Forget eggnog. Forget brandy. This isn’t America. And it’s not the 1890s. And I don’t need a drink that will send me to sleep in a tatty armchair with my glass in my lap, while trifle and turkey do battle in my stomach and O Come All Ye Faithful warbles in the background. Not all holiday drinks need to be so heavy going.
I’m looking at you too, sherry. Watch it.
How about an alternative? Festive. Fruity. But with a kick and some intrigue to keep your tongue wagging and the joy flowing. Something perfect for parties.
Look no further than this mince pie-inspired libation. Tart, sweet, and aromatic all at once, it’s a playful take on the boozy fruit filling.
This one actually comes out of an interest in using balsamic vinegar in cocktails. There’s a fantastic wee bar called Dragonfly, just off the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, where I was first introduced to the concept. It’s absolutely worth a visit if you’re ever in the motherland. Try to get a Joe Le Taxi if they still make it.
In experimenting with different combinations that could work with balsamic, I hit upon this one. Apple juice comes into it, and Drambuie and gin. The star of the show, though, is blackcurrant jam. Just gives it a hint of that sweet, sticky, luxurious texture of great mincemeat. Gorgeous.
To be clear, this should be fairly tart, balanced with the chill of the drink and the sweet and aromatic elements. Made right, it really should taste a lot like mincemeat in a glass. Will make for a very Merry Christmas, and quite possibly a Happy New Year if you keep them coming.
- 1½ measures gin
- ½ measure Drambuie
- 1½ measures apple juice
- 1 measure lemon juice
- Generous dash of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp blackcurrant jam
Shake everything but the jam with ice, and serve straight or on the rocks. Stir the jam in gently, and garnish with orange peel.