Cocktails you can pre-prepare for Christmas parties

John Wilson: These four recipes can be made in large batches and will save you tonnes of time over the festive season

Making cocktails can be time-consuming and fiddly. If you intend throwing a party, why not make a large batch of one or two carefully considered pre-prepared cocktails? I asked Oisín Davis, author of Irish Kitchen Cocktails (published by Nine Bean Rows) for four recipes, all majoring on Irish produced ingredients.

Davis is one of our leading mixologists and a champion of Irish-made drinks. “I’m a firm believer in showing how easy it is to make cocktails,” he says. “I simplify classics, or make my own easy versions. We make some of the best spirits and drinks in this country, so a book was always going to celebrate that.”

The Wicklow Wanderer

Ingredients (for 10x100ml servings)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50ml boiling water
  • 400ml Móinéir Irish Raspberry Wine
  • 250ml Fercullen Falls Small Batch Irish Whiskey
  • 150ml cold water
  • 100ml freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1 tbsp Angostura bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

1. Put the sugar in a heatproof jug with the boiling water, stirring to combine. Add the wine, whiskey, cold water, lime juice and bitters. Using a hand blender, blitz for 30 seconds before pouring into a clean one-litre swing-top bottle. Chill the bottle in the fridge.

2. For each serve, shake the bottle, then pour 100ml into an iced tumbler. Finish it off by grating a little fresh nutmeg on top of each one. This will keep for a month in your fridge.


Mrs Doyle’s Iced Tea

Ingredients (for 17x200ml servings)
  • 6 Irish breakfast tea bags (use whichever brand you like best)
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 lemons, sliced into rounds
  • 1x700ml bottle of Paddy Irish Whiskey
  • 350ml Lillet Blanc
  • 2 litres premium sparkling lemonade
  • Ice cubes

1. Put the tea bags in a saucepan and pour in the boiling water. Add the sugar and half of the lemon slices, then stir it all up, cover the pan and leave it for an hour or so.

2. Strain into a punch bowl through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. Add the whiskey and Lillet, giving it a good stir before adding the lemonade.

3. For each serve, fill a long glass with ice and top it up with 200ml of the punch. Garnish with a lemon slice and serve with a straw.

Killahora Medley

Ingredients (for 18x150ml servings)
  • 6 rooibos tea bags
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 200ml Irish honey
  • Zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 1x500ml bottle of Killahora Pom’O Apple Port
  • 200ml medium dry sherry
  • 3x500ml bottles of Killahora Johnny Fall Down Bittersweet Cider
  • Ice cubes
  • 2–3 sliced apples, to garnish
  • Fresh mint sprigs, to garnish

1. Put the tea bags in a saucepan and pour in the boiling water. Let them steep to make a strongly brewed tea. Sweeten with the honey.

2. Remove the peel from the lemons and drop them into the pan, squeeze the juice from the lemons and add that too. Stir, put a lid on the pan and leave it for a couple of hours.

3. To serve, pour the contents of the pan through a fine sieve to strain out the solids. Add the Pom’O and sherry and stir it all briskly, then stir in the cider.

4. For each serve, pour 150ml of punch into an iced tumbler. Garnish each one with an apple slice and a sprig of fresh mint.

Cranberry Christmas Royale

Ingredients (for 10 servings)
  • 350ml iStil 38 Pink Berries Irish Vodka
  • 3.5 tbsp Ballymaloe Vodka Cranberry Sauce
  • 3.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 700ml dry prosecco and a lemon twist to garnish

1. Place the cranberry sauce into a blender and pour in the vodka and lemon juice. Add in a fistful of ice, and blitz.

2. Finely strain the mix into a jug and store in your fridge for up to four hours.

3. For each serve, stir the mix before pouring 50ml into a chilled champagne glass and topping it up with the prosecco and garnishing with a lemon twist.