Christmas Cheer - Week 1 Spiced Rum and Cranberry Cocktail
Makes 1 pitcher - about 6 drinks
1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries 1.5 cups water 2 oranges 8 sprigs rosemary 2tbs brown sugar 2 cups ginger beer 6oz. spiced rum club soda
In a medium sauce pan add water, about 3/4 of the bag of cranberries, 2 sprigs of rosemary, sugar and the zest of 1 orange. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce for about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, strain and allow to cool in the fridge.
Add spiced rum, ginger beer and cold cranberry mixture to a pitcher. Slice the orange and add remaining cranberries. Allow to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
Top up the pitcher with soda (Optional). Garnish each glass with a sprig of rosemary and an orange curl.
There are a few basic guidelines to remember when serving wine to guests in your home. These simple rules will ensure your guests can comfortably enjoy the wine you have chosen to share.
What and How Much to Pour: Champagne or Sparkling Wine is a great way to start, you could also serve a light refreshing white. When it's time for dinner the bigger, more robust reds can be brought out. Decanting a red wine or letting it breathe for an hour before hand can allow the wine to oxidize and the flavours will be released. Generally a 4 to 5oz. pour is appropriate. (about half of a regular wine glass)
Basic Food/Wine Pairing Guide:
Sauvignon Blanc – white or light fish, mild cheese, fruit
Pinot Gris - seafood or light tomato based pasta dishes
Gewurztraminer - spicy curry, salmon, anything with some spice
Chardonnay – grilled chicken, salmon, shellfish, and grilled fish
Cabernet Sauvignon – red meats, bbq steak, grilled and smoked foods.
Merlot – pasta, red meat, duck, smoked or grilled foods
Syrah – red meats, spicy pizzas, herbed sauces on red meat, turkey
A few more helpful wine pairing hints:
Intensely flavoured foods need intensely flavoured wines
Acidic foods need higher acid wines
Sweet foods need to be paired with a wine that is at least as sweet or sweeter
Avoid tannic wines with oily fish or hot spice
Pair off-dry to sweet wines to help counteract spice heat
Well salted meats make red wines taste less tannic and softer
Crisp acid whites pair well with salty food
Pair crisp acidic whites with fatty or deep fried foods
Temperature matters! The temperature can dramatically alter the chemistry of a wine.
Sparkling Wine or Champagne - Very Cold (5 to10C) White/Rose Wine - Cold (7 to14C) Let the wine chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. Red Wine - Cool (15 to20C) Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir or Gamay can be served just slightly chilled, while big, bold reds should be slightly warmer. Be careful during the hot summer months that reds are not served too hot, chill in the fridge for about 30 mins.
When pouring wine for your guests serve the ladies first starting with the most mature and moving clockwise. When refilling your own glass, ask the guests next to you if they would like a top up before you serve yourself. If there is wine open on the table guests will be able to help themselves. As a general rule most guests will have 3 to 4 glasses of wine during an evening, there are about 5 glasses in a 750ml bottle.
Most of all your guests will appreciate your hospitality. Stay calm, collected and enjoy the evening and your guests will too. If anything does go wrong, don't sweat it, laugh it off and carry on.