MADE BY MEMBERS • December 2020
Birmingham-born bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (known better as Mr Lyan) has more accolades than you can shake a margarita at, not least his inclusion last year on British Airways’ centennial list of 100 Great Britons. This month, he serves up five festive cocktail recipes exclusively for the Executive Club. So, which one stirs you?
Christmas is a time for friends and family, but not all of them will be on the hard stuff. Or, maybe you’re not entirely teetotal but are in need of a ‘pacing drink’ – something to slow us down when the indulgences have caught up! The good news is that all this can be achieved without compromising on a complex, dry and adult drink…
35ml Aecorn bitter aperitif (non-alcoholic)
100ml ginger kombucha
Orange wedge studded with cloves
The method: Add large cubes of ice to a wine glass, add the Aecorn and stir. Add more ice, then top with the chilled kombucha (soda or ginger ale work great if you don’t have some to hand) and garnish with the orange wedge.
Nothing says celebration quite like a good pop of bubbles. Of course, Champagne is great, but dry sparkling alternatives, such as real cava, English sparkling or crémant, also all work brilliantly. Topping your glass with any of these is sure to add a touch of magic, and is super easy to serve if you spot someone’s running empty!
200ml golden rum (any)
200ml Tio Pepe fino sherry
200ml St Germain elderflower liqueur
The method: Mix the rum, sherry and liqueur in a jug and add the water. Decant into a clean bottle and chill well. To serve, as people arrive (or need a drink), add 30ml chilled mix to a flute, and top with cold sparkling wine (rosé Champagne if possible!) and garnish with a sprig of dried lavender.
What you need is a rich homemade liqueur that’s perfect to curl up with on colder nights: a little indulgence that almost feels like a dessert. Introducing, then, my next cocktail – with perfect notes that feel evocative of the holiday period, but with a complexity and balance that feels more nuanced. Rich and Christmassy, it’s the perfect combination.
Plum ‘Irish cream’
400g Empirical Spirits ‘The Plum, I Suppose’
300g double cream
300g condensed milk
5g instant coffee
5g vanilla pod seeds
The method: Scrape seeds from a vanilla pod (or use vanilla extract) and place into a Nutribullet or blender. Combine other ingredients and add to the blender before blitzing briefly. Strain into a clean bottle and refrigerate. Serve into delicate cocktail glasses, pouring over ice and garnishing with curls of dark chocolate.
You’re likely to be eating plenty of rich food this Christmas and, although wine is a natural bedfellow, having a cocktail that can cut through is a treat. Bitters such as Campari are often used as aperitifs, but they work just as well at the dinner table as they do before or after tucking in.
300ml Beefeater Gin
300ml Martini Rosso
1 sprig of rosemary
1 strip of pink grapefruit peel (pith removed)
The method: Add all ingredients to a microwave-safe glass bowl and cover. Blast in a microwave for three minutes (trust me!) before allowing to cool. Strain into a bottle, keeping the boozy fruit if you like, and keep refrigerated. Drop on the dinner table with rocks glasses filled with ice and allow guests to serve themselves.
Making presents is one of my favourite part of Christmas and giving customised boozy bottles is something I’ve been doing for over a decade with a never less than brilliant response! Add different brands, spice notes or ratios to make this extra special, but don’t forget that final touch: a personalised label.
450ml VSOP Cognac
250ml sweet vermouth
3ml Angostura bitters
2ml Peychaud bitters
The method: Add all to a bowl along with a piece of orange peel and a cardamom pod and cover. Allow to infuse for an hour, then strain and decant into a clean, dark wine bottle. Cork, then label. To serve, quickly stir 75ml over ice then strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a (proper) cocktail cherry.
Illustrations for The Club by Jessica Kendrew