Photo: Hugh Peachey
Bugger the latest winter fashions, here we preview some of the latest and just plain greatest winter cocktails that'll warm your cockles so well you won't even feel the cold. Or possibly anything. By Cam Noakes.
Mixing spirits, liqueurs, juices and creams can turn into something weird and wicked. But more often than not it can fail horribly. It's like a science experiment. It can blow-up, curdle, taste foul and if it is bubbling in the glass don't drink it (unless you can be sure the bubbles are from a carbonated mixer).
But when a cocktail is a success it must be saluted. The first person to mix tequila, Cointreau and lemon juice was a genius. And as we all know, you can drink a good Margarita all year round. Unfortunately, summer has hijacked the cocktail image. Sitting by the pool, bathing in tropical sunlight and sucking on an enormous glass that has half a pineapple shoved in it seems to be a common theme for advertising agencies.
But thanks to many a bored bartender, there are plenty of cocktails to be guzzled no matter where you are or what the climate. Winter cocktails are pretty easy to spot. They usually have the word blue in their title to keep in theme with the winter blues or they usually are blue - meaning blue curacao (a blue liqueur) becomes an important ingredient when the weather gets a bit chilly.
Chocolate-flavored cocktails are also good for winter and can be a superb accompaniment to a late-night coffee. So in the wee, cold hours of the night, when you're sitting by the fire, forget the chocolate with your port and coffee and try a Death by Choctail and still have your port.
Arguably, the perfect liqueur for winter is Chartreuse and - for those who have the palate - this drink needs no playing with. It is guaranteed to burn the cockles of your heart (and get you pretty sloshed) but it's not everyone's cuppa. A good Chartreuse cocktail recipe is like finding gold and we've managed to stagger upon just the thing.
Of course, when it comes to cocktails it's hard to beat the classics. If you feel like treating yourself on a miserable night, put on your big coat and your big boots, head down to your favorite bar and order a Rusty Nail (scotch and Drambuie) - delicious - and then order another one; the second one is always the best.