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I’ve probably told this story before, but since I moved back from California every year our family has had a traditional Christmas breakfast: buttermilk waffles, slightly crispy streaky bacon, lashings of maple syrup, and copious amounts of Bucks Fizz (what you call a Mimosa if you’re British!) Every year I try to tweak our breakfast to make it the best it can be. Last year, I finally nailed our waffles, and this year, I’ve decided we can do a little better than simply mixing a bottle of Innocent orange juice and a bottle of champagne: meet my fresh clementine twist on the classic French 75, made with a little less gin and a little more fruit juice and fizz, designed to be a little lighter especially to kick off the festivities on Christmas morning.
Another cocktail recipe, another bottle of gin to sit atop of my bar cart. J. J. Whitley, from Liverpool is a gin brand that is very new to me, but I’m a sucker for anything with a purple label (it has a slight perfume when you taste it straight of parma violets, which makes me very, very happy!), and falls into the category of a slightly citrusy (but not too much so) London Dry. It’s a good all rounder, so I’d say this is one to try if you’re after a new ‘everything’ gin, from G&T’s to cocktail mixers. They also sent me their Elderflower and Quince gins to try out too, so keep posted on those in an upcoming gin cocktail (or just tonic!) post coming soon!
While it may not be immediately obvious, you can squeeze clementines like oranges. Just cut them in half down the middle and juice as always. While it is a messy and time consuming job, do this yourself rather than sponging it off onto someone else: the only thing that smells as much as Christmas as the smell of freshly squeezed clementines is that smell when you lay underneath a really Christmas tree that you’ve just brought indoors and finished decorating, or a ‘Winter’ candle from The White Company.
This is also a good make ahead. If you mix the freshly squeezed clementine juice, sugar syrup and gin together the night before and keep it in the fridge, you’ll be ready to pour (you need about a generous 1/3 of a tumbler of juice mix per glass if you’re using this method) and top up with chilled champagne (use pretty glasses so you don’t need to bother with a garnish) while you’re making breakfast and putting in the turkey.
Make as many of these as you need, but I’ve included the measurements for just one below so you can work out your own measurements for your family and friends. While there is not a fresh juice I like as much as the freshly squeezed stuff here in the UK, if you live in California and you’d like a lower maintenance version of these, switch out each clementine for 100ml (7 tbsp) of fresh farmers market Tangelo juice.
This lighter, festive twist on a classic French 75 cocktail is perfect to serve with Christmas breakfast.
Juice of 3 Clementines
4 tbsp Gin
1/2 tsp Sugar Syrup
Chilled Champagne or dry sparkling wine
Squeeze the Clementines and combine the juice with the gin and the sugar syrup (you an make your own by combining equal parts sugar and water and heating, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar had dissolved, or buy a bottle here) in the bottom of a tumbler, and top up to the brim with chilled champagne.
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