Hot Lists Tuesday, February 9th

Valentine's Day cocktails to try at home

Get your Don Draper on with these easy Valentine's Day cocktails, each one made with Herefordshire ingredients. Created (then tried and tested) by Herefordshire Live's Adam Knight.

black and white alcohol bar drinks

The Valentini

A pretty-in-pink take on a vodka classic. Has the Goldilocks factor - use a touch more 'Fraise' liqueur if you like things sweet, a touch more Vermouth if you like things dry.

For: Vodka lovers, party girls, Made In Chelsea fans.

Ingredients (per drink)
5 fresh strawberries
2 fresh mint leaves
50ml Chase Rhubarb Vodka
12.5ml British Fraise Liqueur (made by Jo Hilditch, of Herefordshire's British Cassis)
12.5ml Vermouth (you can sub in a white wine such as Ledbury-based Sixteen Ridges' Pinot Noir.

How to:
1. Stick your glasses in the fridge - preferably proper martini glasses.
2. Muddle 4 halved strawberries in your cocktail shaker or use the end of a rolling pin to gently smush up the strawberries in the washed out jam jar/sports bottle you will be using.
3. Add the mint, the booze, and some cubed ice and shake it for about 20 seconds.
4. Grab your glasses out of the fridge, and put a halved strawberry in the bottom of each.
5. Strain it into the glass using a strainer, a sieve or a a lid - basically anything to hold back the ice, mint and mushed strawberries.

Tip: Don't be tempted to slow dance with a martini glass in hand, especially if you've already had a couple - your partner will end up with a strawberry-flavoured back.

The Don Draper Matchmaker

A timeless classic (it's pretty much a Gin Gimlet) that will start your Valentine's evening with so much class, you'll feel like you're in your own MGM masterpiece. Think Audrey Hepburn, Don Draper, old-time romance with a double dose of Chase gin.

For: Grown-ups, gin-drinkers, anyone planning on cooking more than one course.

Ingredients (per drink)
37.5ml of freshly squeezed lime 
12.5ml Chase Elderflower Liqueur 
50ml Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin

How to:
1. Use a juicer or half and squeeze the limes - you'll need a bag if you're planning a few of these. Do this all at the start - bottle up any leftovers and put it in the fridge - guys, you don't want to keep disappearing throughout the evening and coming back five minutes later with a bulging forearm. 
2. Chill your glasses - this one can be sipped from a martini glass or from a tumbler packed with ice cubes.
3. Grab one of discarded limes and use a sharp blade to cut off a strip of rind 2-3 inches long, and an inch wide. Flip it over and use the knife to remove as much of the white stuff as possible, and then trim the edge to neaten it up.
3. Add the ingredients into you shaker/jam jar etc with cubed ice and shake for 20-30 seconds.
4. Pour it into your glass, give the lime rind a little squeeze into the top of the drink and drop in on in there.

Tip: If you've got time, have a play around with garnishes. A slice of lime, with one cut through the flesh so it can balance on the rim of the glass, will accentuate the citrus, while dropping a small sprig of Rosemary in the top will do something totally different.

The PJ and Dunkerton's (Ready to RUMble)

A rough n' ready rum punch that pirates used to drink on Valentine's Day (true). Feel free to garnish till it looks like a jungle and serve in a flagon for said effect - or pour over cubes in a glass for a very sip-able long drink that uses the Shire's own Dunkerton's cider.

For: Bikers, hikers and fire-lighters. Anyone whose menu's more fun n' filling, than pan-seared scallops. Anyone who's ever ordered a Captain Morgan's or a pint of cider with ice. 

Ingredients per drink:
Fresh ginger - one thumbnail-sized piece for the drink, a bigger slice to garnish.
3 fresh mint leaves
3 slices fresh orange
25ml of fresh lemon juice
12.5ml sugar syrup
12.5ml of Chase Marmalade Vodka
37.5ml of Old J Spiced Rum (or equivalent spiced rum, but try and get Old J)
Top with Dunkerton's cider to taste - anywhere between a quick dash and 200ml

How to:
1. Squeeze those lemons, use a juicer if possible. Buy a bag and do a load in advance. If you have some spare, cut them into slices for garnish.
2. Make some sugar syrup, 2 part sugar to 1 part hot water. Don't stop a-stirring until it's dissolved, and like the lemon juice, do extra and put it in the fridge.
3. Use a muddle or the end of a rolling pin to smash the ginger for a good 10 seconds in your cocktail shaker/jam jar etc, add a couple orange slice, smash them up, then add your mint leaves - don't smash them as it can make them taste bitter but you can twist them lightly in your hand to wake up the flavour.
4. Add the lemon juice, sugar syrup, Marmalade Vodka and Spiced Rum (this can be made using just the spiced rum if necessary) to your shaker, add a load of cubed ice and shake for 20-30 seconds.
5. Fill up your glass/mug/vase with cubed iced and strain the good stuff in - you need to catch the bits of ginger until the glass is around two-thirds full. 
6. Finish it off with Dunkerton's cider, anywhere between a quick dash and 200ml, and stir the whole thing with a straw or a long spoon. Stir in a slow circular motion, and then bring the spoon all the way up and down vertically a few times.
7. To garnish it, throw in as many or as few slices of ingredients from the recipe as you want. For mint, a sprig or a leaf sit well against a straw on the edge of a glass, lemons and oranges can both be cut into half-moon slices and cut to sit on the rim of the glass. Ginger can be cut into long strips and placed horizontally, pinned into place by a straw.

Tip: Don't mess around, bang some Toots and the Maytal's on your playlist and make a big old jug of this stuff. Multiply the portions by six, prep it all in the afternoon, shake and strain it all into a jug that you can keep sealed in the fridge and then all you have to do later is pour it into a glass with ice, add the cider and stir.

The Ricardo Rosé

A take on champagne cocktails so drinkable you can surprise your partner with one for breakfast. As long as they don't have to drive to work. Uses a knockout sparkling rosé from just outside Ledbury.

For: Anyone who likes bubbles, anyone who likes Rick Ross, anyone who drank so much Prosecco over the last 12 months they no longer know what it tastes like.

1 fresh raspberry 
20ml Chase Marmalade vodka
200ml of Sixteen Ridges' Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé
Dash of Angostura bitters

How to:
1. Pop that bottle. 
2. Place your raspberry in the bottom of the champagne flute, pour in your Marmalade vodka, add a dash of bitters - practice using a little flicking motion into the sink before trying into the glass, you only want a couple of spots otherwise it'll hijack your drink.
3. Top it up with sparkling rosé.
4. Look at it, it may need a gentle stir if the ingredients haven't quite mixed.
5. Stand on a chair, place your thumb half-way across the top of the bottle of rosé and use the remainder of the bottle to shower your partner, just like a Grand Prix - because with this cocktail you won Valentine's Day.

Tip: If you haven't got a bottle stopper, drop a tea spoon handle first into the neck of the bottle between drinks to keep the fizz.


You can buy your Herefordshire booze direct from Lyonshall-based British Cassis, Ledbury-based Sixteen Ridges', and Chase Distillery, just outside Hereford.

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