Many of us became pretty adept at making our own homemade cocktails during lockdown, but there are certain ways to elevate your tipple and all you need are three different spirits.
Santa started the Christmas trend of list-making, but it’s one we’ve brought with us well into adulthood too. As youngsters, we filled ours with Argos catalogue codes and declarations of our innate goodness (“Please may I have a Nintendo DS and Nintendogs game, a brand-new bike with a basket and seven little surprises too. I’ve been so well-behaved this year”… you get the idea).
Our festive lists are equally chaotic these days, just in a much more grown-up way. Now they comprise everything from the myriad of tasks we need to complete before December 25, to our Christmas dinner grocery essentials and, of course, the last-minute gifts we have yet to pick up.
We’re making lists and we’re checking them two, three, and four times to make sure we don’t forget a thing. You’d think that things would have died down post-Christmas, but that’s exactly when the New Year’s conversations start happening and thus the list-making begins again.
Hoping to take at least one worry off your plate, Mark Commins, bar supervisor at Harvey’s Point in Donegal, has compiled a list of his own – this one detailing what spirits you should have in stock to make all those fancy cocktails you’ve promised you’ll whip up this New Year’s Eve.
“You don’t have to buy a large quantity of spirits for your home bar to serve the best selection of drinks. Shop smart and choose spirits and liquors that you can use in a variety of ways, this New Year’s and all the way through 2022.”
Here are Mark’s top three picks for creating memorable tipples this festive season.
A bottle of this French artisanal Elderflower Liquor can be a real game-changer for a lot of traditional drinks. Made with fresh, wild, and handpicked elderflower blossoms just add a drop to your chosen Champagne or Prosecco to elevate the bubbles with a variety of floral and sweet notes.
Muff Irish Potato Craft Gin
A quality bottle of gin is a bar cart must-have. Perfect for creating a delicious cocktail like a bramble or gin fizz, or in that refreshing after-dinner gin and tonic. My personal favourite is a local gin distilled in North Donegal called Muff Irish Potato Craft Gin. It’s also gluten-free and vegan-friendly. The botanicals used are orange, grapefruit and elderflower so if you are preparing a gin and tonic, a slice of orange and a sprig of rosemary works really well for an even more invigorating classic.
Drink it neat, with ice, or in a warm or cold cocktail – a bottle of good quality Irish whiskey is incredibly versatile. Warm up after a winter walk with a delicious Irish Coffee, or if you feel more adventurous try your hand at a cocktail. Personally, I love a whiskey sour, adding mulled wine to it for a festive Spiced Whiskey Sour this time of year. For all of these, I would recommend the award-winning Silkie Blended Whiskey from Sliabh Liag Distillery. It’s very smooth and has a lovely, gentle smoke and sweetness.
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