Christmas cocktail

Makes one drink

25ml/30ml of Gancia Barolo Chinato (an Italian after-dinner with barolo wine, alcohol and herbs and spices)
Top up with champagne/prosecco
Add one Yamamomo (Japanese mountain peach) or a cherry

Combine the ingredients and serve in a champagne glass and garnish with redcurrants on the rim of the flute.

Clover club

Makes one drink

40ml Beefeater 24
20 ml lemon juice
10ml gomme syrup (sugar syrup)
10ml raspberry syrup
10ml egg white

Shake and serve in a Martini glass, garnished with lemon zest.

Rising sun margarita

Makes one drink

50ml Tequila Reposado
10ml Cointreau
25ml lime juice
15ml honey syrup

Shake and serve in a Martini glass, garnished with a piece of honeycomb.

All three cocktails created by Flavio Carenzi, bar manager at Nobu Berkeley Street (15 Berkeley Street, London W1, 020 7290 9222)

Six of the best: Cocktails from some of our favourite books and bars

Hoppy's pink

My singular attempt at cocktail creation.

Makes 2 drinks

75ml gin or vodka
4-5 drops Angostura bitters
1-2 tsp caster sugar, to taste
100ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice, strained
Ice cubes
200ml pink champagne, chilled
1 pink grapefruit slice, halved

Using a jug, briefly mix together the gin or vodka, bitters, sugar and grapefruit juice, over ice. Strain into two large wine glasses, with five cubes of ice in each. Top up with champagne, stir carefully, add the sliced grapefruit and serve promptly.

By Simon Hopkinson, from 'The Vegetarian Option', Quadrille (£20)

Black velvet

This sounds impossible, but it is rather good: good as an aperitif, good for a winter dinner party, equally good on a summer's day.

Makes 6 drinks

1 bottle of champagne, chilled
1 tin draught Guinness, chilled

Pour chilled champagne into tall glasses, holding glasses at angle and filling the glasses three-quarters full: then pour Guinness to fill to top. Set down on surface for one second to enjoy the velvety sparkle. Drink slowly and sensibly.

By Pamela Hunter, from 'Pam's Recipe Book', £5.95 (all profits donated to medical research into Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis at Northwick Park Hospital, London). Available exclusively from Toast, tel: 0844 557 5200,

Cucumber sour

This is a cool, refreshing cocktail (and only 146 calories...)

Makes one drink

3 slices of cucumber
1 tsp sweetener
121/2ml Hendrick's gin
121/2ml Midori melon liqueur
20ml egg white
Splash fresh lemon juice
Splash fresh lime juice

Muddle the cucumber and sweetener together. Add all the other ingredients and shake with ice. Pour into a glass full of ice and garnish with a cucumber slice.

From Sushinho, 312-314 King's Road, London, SW3 (020 7349 7496)

Gold Fever Toddy

The hot rum toddy is a classic – it brings a drop of Caribbean sunshine to any winter's day. Hot is the new cold.

Makes 4 drinks

200ml authentic Caribbean rum
Zest of half a lime
Peel of an orange
Juice of half a lemon
400ml Fever Tree ginger ale or ginger beer
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves

Add the following ingredients to a cold pan: Caribbean rum, the zest of half a lime, the peel of an orange, the juice of half a lemon. Add 300ml of Fever Tree ginger ale or ginger beer to the pan and put on a low heat; at no point should the contents come to the boil.

Stir in two snapped cinnamon sticks, freshly ground nutmeg and three cloves. Depending on your palate, you can add more citrus or spice to suit.

Keep stirring and tasting until you're happy with your toddy, then fine-strain into your serving bowl or soup kettle to keep warm. Serve in a small glass mug with a cinnamon stick and slice of lemon or lemon twist as garnish.

By Jimi Pearce, who makes cocktails at Wax Jambu's Rum Cove bar, 144-145 Upper Street, London N1, tel: 020 7226 7660


A little bartender's tip before we start: many vodka companies now produce pineapple vodka, but if you can't find it, you can use plain vodka.

Makes one drink
15ml pineapple vodka
15ml pineapple juice
Chilled champagne or sparkling wine
Maraschino cherry

Pour the vodka and pineapple juice into a chilled Martini glass. Slowly top up with champagne or sparkling wine and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

From 'My Little Cocktail Book', Murdoch Books (£9.99)

Old fashioned

Slow down, sonny, pull up a chair, linger a while and reflect on days gone by.

Makes one drink

1 sugar cube
Dash of Angostura bitters
Soda water
Ice cubes
60ml bourbon
Orange twist (optional)

Place the sugar cube in an old- fashioned glass (tumbler). Add the bitters and let it soak into the sugar. Add a splash of soda water and enough ice to half-fill the glass. Pour in the bourbon and stir to dissolve the sugar. Garnish with a twist of orange peel if you wish.

From 'My Little Cocktail Book', Murdoch Books (£9.99)