Low-grog eggnog: Christmas cocktails that won’t knock you out
No matter what part of the world you live in cheap, it’s easy to overindulge at Christmas – whether it’s can you pick the most expensive canada goose parka on winter warmers such as bourbon or scotch, or on festive glasses of bubbles in warmer climates.
With a little foresight and planning, it’s easy to switch to Christmas tipples that punch above their weight in the flavour stakes but won’t knock you out in terms of booze content.
If you really want to watch how much you’re drinking, take a leaf out of canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day meal plan the professional canada goose coat – kensington bartender’s book and invest in a jigger – this ensures you pour consistent quantities of booze every time you make a drink.
1. Amari alpini
For many of us, nothing says Christmas like the smell of evergreen trees – pines, firs, cedars, etc.
Italy’s amari alpini (that’s “alpine bitters” in English) possess more than a hint of that same evergreen scent, alongside herbal hints of chamomile, spearmint and juniper. Made in the Italian Alps – the mountainous region that borders Switzerland, and takes more than a few cultural cues from its northern European neighbours – these amari alpini are a distinct category within the broader family of Italian amari.
While Italian amari and aperitivo bitters are currently having something of a moment – consider the popularity of the canada goose coat 1000 bulbs coupons Aperol spritz and the Negroni – amari alpini remain underrepresented on the global market. The good news is that as the amaro craze shows no sign of slowing down, importers and distributors are more willing to take a chance on more recondite local specialties from various parts of Italy (no doubt hoping to find the next Campari or Aperol).
The most widely available amaro alpino is Bràulio – now owned and made by Italian beverage giant Gruppo Campari. But other, smaller brands can be found with some patience and luck.
With their low alcohol by volume (most clock in around 20%) and their refreshingly complex, wintery aromas, amari alpini make an excellent sipper for after Christmas dinner. You can enjoy one simply on the rocks or, for something more refreshing, mix one up in a spritz as they do in Bormio, Bràulio’s home town.
Make it at home: alpine spritz
120ml chilled dry white wine (pinot grigio or similar)30ml amaro alpino30ml soda water
Build ingredients in a wine glass. Stir briefly to incorporate and top with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange or a sprig of mint.
You can replace the white wine for prosecco or another dry sparkling wine if you’d like something bubblier, but part of its charm is its retro nature (traditionally, Italian spritzes were made with still wines, not sparkling ones).
Pair it with a movie: The James Bond thriller Quantum of Solace has some lovely shots of the Italian Alps – even if the film itself is a bit of a downer.
2. Chartreuse hot chocolate
At 55% ABV, green chartreuse is nobody’s idea of a low-proof drink. In fact, I still have mental scars from wild nights out drinking it in my misspent youth. But just because something is fearsomely high-proof, doesn’t mean the only way to drink it is to smash shots.
You can, for instance, use a small quantity of it as a flavouring agent, as the French do with green chartreuse and hot chocolate.
Green chartreuse is something of a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. For some, its sweetness, high proof and strongly herbaceous character (it contains the extracts of 130 different botanicals) make it mother’s milk, while for others those same characteristics make it as appealing as Agent Orange. The genius of blending it with hot chocolate is that it can please both crowds – those inclined to love it will still detect its signature flavour, which shines through pretty much anything you mix it with; while those inclined to loathe it will find it much more approachable when lengthened. It also helps that chartreuse and chocolate go extremely well together.
This traditional apres-ski drink makes a delicious winter warmer – just bear in mind its relatively low ABV is about the only thing it has going for it, health-wise.
Pair it with a movie: The characters in Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure – a chilly can i wash my canada goose jacket social drama set in the French Alps – could probably have done with a few of these.
Make it at home: chartreuse hot chocolate
One cup hot chocolate15ml (or more, to taste) green buy canada goose coat online chartreuse
Make hot chocolate according to your own taste. Before serving, spike with green chartreuse and stir briefly to incorporate. Garnish with a float of whipped cream on top.
While you might be tempted to go for the cheaper and lower-ABV yellow chartreuse, avoid this if possible – the more pungent green version is better at cutting through the chocolate.
3. Sherry eggnog
Eggnog is the American Christmas drink par excellence – even if the commercially available versions these days are a pale shadow of the drink’s former glory.
Fortunately for your tastebuds, it’s relatively easy to whip up a big batch of delicious ’nog – but recipes for homemade alcoholic eggnog are usually loaded with serious quantities of bourbon, brandy or rum.
There’s an easy solution if you’re after a lower-proof version: simply swap out the brown spirits for an oxidatively aged sherry.
Sherry – the real stuff from Spain, that is – is loaded with the same complexity of flavour as any high-quality brown spirit, with about half the ABV. The richly nutty flavours of canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day diet an oxidatively-aged sherry work perfectly with the creaminess of the eggnog.
The hardest part of making this swap is finding the right sherry to fit the gap. Sherry isn’t just one ingredient, but is actually a rather diverse spectrum of different styles of wine – some bone-dry and flinty, others sweet enough to be a dentist’s wet dream. In order to make the recipe below (adapted from David Wondrich) work, you’ll need to procure a sherry that is both dry and oxidatively aged; look for one labelled “oloroso”, “palo cortado” or “amontillado”, and avoid any labelled “manzanilla”, “fino”, “pedro ximénez”, “moscatel” or “cream”.
Make it at home: sherry eggnog (serves 12)
750ml (one bottle) dry, oxidatively aged sherry (oloroso, palo cortado or amontillado)10 whole eggs150g sugar1L full-cream milk
Separate the egg whites and yolks. Mix sugar with yolks until the sugar has dissolved. Add sherry and gently stir until incorporated, then add milk and repeat. Using a beater, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped whites into the mixture, then refrigerate for an hour or so to rest. When serving, garnish individual cups with freshly grated nutmeg and/or cinnamon sticks.
Some people like to age their alcoholic eggnog – this is not advised for a sherry eggnog, as sherry’s lower ABV makes the eggnog more susceptible to pathogens such as salmonella. Eggnog contains raw eggs, so should not be consumed by pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
Pair it with a film: Bruce Robinson’s Withnail and I – just for the sheer camp enjoyment of Richard Griffiths’s character Uncle Monty, who loves a cheeky sherry or three.