Four Christmas cocktail recipes inspired by childhood

Bartender Jerrold Khoo making an old fashioned cocktail.
Bartender Jerrold Khoo making an old fashioned cocktail.PHOTO: THE FLAGSHIP

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - 

JERROLD KHOO
The Flagship
18/20 Bukit Pasoh Road

"When I was in my early teens, I started to drift apart from my family and spent many Christmas celebrations with my friends instead. But one particular Christmas, when I was 14, my mum took my siblings and me to Orchard Road to see the light-up (I remember the fake snow flying around Tanglin Mall). It was such a simple day but I'll never forget it because it was the kind of warm, intimate Christmas I had always wished for. The Home Alone movies on television that time were also my favourites, which is why my cocktail is a twist on the New York Sour - it has added 'warmth' from the use of chai spices."

MAKE IT YOURSELF: HOME SWEET HOME 

To make Chai Vermouth:
Ingredients
1 litre of sweet vermouth
10 cloves
10 white peppercorns
10 black cardamoms
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise

Method
Place all ingredients in a cooking pot and bring to a boil. Cool the mixture and strain the liquid into a bottle.

To make Home Sweet Home:
Ingredients

45ml cognac or brandy
20ml fresh lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
Dash of Fernet Branca
15ml chai vermouth
10ml red wine
Icing sugar
Grated coconut
Sprig of mint
Ferrero Rocher

Method
1. Combine the cognac/brandy, fresh lemon juice, chai vermouth and sugar syrup in a shaker. Add ice and shake hard for 10 seconds. Double strain into an Irish coffee glass and top up with red wine.
2. Garnish with icing sugar, grated coconut and mint sprig. Skewer the Ferrero Rocher chocolate with a bamboo skewer and place it on top of the glass.

GINA KENT
Anti:dote

Level 1, Fairmont Singapore
Tel: 6431 5315

"I grew up in the woods in Connecticut, and every winter I'd have snowball fights with my family. My drink is inspired by this memory. The woody notes of fir, bay laurel and juniper of the gin give one the feeling of drinking in the forest, while the minty intensity of the Menthe Pastille recalls the bracing cold and exhilaration of getting hit by a snowball. The look of the drink also reminds me of one of my favourite Christmas gifts, the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine. A Sno Cone is like a snowball or shaved ice. The machine was made of plastic and shaped like Snoopy: you lifted up the Snoopy figure at the top, filled it with ice cubes, and pushed it down while cranking a rear handle. Out would come the shaved ice which we would flavour with drink-mix packets. I remember bringing it to my playroom in the basement, keen to try out the icy treat even through it was a cold winter day."

MAKE IT YOURSELF: SNOWBALL FIGHT 
Ingredients
7 mint leaves
45ml St George Terroir gin
15ml Menthe Pastille
1 drop peppermint bitters (optional)

Method
1. Place mint in the bottom of a julep cup, mug or rocks glass. Tap lightly with muddler or wooden spoon to release the oils.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and top with crushed ice. Swizzle the drink by rolling a long-handled spoon between your hands.
3. Top with another cone of crushed ice, garnish with fresh mint leaves, and sprinkle with icing sugar.

KINO SOH
Highball Singapore

79 Kampong Bahru Road
Tel: +65 9452 5262

"Lately, I had a Milo and then drank some cream sherry, which reminded me of this particular memory. I was six years old. Christmas wasn't a huge affair for us since we were a traditional Chinese family but we did have a white foldable Christmas tree. There were these foil chocolates - change to 'foil' lying around from the opened hampers so, greedy me, I decided to eat them all, despite my sister's warning. Some of the chocolates had alcohol in them. Before I knew it, I got a bit sick and broke out in a cold sweat. Looking back, I believe I got drunk. But I remember falling in love with the chocolate and cherry combinations - they were sweet and sour at the same time."

MAKE IT YOURSELF: JUST A BITE
Ingredients
30ml Milo with milk 
15 ml Courvoisier V.S 
45ml Harvey Bristol cream sherry 
15ml Fabbri Amarena cherry syrup 
A dash of Mozart's chocolate bitters
1 Amarena cherry

Method
1. Add a sachet of instant Milo to 60ml of warm milk, mix well and let it cool.
2. Add all ingredients except the cherry into a shaker and shake well with ice cubes. 3. Fine strain into a large wine glass. Garnish with an Amarena cherry
Tip: you can cut the sherry to 30ml and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the cocktail.

DARIO KNOX
The Other Room

Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
Tel: 6100 7778

"When I was seven years old, my Italian family always gathered on Christmas Eve for a great Tuscan dinner. Of course, one of the indispensable Italian drinks was the Negroni cocktail. I was too young to drink but I wanted to feel like I was part of the party, chilling with the adults. My parents gave me a full cup of chamomile tea - I think they wanted to put me to sleep with the tea so they could continue their party without me. Some of my relatives added drops of their Negroni into my chamomile. I can still remember the taste: it was too bitter for a kid. I was called an ometto (little man) after drinking this blend of tea and alcohol. At first, I was in high spirits and then 10 minutes later, I was sleeping like a log. Mission accomplished for my parents!"

MAKE IT YOURSELF: SWEET DREAMS, LITTLE MAN
Ingredients

40ml Monkey 47 gin
30ml Cocchi Americano aperitif wine
20ml chamomile-infused Suze bitters
1 drop lemon bitters

Method
1.Add into all the ingredients into a tall glass and stir.
2. Pour into a tea cup filled with ice.