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Monday, 1 August 2011

Let's Twist Again

Was Chubby Checker ever invited to Chequers? And if so, did he enjoy a cocktail there, provided by one Harold McMillan? 
"There you are, dear boy. You've never had it so good, what?"

Well, possibly not.
But speaking of cocktails...I often try to do something a little different – with a twist, as it were. So I wonder what old Chubby Checker, or Ernest Evans, to give him his real name, and our esteemed Prime Minister would have thought about these efforts...

Cosmopolitan – With  a Twist

The Cosmo is regarded more as a woman's cocktail – my good lady certainly loves an occasional one (occasional, as in "It's six o'clock and it's Friday. Where's my blooming Cosmo?!"
And as one should always try to do the right thing by one's good lady, I came up with this version for the delectation of us both. It is pretty much like a regular Cosmopolitan but just wait for it...

  • Two measures of good Russian or Polish vodka. (Stick it in the freezer for an hour or two before serving. Vodka likes the freezer – when did you ever see one shivering?)
  • One measure of cointreau or triple sec
  • One measure of good cranberry juice
  • Juice of one lime
  • And...a good dash of rosewater.
  • Place four ice cubes in shaker and add the ingredients
  • Give it a really good shake.
  • Hang a slice of lime on the rim of your cocktail glass (another little twist) and pour in the mixture. Before serving, slice off a chunk of orange zest (about 1x2 in) and hold the rind side over a flame for a few seconds until it blackens a little then plop that into the glass. (I like to use a long match for this – it connects me to the days when cavemen were inventing the first cocktails.)
  • Then drink the thing! And jolly good it is. And with the addition of the rosewater – also used in religious ceremonies – you can have the added satisfaction that as well as indulging in a rather decadent pleasure, you're also communing with your maker on some level or other.

Another classic with a twist is the ....

Classic Champagne Cocktail with a twist

This is a great one to have before dinner with guests. I prefer inviting gusts to dinner actually. That way they're in and out sharpish.

  • Add a dash of aromatic or Angostura bitters to a champagne flute and allow it to swirl around, its viscocity will ensure it cleaves to the glass.
  • Add a dash of orange bitters and perform the same little ceremony
  • Plop a brown sugar cube in the bottom of the glass
  • Add a measure of Grand Marnier (this is instead of the usual cognac – hence the twist. And the orange bitters enhances the liqueur's flavour even more)
  • Fill up with a decent champagne – Kristal is very nice. (Hahaha. Aye right, as they say in Govan).
  • Munch it up, get the dinner over with sharpish and chuck out the gusts!

Charming, as they say in Notting Hill.