‘Let’s catch up for Chrissy drinks!’ Christmas drinks; so much more fun than regular drinks. Everyone is in high spirits, with impending holidays and feasting with family and friends. Work is winding down, and nobody needs to feel guilty for finding themselves at the pub on a Tuesday afternoon; there’s always time for a Chrissy drink with someone!
I love having cherries around at this time of year, it makes me nostalgic for Christmas time as a child; there always seemed to be a bowl of them somewhere around the house. We bought these from the local market the other day, six dollars for a huge bag; the farmer wouldn’t let me buy half. So, seeing as we were travelling again the next day, I just ‘had’ to use them all up by making these cocktails. The blood orange adds a really unusual flavour as well, but you could replace it with regular orange if you can’t find any. You could also use the syrup to make mocktails for kids, or in ice-blocks, or you could reduce the syrup down even more and pour it over ice-cream. The colour is beautiful and instantly adds a bright christmassy feel to the table. Cheers!
Blood Orange, Cherry and Cinnamon Syrup
300g cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 3 blood oranges
1 cup caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills
juice 1/2 lemon
1-2 cups of water, depending on how juicy the oranges are
Candied Blood Orange Peel
3 blood oranges
3/4 cup caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 cup water
12-24 cherries (depending on size of your ice cube trays and how many you want to make)
Cherry Bloody Christmas
60-90ml Blood Orange, Cherry and Cinnamon Syrup (depending how strong you want the flavours to be)
Candied Blood Orange Peel
To make the Blood Orange, Cherry and Cinnamon Syrup, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the simmer and reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring often, for about 45mins, or until cherries have broken down and the mixture is dark red and syrupy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for about half an hour. Remove cinnamon quills and push through a sieve, getting as much juice out of the cherries as possible. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.
To make the candied blood orange peel, remove the rind from the oranges using a small knife or peeler. Try to get long strips and avoid the white part as it is bitter. Cut the rind lengthways into long thin strips, about 3mm wide.
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Put the orange rind into the sugar water and bring to the simmer. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for about 1/2 an hour, stirring often.
Remove the orange rind and allow to cool slightly. Place a few spoonfuls of caster sugar on a plate and roll the orange rind around in it to dust. Place orange rind in a single layer on a tray and let dry for at least 6 hours.
To make cherry ice-cubes, halve the cherries and carefully remove the pit, try not to destroy the shape of the cherry and leave the stalks on where you can. Place in ice-cube trays and fill with water. Freeze.
To make the Cherry Bloody Christmas, in a glass per-person, place the vodka, syrup, a few cherry ice-cubes and top up with soda water. Decorate the edge of the glass with a few strips of candied orange peel.