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One of my favourite times is on Christmas Day when, with the lunch prepared and cooking and before the guests arrive, I can sit down and relax for a time with a Christmassy drink, while Donna and I open our presents. For some years now our drink of choice has been a Buck’s Fizz or Mimosa as it’s sometimes called. A tall flute, half filled with a domestic dry sparkling wine or champagne if you budget runs to that, and topped up with ice-cold orange juice, it can even be made in a jug for easy serving; it’s refreshing, light and not too alcoholic and if there are children present they can enjoy a lookalike drink with lemonade instead of the wine. A pleasant alternative is a Kir Royal; same tall flute but this time with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) in the bottom then filled with the sparkling wine/champagne and for the children, Ribena and lemonade. Christmas is also a good time to enjoy a celebratory Bellini, this sixties’ favourite is made with 3 or 4 ripe peaches and a sprinkling of sugar pureed and either put in a punch bowl or jug and into which is gently stirred a bottle of sparkling wine, it’s supposed to be champagne but I am sure Giovanni wouldn’t mind you using Lindauer.
At this time of year an American favourite is Egg Nog, a drink of which I am not over-fond, maybe because I feel it better suited to a winter Christmas or maybe because I want remember the rest of the day, something which wouldn’t be all that easy using a family recipe given to me by an American visitor a few years ago. It calls for a dozen eggs, a tablespoon of icing sugar, two litres of milk, a litre of bourbon and a sprinkling of nutmeg; this recipe to serve only six people!
Whether we have Christmas lunch or dinner we will be having wine, bottles that I have set aside for special occasions, usually bought when it has been on special and squirreled away. If you are having a barbecue though, what could be better than jugs of sangria? Ideal for outdoor summer drinking, the recipes are simple and won’t break the bank.