The toasts with the most: Cracking cocktails tips for your Yuletide tipple

KATE RYAN asks Foxglove Cocktails for tips for festive sips - and Di Curtin comes up with a few sexy options too!
The toasts with the most: Cracking cocktails tips for your Yuletide tipple

Mulled wine from Foxglove Cocktails

WHEN all the arrangements are done and you’re ready to get the Christmas party started, there’s no better way to kick off proceedings than with a pure fancy lookin’ cocktail that tastes amazing!

Cork is awash with quality, Cork-born spirits, from whiskey to rum, gin and vodka, meads and even Absinthe (that’s right, check out Rebel City Distillery for that), gifting us with a library of brilliant ‘spiritual’ flavours begging to be shaken up into a fully festive cocktail.

Tara Copplestone and her brother, Rory, started Foxglove Cocktails, crafting boutique cocktail mixers in Baltimore as a lockdown project to keep them entertained. Tara had returned from working as a professional bar tender in New York, and Rory had finished studying Hotel Management.

What they didn’t realise was that, together, they had started something that in two years, and with hard graft, commanded a loyal following, turning their lockdown project into a serious business.

Foxglove Cocktail Co have a core range of mixer flavours available year-round and others that change seasonally and include local foraged elements, such as wild blackberries. Each mixer makes at least two perfectly balanced cocktails. Simply add two (or three) measures of spirits and ice into a cocktail shaker, give it a good shake, decant, decorate and sip. It’s as easy as that!

I caught up with Tara as she was busy preparing for Christmas markets and their new ‘Miracle on Lancaster Quay’ Christmas Cocktail Workshops (see below), to put her on the spot.

What is your favourite way to make bubbles extra festive?

Would it be cheating if I said add some Foxglove cocktail mixer to your bubbles? We have a great selection of cocktail mixers, Rose & Elderflower or Lavender & Peach, that are delicious with prosecco, cava, or sparkling water.

Using these mixers creates a different cocktail experience with fun, fresh flavours. I always feel a nice glass and a fresh slice of fruit is key to elevating any cocktail.

Pornstar Martini from Foxglove Cocktails
Pornstar Martini from Foxglove Cocktails

On Christmas morning, do you Snowball?

I would have to say no to Snowball cocktails on Christmas morning, only because it’s tradition in my home to have a large pot of Mulled Wine heating on the stove first thing. The aroma wafts through the house when everyone gets up; it’s the best Christmas scent and we dip into the pot all day, nothing better.

So, what makes the best Mulled Wine?

The best Mulled Wine is served with friends! Foxglove’s Mulled Wine is perfect for entertaining; one bag of Mulled Wine is recommended with two bottles of red wine, so simple and ideal for effortless entertaining. Our Mulled Wine is different because we infuse brown sugar with citrus zest and then blend with an array of spices, like cinnamon, star anise and cloves. It’s a beautiful and richly flavoured Mulled Wine.

(Tara says you can make an alcohol-free version by swapping wine for pomegranate juice - delicious!)

What will you be greeting your guests with?

An Espresso Martini is a no-brainer - it always gets the party started, and people love when effort is made with a welcome cock- tail at parties. Our Vanilla & Espresso cocktail mixer is made with sweet vanilla and double espresso - just add vodka and shake. It’s so easy, but looks like you’ve made a massive effort.

Foxglove Cocktail mixers are great for people looking for a low or no alcohol option this Christmas. What you’re favourite?

Rory would say it’s our ‘Blackberry & Ginger’ mixer because it’s sweet, tart and spicy, giving plenty of complex flavours for a low/no alcohol cocktail option. Mine would be ‘Passionfruit & Vanilla’ as I love Pornstar Martinis, and this mixer gives you the option of having a delicious and fresh ‘Pornstar Martini’ mocktail without compromising on flavour.

Christmas is here, and you have a range of festive cocktail mixes ready to go. What’s your go-to?

Our ‘Apple & Winter Spices’ is the perfect Christmas mixer. Made from fresh apple juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, ginger, cardamon (and more) - it’s perfect for warm or iced cocktails. I love heating it up over a low heat and serving with some spiced rum. It’s sugar-free, too, so a great option for those who want to make low/no sugar options this Christmas.

Christmas Cocktail Workshops

Tara and Rory are hosting a series of Christmas Cocktail Workshops called ‘Miracle on Lancaster Quay’ throughout December at their Lancaster Quay pop up location. There will be mulled wine and you’ll be provided with cocktail equipment.

Tara and Rory Copplestone of Foxglove Cocktails. All cocktail pictures by Tara Copplestone
Tara and Rory Copplestone of Foxglove Cocktails. All cocktail pictures by Tara Copplestone

The two-hour workshop will include fresh ingredients, homemade syrups, garnishes and locally sourced spirits, and more cocktail tips and tricks than you can shake a jigger at. There will be a showcase of local spirits, including gin, vodka, whiskey and rum, and nibbles, too. Spots are €50 per person, and alcohol-free options are available too. Dates are booking up fast, so be quick!

Find out about the workshops, festive cocktail kits, and to order your range of cocktail mixers for Christmas, see www.foxglovecocktails.ie or follow on Instagram @foxglovecocktailco.

Sexy Christmas sips, by Di Curtin

A gourmet Christmas is a great marriage of food and drink. Christmas dinner is always the main event, but there are other occasions when drinks have to be right.

I’m talking sass and style for some sexy sips for an evening drinks and nibbles gathering.

Throw your own decadent drinks party in the festive season, with something a little different to the tried and tested menu. Here are some great ideas to get your guests sipping and socialising! I’ve added a few suggestions for canapes to go with each.

Mulled Cider

We’re familiar with mulled wine, but mulled cider makes a warming welcome for guests as they come in from the cold! Serve in mini heatproof glasses for a hot shot to get the party started. Great with mini ham and mushroom vol au vents

Ingredients (makes a litre)

1 ltr medium dry cider

100mls orange juice

2 cinnamon sticks

2 pieces star anise

6 cloves

1 fresh orange, halved and thinly sliced

30mls brandy

Method

  • Place cider medium dry cider, orange juice, cinnamon, star anise and cloves.
  • Place over low heat. Stir gently till very hot but don’t let it boil.
  • When steaming hot, remove from heat. Add orange slices and brandy and stir. Serve in mini heatproof glasses

Merry Manhattan

Based on a classic Manhattan with Bourbon at its base, this has a little cranberry juice to tickle the festive tastebuds! Try it with some hot spicy chicken wings!

Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail)

Ice cubes

50mls Bourbon

15ml dry vermouth

15ml cranberry juice

Two drops Angostura Bitters

Method

  • Place ice cubes into a cocktail shaker to fill halfway.
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir together to mix. Don’t shake.
  • Strain into a cocktail glasse to serve with a little strip of orange zest on the side of the glass.

Bloody Mary Shots

One of my favourite combos of vodka and tomato juice spiced with Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. A super savoury sip, serve these in little shot glasses decorated with a celery leaf. They look super served on a small plate with a single oyster and lemon wedge on the side. Bring it on!

Ingredients (makes 6)

60mls vodka

125mls tomato juice

Good shake Tabasco Sauce

Good shake Worcestershire Sauce

Squeeze of lime juice

Celery leaves for decorating

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Pour the vodka and tomato juice into a jug over ice.
  • Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce and lime juice. Season.
  • Stir well then strain into shot glasses.
  • Decorate each glass with a celery leaf.

Hot Buttered Rum

This is one to warm the cockles! It’s an unusual alternative to the famous Hot Toddy. A very caribbean style to this hot spiced rum drink, smoothed with the richness of Irish butter. Great with warm cocktail sausage rolls!

Ingredients (makes 200ml jug, enough for 4 x 50ml espresso cups)

100mls rum

1 tbsp brown sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Good grating fresh nutmeg

2 tbsp melted butter

100mls boiling water ( or a bit less if you want it stronger!)

Method

  • Pour rum into a jug and add sugar and spices.
  • Melt butter and add to rum mix then top up with boiling water.
  • Stir and serve in little heatproof glasses or espresso cups.

Seasonal Snowballs

The Snowball is a cocktail with retro style, not seen often on cocktail menus these days. Ingredients of Advocaat, lemonade and lime juice make a creamy slightly fizzy long drink served over ice - always with a preserved Maraschino cherry on top! . You can buy Maraschino cherries in good food shops. This slightly sweet cocktail is a good one to finish on, served with little lemon meringues as a dessert treat.

Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail)

3 tsp lime juice

50ml measure of Advocaat

Lemonade to top up

Maraschino cherry for decoration

Method

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more