Mothers' Day Cocktails

As a key carer for my parents, I've continued to see them during the lockdown period. I appreciate that is a rare privilege, and many readers are finding it painful to be separated from family. With Mothers' Day coming up, I wondered what I could contribute and have come up with three delicious, classic cocktails that you can make for her, toast her with on a Zoom call or talk her through, so she can make it for herself with ingredients you've sent her.

Let's start with the oldest of the three, the Sherry Cobbler. This will appeal to any mum who loves a good sherry. It is the drink for which the paper drinking straw was invented, and it gets a mention in Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit. It's a refreshing mix of sherry and fruit juice. You can use any juice you enjoy, and I've made it with lots of different juices: pineapple, orange, apple and pear all work very well. It doesn't work well with pale sherries, but is great with Amontillado, Oloroso or cream sherry.

Sherry Cobbler

75ml medium sherry
5ml Maraschino liqueur
5ml sugar syrup or honey
15ml of fruit juice 
Lots of crushed ice

Fill a jug or shaker with ice cubes. Add the sherry, liqueur, syrup or honey and the fruit juice. Shake or stir until they are well mixed. Fill a glass with crushed ice and strain the cocktail into it. Garnish with fruit and serve with a straw.

My next suggestion is the famous Singapore Sling. This one's for adventurous mums who are ready to blend a number of ingredients for a wonderfully layered flavour. A basic sling is simply a mix of spirit, sugar, lemon and soda. What the Raffles Hotel did for the drink was add cherry brandy and Benedictine, to give it a complexity that is very special.

Singapore Sling
40 ml London dry gin
25ml lemon juice
25ml Benedictine liqueur
15ml cherry brandy
5ml sugar syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
a dash of orange bitters
50ml Soda water

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all the ingredients bar the soda. Shake very vigorously and strain into a highball glass. Add fresh ice and top up with chilled soda water. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and some fresh fruit.

Finally, my own Mum's favourite, a sweet Manhattan. This one is best for mums who like their drinks strong. This version of the Manhattan dates from the late 1920s and is noticeably sweeter than the modern version.

Sweet Manhattan
60ml Bourbon or Rye whiskey
25ml sweet red vermouth
5ml Maraschino liqueur or Cointreau, according to taste
3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Put a couple of ice cubes in a heavy-bottomed glass. Add the cocktail ingredients and stir gently for a few moments. Garnish with a cocktail cherry if using Maraschino or a twist of orange peel if using Cointreau.

You can watch me make all of these cocktails in this video from the "Lockdown Lunches" series:

Next time: the mid-morning Madeira. 


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