Monthly Archives: December 2013

Morning fizz to late night spirits

Christmas Day is pretty much the only time it’s considered socially acceptable (in my house at least) to drink from dusk until dawn. From Champagne at breakfast to digestifs after dinner, below are my drinks selections for the rapidly approaching big day. Merry Christmas!

Start with a bang

New Champagne Philizot label

The award-winning Champagne Veuve Monsigny by Philizot & Fils is refreshing, delicious and easy-going – just right to kick off the festivities at present opening time. Plus it’s an absolute steal at £9.99 from Aldi – save the vintage stuff for much later when you’ve had the chance to wake up!

During cooking

von buhl

If you’re responsible for the cooking, you don’t want anything too heavy at this stage – we all know someone who ruined dinner because they were drunk! Go for a featherlight German Riesling such as the limey Von Buhl Kellermeister Reserve Riesling Trocken 2012, available for £10.99 from Laithwaites.

On the dinner table

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The worst thing you can do here is add an overwhelming wine to the incredible number of flavours already on your dinner plate. With the turkey I love a delicate and savoury Pinot Noir such as Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir, currently on offer in Waitrose for £11.24.

bordiere

If you prefer a white wine, try the fruity Bordière Nord Marsanne Viognier 2012 PGI Pays d’Oc (£7.99, Majestic) – with peachy flavours and a smooth texture, this is a lovely all rounder for your Christmas meal.

Pudding wine

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To finish the meal, pair the rich and floral notes of Vin de Constance 2007 Klein Constantia with your mince pies. With its enticing nutty, spicy aromas, you’ll be sighing into your glass with this treat. The 2008 vintage is currently available for £35 from Majestic Wine.

After dinner

calvados

If you still have room after dinner, crack out the warming winter spirits as you sit back ready for an evening of TV and snoozing. Or, in my case a good old family quiz. My favourite this year is Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Calvados Pays D’auge Xo 12 yrs.

I’ll be back in the New Year with some more drinks recommendations. In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas!

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Sparkle and fizz

The party season is here and the time for evening visits to the gym have long been pushed aside in favour of a cheeky drink or five with family and friends! This year has been a fantastic one for sparkling wine with prosecco and cava sales in particular taking off. In celebration of that fact, here are my top sparkling picks, from a perfect party glugger to something a little special to enjoy on Christmas Day.

The party fizz

GG0813CREMANTDUJURACHARDONNAYBRUT_SHAD_000000_CO_01 copyI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Philippe Michel Crémant Du Jura 2011, available for just £6.99 in Aldi, is a winner! Crisp and light with green apple flavours and delicate bubbles, this sparkling wine, made from 100% Chardonnay is perfect for pouring at parties!

The all-rounder

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Undurraga Sparkling Brut NV is a fantastic alternative to Champagne – dry, light and fresh with lime, grapefruit and stone fruit flavours and elegant bubbles. Available for £10.99 from Majestic Wine it is also significantly cheaper than Champagne and makes a great base for sparkling cocktails, such as this clementine fizz.

The showstopper

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Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a glass of Champagne would it? If you’re after an incredible value option, go for Sainsbury’s Blanc de Noirs – one of my favourites and available for just £16.49 until 1st January 2014! For that something extra, my pick is Taittinger Brut Réserve NV – a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, this signature cuvée is fresh with a biscuity nose. Available for £27.98 if you buy two bottles or more from Majestic Wine (RRP £38.99), this Champagne is ideal for toasting the turkey!

Whatever you choose to sip this party season, enjoy – embarrassing work do scenarios included!

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‘Tis the season to be jolly

The festivities are well and truly underway – I’ve already eaten two Christmas dinners, indulged in too many mince pies, and worn a bright red dress! In this, the season of goodwill to all men, here is my top party cocktail recipe to help you enjoy (or endure, depending on your point of view) the hours of socialising ahead…

Nothing says Christmas like a cocktail party and this easy to prepare recipe combines two of my favourite things – gin and clementines. Oh, and sparkling wine!

Clementine fizz – makes 6

Ingredients
10 clementines
100ml gin
500ml sparkling wine – cava works well

Method
Squeeze the juice from the clementines and pour through a sieve to remove the pith and seeds. Divide the juice between six flutes and add 20ml gin to each. Top up with the sparkling wine and serve.

For this recipe, I used the delicious and great value award-winning Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin from Aldi – a steal at just £9.65 per 70cl bottle. For those gin connoisseurs amongst you who fancy something a little more premium, try the recently launched Elephant Gin – available for £29.49 from The Whiskey Exchange and Selfridges, this distinctive gin is made using 14 botanicals including Baobab, African Wormwood and apples – delicious in cocktails or served straight. Not only will this make the perfect gift for gin lovers but the company behind it contributes 15% of all profits to support African elephant foundations so you can feel better about having a cheeky sip this Christmas.

Elephant gin bottle

Next week I’ll be talking about my favourite festive sparklers. I do love Christmas!

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