The days between Christmas and New Year are often a little bit of a weird time; some might even say they’re anti- climactic. It’s almost as though when Christmas day itself is over everyone remembers that December is, on the whole, cold and grey and (in Britain) also often quite rainy. In the build up to the 25th, it’s like all of the sparkle and mince pie making and carols have distracted us from this otherwise evident fact. So to fend off that strange Christmas-is-over-but-it’s-still-winter melancholy, here are two recipes for Christmassy drinks to raise your spirits. We’re only technically on the 5th day of Christmas, after all. And one of my favourite things about the Christmas period is having the time and the excuse to potter around in the kitchen. And I’d recommend some well- timed pottering to all feeling the after-Christmas blues.
Mum and I wanted to try making something that we’d never made before. And we chose the most stereotypical Christmas drink we could think of. There are a lot of variations on the eggnog recipe. We went for one where you make up the thin custardy part first, and then you can experiment with which alcohol you want to add to each glassful. We preferred brandy in the end.
1140ml/2 pints whole milk
6 free-range eggs
1 vanilla pod, split (or a decent glug of vanilla extract, which is what I opted for and went fine)
Brandy and/ or rum
Cocoa powder, for dusting
– Lightly whisk together the whole milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
– Pour into a large saucepan and heat gently on a low heat until the mixture is thickened. Stir continuously, and don’t let the mixture boil.
– Once the mixture is thickened, take it off the heat but keep stirring as it cools down to stop it sticking or burning. (Remove the vanilla pod if using rather than extract). I poured it into a large bowl in order to stop the cooking and cool the mix down. Stir occasionally to stop a skin from forming.
– Chill the mixture in the fridge.
– Once cold, pour some into a glass and add brandy or rum to personal taste. Dust lightly with cocoa powder if you’re feeling fancy (I forgot!).
Ginger Christmas Cordial
And a non- alcoholic alternative. This is a recipe which my Northern Irish Nana always made at Christmas time, and my Mum still makes it when she can get hold of the ginger essence which is the most important ingredient, but which is a bit elusive in England. This year she found it in a health food shop. This is gingery and spicy and perfectly festive! In pretty bottles it also makes a great gift.
– One sachet blackcurrant jelly
– 900g/2lbs sugar
– 4 pints/2.4 liters boiling water
– Dissolve the jelly and the sugar in the boiling water.
– Cover, and leave to go cold.
– Stir in the ginger essence, and pour into bottles.
– When you’re ready to drink it, dilute it as you would cordial. It’s great with either water or lemonade.
And there you go. Two drinks perfect for any New Year’s Party. Or family gathering. Or, you know, drinking alone watching Bridget Jones’ Diary.
All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.