Fri 9 November 2012

As The Thinking Drinker’s – aka Tom and Ben – prepare for their show The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol by pouring out lots of exciting looking drinks, we decide to give them a hand and get their reliable run down of the best drinks to enjoy as the nights get darker, and the days get colder. Cheers!

Meantime London Porter, top tipple for anyone sat by the fire this Christmas, staring into the flames, alone, wondering why she left you.

Angostura 1919, a sweet and sexy rum. Plenty of Caribbean carnival spirit to cast a bit of sunshine in your gob while it’s cold and grim outside.

Pernod absinthe, give it to the dodgy relatives after the turkey and watch them get weird.

Hobo Craft Czech Lager, a proper bohemian lager brewed the way it should be. Blows the doors off the mass-marketed bland cooking lagers that everyone buys before Christmas.

The Bengal Hot Drops, a perfect pick-me-up. Charles H Baker Jr isn’t always celebrated for the recipes in his entertaining Jigger, Beaker, & Glass. Even so, this drink needs a mention, if only for the name. Baker says that when in India, the Far East or the tropics, ‘we sometimes become a prey – through nourishment on too-ripe fruits or from other cause – to what the old British medicos loved to call “coliks, grypinges, spleenes, vapours and other flatulencies, or scours”’.

Ingeredients: 45ml/1.fl oz cognac
45ml/1.fl oz blackberry brandy
dash oil of peppermint
3 dashes Jamaican ginger syrup
ice cubes
freshly grated nutmeg

Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg, and ‘waft up a prayer to any patron saint and hope for the best’.

Stinger, a classic digestif. Alec Leamas enjoys the odd Stinger in Berlin in 1954 in John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Considered more sophisticated than a Grasshopper, it was popular long before the latter, turning up after dinner just before Prohibition. This one is like After Eights in a glass. With booze.

60ml/2fl oz cognac
30ml/1fl oz white creme
de menthe
ice cubes

Shake the ingredients well with ice and strain into a glass.

For more delicious drinks lookout for Tom’s book: World’s Best Cocktails: 500 Couture Cocktails from the World’s Best Bars and Bartenders By Tom Sandham, Photography by Rob Lawson. Published by Jacqui Small, £30.

The Thinking Drinker’s Guide To Alcohol is at Soho Theatre until Saturday 10 November.

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