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Good Taste: Festive Cocktails

Good Taste: Festive Cocktails

Christmas may be over, but the festivities are far from it. We plan to celebrate the new year in style with some home-mixed cocktails worthy of the occasion. Boozy, bubbly and spiced, we caught up with Ionut Tiprigan, head barman at Marylebone's foremost bar and kitchen, Bernardi's, to find out how to master the art of the festive cocktail.

On what makes the perfect festive cocktail . . .
Plenty of booze, bubbles and warming spices – we’re big proponents of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and star anise.

On the best cocktails to serve at home . . .
A Negroni, G&T, mulled wine and a any sort of spritz.

Ionut's master tips for making the perfect cocktail . . .

Start with a spirit, pick a glass, then work on your method of “cocktailing”. Finally, garnish your drink. My advice is, the simpler the better. Garnishes not only make drinks more attractive, but go some way to flavouring them. Think of the lemon twist on your Gin Martini, the orange on your Cosmopolitan and the sprig of mint on top of your Mojito. Depending on how well equipped you are, you can choose the most suitable method for preparing your drink. Building a cocktail is the easiest method – just pour everything in a glass and then add ice. If you have a shaker, the aggressive mixing motion helps to mix and chill multiple ingredients at once quickly and efficiently.


The Facts:

Count Camillo Negroni concocted this by asking the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin rather than the normal soda water. The bartender also added an orange garnish rather than the typical lemon garnish of the Americano to signify that it was a different drink. A very peaty whiskey gives our festive version a smoky kick.

20ml Peat Monster whiskey
25ml Amaro del Capo
30ml Belsazar Dry vermouth
2 drops of lemon bitter

Measure all of the ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass and fill with ice. Stir until cold and garnish with an orange half wheel.


The Facts:

This cocktail was created by the bartender Dick Bradsell in the late 1980s while at the Brasserie Soho in London for a young lady who asked for something that would, "Wake me up, and then fuck me up.”

50ml Vodka
25ml Illy coffee liqueur
Double espresso

Shake the ingredients together with plenty of ice for at least 20 seconds in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with three coffee beans.


The Facts:

The Margarita was invented in October 1941 at Hussong's Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, by bartender Don Carlos Orozco. One afternoon, Margarita Henkel, the daughter of the then German ambassador visited the cantina and Don Carlos, who had been experimenting with drinks, offered her one. The cocktail consisted of equal parts tequila, Mexican orange liqueur, and lime, shaken and served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass.

At Bernardi’s, our talented bartender Andrea Mongillo crafted the festive version of the cocktail, adding a touch of violet liqueur, and almond syrup.

50ml Tequila (I prefer white tequila)
15ml almond syrup
15ml Violet liqueur
25ml fresh lime juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour some grenadine into a saucer and soak half of the martini glass rim before sprinkling with salt and lime zest. Strain the chilled drink into the glass.