of Martin Millers neat I find delicious, so this might become a go to of mine for both gifts (the bottle is lovely) and to keep on the drinks table that I’ve been steadily been building in the corner of my parents dining room (once it has been properly stocked, I’ll be sure to share some pictures of it with you!) You can find a bottle in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
- 1/2 oz Limoncello
- 1/2 oz Martin Millers Gin
- Brut Champagne or Sparkling Wine
The cocktail itself is really simple, just add the gin and limoncello to the bottom of each champagne flute (the measurements above are for one cocktail) and top up to the top with champagne. I know that to make this a truly Italian drink Prosecco might have been the better option, but Gin is in no way Italian, and Prosecco would be too sweet, and it is Christmas, so I hope you’ll let me get away with my naming of this drink this time! As for what I suggest you serve these with, I know we so far are having Hot Oriental Duck Spring Rolls with a Hoisin Sauce dip, but I have not really thought that far into the future yet! However, you could make my Honey Mustard Cocktail Sausages, my Breaded Prawns with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce, you could make miniature versions of my Smoked Salmon Potato Latkes (which are also a fantastic New Years Day brunch option), or miniature versions of my Chocolate Mousse in shot glasses. You could also check out the round up post of canapé ideas I did last year.
What are your plans for the New Years? Heading out to party, having a quiet one, or are you hosting a gathering for family or friends? I also hope Santa bought you everything you wanted; I have gained 6 new cookbooks, including both volumes of Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries!