The bloody upper lip


I’ve been consumed by dark nights apathy, work and christmas planning so have neglected the blog a bit. Light boxes can be helpful in the short-term for people who suffer with similar winter gloom, perhaps go and talk to your doc about your options if you feel different at this time of year…

Anyway, no excuses, I very much doubt many people other than my family (who have all experienced these drinks first hand ) are reading anyway..!

The annual Christmas cocktail is one of my mostest favouritest bits of planning for the christmas period.  You’ve already been introduced to the 23 Skiddoo which I think is a pretty sophisticated, delicious fizz based cocktail.  This years is still under wraps, as they are kept every year, not that anyone cares about surprises except me..

This year will be a historic occasion, both families will join together and laugh, drink, eat and grump all in the same house (our house). I am filled with both excitement about the holiday and worry about my new ottoman (and red drinks). It’s a Chatterjee-Williams-Birch-Jones kinda year.

Ria will surreptitiously eat EVERY chocolate in the place, Kate will expertly coordinate the kitchen and effectively ‘run the pass’, Mamgu will drink Aberystwyths (read Aperitif) and I expect everyone will try to disrupt the cooking process considering the many culinary egos that will be present.

We’ll have mum’s famous stuffing, Nigella’s chestnuts, a turkey that’s been allowed to roam freely over whichever continent it desired after being flown first class, gravy that started it’s journey towards umami today (ie the 14th December) and everything else that befits a food filled christmas day.  James and his magic hands will make a chocolate cherry trifle which we will eat then enter a joy filled fugue and Uncle John will produce some fabulous things that will make our jaws drop, obviously I’ve asked him to keep it all a secret.

The year before last I went fizz-less and we had ‘the bloody upper lip’.  It’s a delicious mix of cranberries, rosemary and gin. How can you possibly go wrong  with a deep red delight for your pre-Christmas dinner cocktails.  Gin is a great cocktail base and great for winter when you bring out its spiciness, the Christmassy cranberries work brilliantly and the juniperry herbiness compliments the rosemary of the syrup.  I found the recipe on the Serious Eats website which I love and so can’t take ANY credit for its creativity.

What you need:

For the cranberry syrup

About 350 grams of fresh cranberries

Sugar 150g

1 sprig of rosemary

500mls water



A martini glass


Pop the sugar (use less if you like), cranberries, rosemary, and  water in a small saucepan and heat over a medium high heat. The cranberries start popping and releasing their ruby redness so a lid to the pan is required or your kitchen may end up looking like something that Dexter the splatter analyst needs to get involved with.

When the cranberries are popped- takes about 10 -15 minutes, uncover them and let them simmer and thicken up a bit for about 10 minutes more.

After this, strain them and keep both the solid bits and the rosemary infused cranberry syrup. Magic.

This syrup creation can be made well before needed and kept in the fridge, it needs to be cold anyway.

For 1 Cocktail

Shake up (in an ice filled cocktail shaker)

2 ounces (60mls) of gin

1 ounce (30mls) of cranberry syrup

1/2 ounce of the cranberry solids

Pour into your martini glass, drop in a pretty sprig of rosemary and Rudolph’s your red lipped reindeer!

I tried rimming my glasses with crushed up walnuts and sugar, it didn’t work out for me. The nuts just glumped into the drink or fell onto the floor.  You maybe more successful than me, in which case crush up a cup of toasted walnuts in a blender or pestle and mortar with a tablespoon of sugar to make the rim.  Dip the outside of the glass in water and then into the walnut trim, I’d advise you to try and keep it to the outside of the glass..

I (as usual) don’t have any pictures of that drink, but I do have post drink pics…




  1. Hi sweetheart, cant BLOODY WAIT,YUM YUM,( NOLA THEKAY JAL PORCHEY.) Are u working on 17th? if not pl come in the morning for SATYANARAYAN PUJA

    Take care,keep warm, love dad


  2. Rini we’re making up Nigella’s Lyceenis for the annual village bash this evening. Do you think this is “festive” enough for a Xmas “do?”

  3. Yes , cant wait to have a wonderful couple of festive days with my beautiful children and ofcourse my other favourite people . You take care my lovely . love always . mum

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