Friday, January 04, 2008

Holiday Drinks. Yum!

Here is a bottle of Advocaat, the most sought-after liqueur in Britain this Christmas! And why? All because of the 'Nigella Effect.' That's right, Nigella Lawson reminisced about Christmas Drinks Past on her new show, 'Nigella Express,' and that was all it took to get Britain out to the shops to buy 40% more Advocaat than last year.

It's all because the Dutch liqueur is an essential ingredient in a 'Snowball,' one of those sort of drinks that was popular 20 or 30 years ago, but which has since fallen out of fashion. However, Nigella single-handedly revived this cocktail by describing it in all its luscious detail, and now everyone wanted one, including my dad. Many attempts were made over successive days by both my dad and stepmum to snatch up a bottle of Advocaat, but without success, until one was finally snagged on Christmas Eve. Phew!

Advocaat is a yellow liqueur that was originally made by Dutch settlers in Suriname with avocados (hence the name), but when it was made in Holland itself, the Dutch didn't have access to those, and used thickened eggs instead. Advocaat is thus quite like eggnog, and is a love-it-or-hate-it sort of drink, whose ingredients include "a blend of egg yolks, aromatic spirits, sugar or honey, brandy, vanilla and sometimes cream (or evaporated milk)." (Thanks, Wiki).

To make a Snowball, you use one part Advocaat to three parts lemonade (in England lemonade is a fizzy, clear drink, like Sprite) and a dash of lime cordial or lime juice. Stir and pour over ice cubes in a highball glass. It's a frothy delight, I tell you!

Another drink that my dad had a hankering for was a Kir Royale, which we all know is a mixture of blackcurrant liqueur (creme de cassis) and champagne. There are lots of variations – for example, a plain Kir is made with creme de cassis and white wine, whilst a Kir Normand is made with creme de cassis and Normandy cidre. But our Kir Royale was delicious. Like grown-up Ribena. Here it is in all its burgundy loveliness.

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