Tag Archives: drinks and cocktails

Snowy New Year Cocktail

snowy mint chocolate cocktail

Although we are aware that many people will expect to eat something over the Festive Season, we reviewed what we did last year, which was Christmas lunch for a singleton, and decided that despite all the dating applications at their fingertips and self-help group therapy, that self same singleton would probably have descended to full-scale alcohol dependency with the passing of another year – and so we’ve decided to provide more helpful advice accordingly.

Besides, if I have to endure another bout of a plumply coiffed Nigella spreading warm sauce on her bundt, I think I’ll have to fast forward to next year’s advice to the hapless singleton (that we’re stalking) and book that one-way flight to Switzerland straight away….

Trendy bartenders have a habit of describing a 16-phase construct using ingredients available only in the former Soviet-bloc countries as simple. Which somewhat glosses over the vegetable-carving skills and hand-blown apothecary’s distillation equipment that you’ll also inevitably need.

Please trust me that when I say this is simple, it really truly is. You simply take one of granny’s old sherry/liqueur glasses (the ones you gave to the charity shop and then bought back again when “retro” became cool, start with some mint liqueur (a shot – 30ml), then carefully layer over a slightly smaller shot of white chocolate liqueur in the manner of finishing an Irish Coffee with cream – namely, over a spoon to avoid mixing the layers. Because these are the only two ingredients they have to speak for themselves, so you should avoid the horrors lurking at the back of your drinks cabinet and buy really good versions of these. We used Briottet Menthe Verte and Coole Swan Irish Cream Liqueur which is an unbelievable concoction of whiskey, Belgian white chocolate, cream and real vanilla. This wintry cocktail was inspired by one of Bebe Von Boom Boom’s recipes we showed last year and is also delicious!

The end result looks like a virgin snowfall on the pine trees growing up the slopes of your fave ski resort – so it’s as festive as a freshly stuffed Norfolk Black (and we all know how Brenda loves a good stuffing). As a final bonus, who doesn’t love mint-choc and you could probably quietly ask for this little gem of a cocktail as a dessert instead of a pudding….

Happy New Year from your two Fabulous Hostesses, that’s us, Fanny and Brenda. We hope you make it through the holidays unscathed and with the same number of children/boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives that you started with – and we’ll see you in 2016 for more of our unique take on food and drink. We are beautiful!


The Japanese

fanny and brendas japanese cocktail with orgeat

This was an excuse to use my orgeat – a maceration of toasted, ground nuts (in this case almonds) in alcohol with the smallest dash of orange flower water. I made mine but you’ll be just as well seeking out a good commercial one to save time.

It’s also worth learning the correct pronunciation  of orgeat- we wouldn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea this Christmas, particularly if you’re throwing a party and all that alcohol’s flowing………

60ml cognac
15ml orgeat
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

Fill a mixing glass about half way with ice. Add cognac, orgeat and bitters and stir well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Twist lemon peel over the drink and drop in as a garnish. A vegetable peeler works perfectly well for this

Christmas Grapefruit

christmas grapefruit fizz from fanny and brenda

You didn’t think for a minute I was advocating sitting there in your brushed cotton (in Brenda’s case Stay-Press polyester) jim-jams attempting to dissect a deeply acidic and outsize hemisphere of citrus fruit? Who possesses grapefruit spoons any more, anyway?

No, this is our incredibly simple way to breakfast bliss (and brunch battles if you’re not careful, but we’re not ones for adhering to rules of family etiquette….).

If you know how to make a Kir Royale, you can do one of these, except you substitute the Creme de Cassis in that classic cocktail, for Creme Pamplemousse Rose – literally out with the blackcurrant liqueur and in with the pink grapefruit liqueur. Now, honestly speaking, you won’t be able to pick this up this from you local supermarché, but a brief search on the ‘net will reveal quick convenient sources, no doubt for convenient home delivery.

A dessertspoonful (10ml) is a good place to start in terms of the quantity of grapefruit loveliness in a bottle you pour into you champagne flute to get things going – then pour a about the first third of the fizz you’re going to top up with smartish, to mix properly with the grapefruitiness at the bottom of the glass (champagne or sparkling white – we used Cava). Then fully top up carefully, as you would any sparkles, to avoid it all frothing over – which is not cool, a drag to clear up, wasteful and leaves the part that stayed in the glass flatter than necessary. I assure you a few seconds care exercised here, and you’ll create a beautiful drink which will elicit many more genuine oohs and aahs than the opening of acres of scruffily wrapped, panic-bought “designer” tat posing as “thoughtful gifts” which you’ll have to endure later….

Hot Toddy

fanny and brendas hot toddy

I love December. The year is virtually over and the Christmas lights are going up. There is that feeling of festivity in the air. Fanny looks more and more like Father Christmas every year due to her billowing white facial hair that she usually clips out before we start filming. It’s like a fairy tale.

These days the shopping takes place online. As some rather short sighted retailers now have aggressive parking practices that enable them to make money twice by employing moronic parking management companies I no longer bother, so everything comes to me – without the parking tickets.

After a strenuous day unpacking my latest gifts to myself I usually need a cocktail to improve my weary state. A favourite of mine is the Hot Toddy. I once had a boyfriend called Todd who was quite hot and I think of him with a wry smile before I click my fingers at Fanny and she makes one for me.

So, the ingredients are below but really, I’m going to let your imaginations run wild with the proportions as these are totally up to you.


Whisky or rum
Runny honey
Lemon juice
Cinnamon stick
Couple of cloves
Hot water

Fanny’s Method for a fabulous Hot Toddy

Take a little hot water to loosen around a tsp of the honey to a thin syrup – you won’t need a lot.

Put your tot of whichever spirit you are using into a glass, add some honey syrup and lemon juice (again, as much or little as you like so you get a drink where the sweetness/tartness is balanced how you like it – and Brenda prefers hers tarty, quelle surprise…

Drop in your cloves and cinnamon stick, then top up with hot water – leave the kettle for 20 seconds or so after coming up to the boil to reduce the likelihood of cracking your glass, although the other ingredients already there should help prevent this.

Stir with the cinnamon stick, check it is to your liking, adjust with more of any of the ingredients if necessary – then drink when it’s still hot but not burning your mouth. You get a much more satisfying result when you can pretty much fit the whole lot in at once………

It’s the weekend! Time for a Lavender Martini…

fanny and brendas gorgeous lavender martini

Because we know how sophisticated you are (and not because you’re secret boozers, except Brenda of course!) – and because I had some lavender syrup I thought I might reward you with this delightful cocktail. It isn’t really a martini in a particularly accurate sense but I won’t bore you with the reasons why and besides, it sounds nice.

The exact quantities of each constituent part are unimportant – clearly this can be scaled up (-let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to scale it down) - so long that the ratio of each stays the same. The measures given below should serve two, but it depends how thirsty you are!

120ml vanilla vodka – this is available from pretty much all drinks outlets or you can make your own by steeping a split vanilla pod in a bottle of vodka at least overnight.
40ml fresh lemon juice
20ml  Lavender Syrup - bring 100g sugar and 100ml water to the boil in a small saucepan then drop in 4 fresh lavender flowers and set aside for at least an hour before straining. The rest can be kept for a good few weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
1 fresh lavender sprig


1) Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
2) Add the vodka,lemon juice and lavender syrup and shake well
3) Strain into a chilled martini glass
4) Garnish with a lavender sprig and serve.

fanny and brendas gorgeous lavender martini

Brenda’s Plum Vodka

From about the end of November through to mid January, Fanny spends herself enjoying the finer aspects of the season. I trail along barely able to keep up with her considerable consumption. However I am taken to parties with her because she has to show she has at least one good looking pretty and intelligent friend. It would be a tragic situation but for the fact that like her I enjoy a good drink. This year we have had a plum glut – our two old trees produce what we believe are Early Rivers plums. They aren’t the greatest ‘eaters’ if I’m honest, and they are better cooked. They make lovely stewed plums for instance. However I now have a freezer full of them so time to move on. This week I bought some Russian standard vodka and decided to merge the plums with vodka to be enjoyed leisurely at Christmas. I am storing this in a 2 litre kilner style storage jar which has been sterilised beforehand.

plum vodka makde using russian vodka and our own home grown plums


1l 40% Russian standard vodka
300g of sugar
Plums to fill the jar once the vodka and the sugar have been poured in.


Pour in vodka
Pour in sugar
Add plums
Seal lid
Place somewhere cool for three months, occasionally shaking it up to dissolve the sugar.
Test 1 month before using that you like the sweetness. If it needs more sugar, now is the time to add it.