Holiday Entertaining Tips & Recipes: Cocktails

Cocktails with Food: Ideally, cocktails should be drunk before or after a meal. So if you’re inviting people out for evening cocktails suggest dinner before or after. And bear in mind, some drinks aid digestion and some whet the appetite.

Making a Toast: When making a toast with cocktails, the clanking together of full glasses complete with garnishes can lead to spilled drinks. Far better to raise your glass in your companion’s direction and make meaningful eye contact. It goes without saying that you should wait for all the drinks to arrive before you start drinking.

-From The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails


1 sugar cube
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
25 ml (1 oz) brandy
90 ml (3 oz) dry champagne, chilled

Place the sugar in the bottom of a champagne flute with the Angostura bitters. Add the brandy and top up with champagne.


50 ml (2 oz ) whisky
1 tablespoon honey
boiling water
5 cloves
1 lemon slice
1 cinnamon stick
15 ml (1/2 oz) lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Pour the whisky and honey into a heatproof tumbler. Half fill with boiling water and stir until blended. Spear the five cloves into the skin of the lemon slice and place in the glass. Add the cinnamon stick and lemon juice and stir again.


Dash of absinthe
50 ml (2 oz) cognac
1 tspn sugar
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Splash the absinthe into a glass and pour out. Place in the freezer to chill. Stir the rest of the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Strain into the absinthe-coated glass.