Pile of pies.  More like pie-el.  Amirite?
Can’t stand the heat? Then get a chilled cocktail!

1 ½ shot ginger infused white rum
½ shot red port
½ shot Grand Marnier
½ shot lime cordial
(makes enough for two)

Put all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake away.
If you don’t have a fancy-pants cocktail shaker, you can put it all into a flask or other sealable vessel with the ice, shake it up good and hard and then strain it through a sieve!

Hit or miss:  Hit! (whoo, port!)

Dusting hands off on my apron, leaving twin smears of flour over the Chihuahua dressed like Michael Jackson in Bad (I don’t know either, it was a present some years ago), I check the clock again.  Not enough time left until I go to my friend’s house bearing a tray of mince pies.

The house is clean, however, sinks scrubbed and floors swept, carpet hovered and cat in hiding.  That at least is all done in preparation for New Years.  Suitcase upstairs is packed with enough clothes and underthings for two weeks away visiting family and friends.  So at least that’s not on my mind.

But this is the holiday for me, spending a lot of time running manically trying to get everything done in the last week.  You see, I like to make my gifts and being a baker that tends to be something edible.  With the exception of a Christmas cake (which can last forever if you souse it in enough brandy), that necessitates I am cooking the day before Christmas.  It’s certainly a sight to behold and usually ends up with me with scarlet cheeks from the heat in the kitchen.

All this cooking and cleaning needs some lubrication.  Anyone who’s juggled the timing of a roast dinner (getting all those things of different cooking times ready at the same time?!  Madness), or danced out of the way of the other cook trying to get the mother of roasts, the Christmas Dinner, onto the table for the hungry horde will tell you that sometimes you just need a little something to get you through.

Santa’s Kitchen Helper has the traditional yuletide flavours of mulled wine, with port, orange and ginger, with dash of lime to give it a zesty kick.  You could use fresh lime if you so wish.  To get a half shot of lime, you’d only need one average sized one usually.  You could get the same flavours from genuine mulled wine, of course, however, this is especially for those who cook the meal, and kitchens can get very, very hot when you’re cooking for Yuletide.  Shaken over ice for the relief of all those red-faced cooks.

Be mindful though, this is a 0-60 cocktail, it does have port, rum and brandy it in, afterall.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go ~

The moment of joy in any cook’s life is the moment when your ma, who is a perfectionist and a hard worker who inspires you to be better, says you can help out in the kitchen for the Christmas dinner.  It’s the moment you realise you’re good enough that she can trust you to not screw up what is arguably the most important meal of the year.  Maybe the idea of peeling potatoes and basting chickens doesn’t appeal to everyone, but there ain’t a person alive who doesn’t appreciate the end result of someone’s hard work in the kitchen.

But now I check the time again and realise I have to get my cheesy holiday jumper (shuddup, my mummy knitted it for me, you’re just jealous) and boots on, because it’s time to take my pies (which are made with Mercer’s mincemeat, by the way

– look out for them, very good mincemeat mix) to see my Manchester friends before I go off to Ma’s.

Remember to drink sensibly and never drive if you have.  Have a safe, but very merry holiday everyone.

Happy Yuletide!

Published by Mark Brassington

Father and Husband. Works in Corporate Banking. Loves Books, Comics, Cycling, Music, Games, going to the Gym and Writing.

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