So we totally had a fake summer this week and for an entire day, I was prepared to pack away all my winter woolies and embrace my flip flops and dresses. Alas, the weather has turned again and whilst we desperately need the rain in Cape Town, it’s a little miserable again.
When the weather is so sullen, I think a pick-me-up is in order and nothing will work better than some specially designed winter cocktails using the warming liquid gold that is brandy.
Invited to a cocktail making class with renowned mixologist Owen O’Reilly at Van Ryns in Stellenbosch, I got to try my hand at making some Brandy-inspired cocktails with some leading Brandys from the Distell portfolio.
Usually I would only use Brandy for sauces (and of course, a Christmas pudding) because it’s quite a strong, acquired taste but these specially created cocktails brought out the robust stone fruit, citrus and toast flavours of the Brandys and were great fun to make…and drink.
Here are four warming cocktail recipes that are guaranteed to give you a rosy glow…
Oude Meester Wassail (my absolute favorite)
Glassware: Hot toddy glass
Ingredients: 50ml Oude Meester 12 year old | ¨Top up with hot wassail batch*
Method: Pour brandy into pre-heated toddy glass and top up with hot wassail batch. Garnish with cinnamon dusted apple fan or dried apples.
*Wassail batch: (Makes 2) 1x 330ml Savanna Premium Cider, 200ml cranberry juice, 50ml orange juice, 25ml lemon juice, 2 table spoons castor sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 1 vanilla bean, 50ml water. Bring to a simmer on the stove top while stirring, simmer for 15 minutes. Strain liquid through sieve before using it.
Richelieu Café Français
Glassware: Glass coffee mug
50ml Richelieu 10
20ml Orange Liquor
Top with filter coffee
Top with vanilla whipped cream *
Method: Pre-heat the mug with hot water. Pour all ingredients into the mug and top with vanilla whipped cream. If the whipped cream is hand whipped then slowly pour over a spoon onto the coffee. Grate some dark chocolate over whipped cream and garnish with orange zest.
*Vanilla whipped cream: pour 250ml whipping cream, 250ml full cream milk and 100ml vanilla syrup into a cream gun and gas with two co2 bombs or simply whip with whisk in a mixing bowl.
*Vanilla syrup: equal parts sugar and water reduced on the stove top with two open vanilla beans. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool down and strain into a glass bottle.
Glassware: Brandy balloon glass (prime glass with hot water)
50ml Klipdrift Gold
20ml Apricot Liqueur
35ml Monis Port
1 teaspoon honey
50ml hot water
1 x star anise
½ vanilla bean
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Method: Pour all ingredients except water into two metal milk jugs (make sure they have handles) set the liquid on fire with a chef torch and pour from one jug to the other while on fire and repeat back and forth about eight times. Pour 50ml hot water into the brandy balloon glass and then top with the blazed ingredients. Garnish with orange zest and dark chocolate blocks on a side plate. Be careful with this one.
Van Ryn’s Chai Tea
45ml Van Ryn’s 10
Top with Chai Tea*
Method: pour Van Ryn’s into tea cup and top with chai tea. Garnish with cinnamon stick and candied ginger cubes.
*Chai Tea: 1 cup water, 2 x rooibos tea bags, 15ml vanilla syrup, 15ml rose water, 3 crushed cardamom pods, 1 x cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 1 x thick slice ginger. Bring to the boil on the stove top and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the tea before using it. Makes one drink. Repeat recipe to make more than one.
Fancy making any of these yourself? Head over to the Distell website to get details on where to purchase these award-winning Brandies