Like it or loathe it, the Queen’s Speech is an integral part of Christmas Day. And if The Crown has taught us anything, it’s that this monarch has seen a lot in her 68 years on the throne. Still, even by Her Majesty’s standards, 2020 has been something of a train wreck. This time last year, she spoke innocently of how much “we all look forward to the start of a new decade.” Will she refer to those dark early days of banana bread and Zoom quizzes, while we learnt to navigate strange new phrases like ‘R number’ and ‘social distancing’ this year? Or will the focus be onwards and upwards for a better 2021?
Either way, another lesson from this year is that it’s essential to have a good drink in hand at all times, and Christmas Day is the perfect time to indulge in a royally-approved cocktail. Even the most ambitious mixologist among us will concede that there isn’t a whole lot of time to be shaking up espresso martinis among the chaos of chopping sprouts and roasting spuds. With that in mind, a Champagne cocktail simply cannot be beaten. “It’s celebratory, it can be made on demand, and it’ll go down just as well with grannies as it will with younger family members,” says Cliveden House’s head bartender Ricardo Morillo.
A traditional Champagne cocktail is made with a sugar lump and a dash of angostura bitters, but Ricardo adds a wintry twist with the almond and candied orange flavours of Cointreau Noir. If you can get your hands on it, Maraschino adds a delicious cherry note too. It’s exactly the sort of niche spirit you’ll find has been gathering dust under the stairs since 1972. Failing that, Ricardo recommends using kirsch, sloe gin or really any fruity liqueur. Serve with some smoked salmon sandwiches and the day will be off to a flying start.
Ingredients (serves 1)
25ml Cointreau Noir
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Glass: Tall Champagne flute
- Take a champagne flute or coupé and add 25ml Cointreau Noir.
- Slowly pour in 10ml of Maraschino.
- Add a small dash of Angostura bitters, depending on your preference.
- Top up with Champagne.
Gin more your thing? Here’s how to make Raffles’ Singapore Sling…
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