Those of you that know me will be aware that I love to mix a good cocktail. Somewhere along the way I got the “front of house” job in the world of house parties and dinners. It usually comes along with the ‘take the bins out’ role. With this comes the responsibility of making sure everyone has a glass of whatever it is you have to offer. I think there’s a bit of an art to getting a drink right and that we should take as much care over them as we do with the food that follows. There is no excuse for a badly made drink in a bar or restaurant, to get on my high horse, I ALWAYS want ice in my vodka and tonic and some citrus too please.
For the last 5 or so years every Christmas day we have a Christmas cocktail. We have it after the opening of presents and before lunch. My mum will weakly protest for half a minute with worries about over seasoning the stuffing and getting timings right, my dad will essentially have a taste of whatever is going but manages to nurse it into the watery, iceless drink that I complained about above….
I digress, my love of good drinks and my growing list of Christmas cocktails has inspired me to put together a list of drinks that you can count on and impress your friends with. Some will be simple – apparently a mix of 2 or more constituents makes a cocktail and some more involved.
The first on the list is the 23 Skiddoo. It’s a special occasion drink, it hails from the bar at 11 Madison Park in New York. It seems to be marketed as winter drink but it’s got lots of fresh flavours – elderflower, thyme, lemon juice, so I reckon it’s a good summer drinker too. The fizz doesn’t have to be champagne, try a not too dry cava or prosecco. I think it’s great, the elderflower liqueur is worth the initial outlay because it tastes delicious and you’ll soon start adding it to everything.
Give it a go, bubbles are always a good way to get a party started.
For the thyme syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves (or fresh normal thyme leaves)
For one 23 Skiddoo
- 1 ounce gin (whatever you’ve got, though something floral like Bloom may be good in this if you’ve got a cabinet full of different gins)
- 1/2 ounce Elderflower Liqueur ( I used St Germain- you can get it at the supermarket or on Amazon)
- 1/4 ounce thyme syrup
- 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3 ounces chilled sparkling wine
1. Make the thyme syrup in advance: put the water and sugar into a small pan and bring it to the boil, stir it until the sugar dissolves, take it off the heat, let it cool a little and then add the thyme leaves and let the whole thing cool completely. You can keep it in the fridge.
2. To a mixing glass add ice, the gin, thyme syrup, lemon juice and elderflower liqueur. Stir it until it’s cold, strain into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. We garnished ours with a sprig of thyme which essentially gets up your nose or pokes you in the eye…