On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two Turtle Doves
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.
Okay, so day 2 is looking a bit trickier. Nothing containing or featuring turtles or doves immediately springs to mind. A quick internet search though brings up a cocktail called a Turtle Dove;
2oz vanilla vodka
2 oz Frangelico
1 oz Amaretto
1 1/2 oz full fat milk
Shaken over ice and strained into a Martini glass.
Apart from the fact that it sounds like an alcoholic milkshake (one of my least favourite drinks - milkshakes that is, not alcohol!) it’s also not very imaginative.
Back to the drawing board then, or in this case google, to see what else I can find.
Now doves are generally considered a symbol of love, so maybe that gives us something more promising to work with? Turns out it does. The Phonecian goddess of love, Astarte, is said to have hatched from an egg, warmed by two turtledoves, on the banks of the Euphrates river. The source of the Euphrates is in Turkey (appropriately Christmassy I thought) where the national drink is the anise-flavoured Raki.
Day 2 then in our Christmas countdown, Raki! Similar in style to Greek Ouzo or French Pastis, Raki is generally drunk diluted with cold water, turning it a milky white colour which the Turks call lion’s milk. I’m not much of a Raki connoisseur I must confess so if anyone has any recommendations please share them.
According to my advent calendar (yes, I still get one, my Mum buys me one every year!) there are 12 days to go til Christmas, which made me think of the song 12 Days of Christmas. You know the one, ‘On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a partridge in a pear tree, etc etc’.
I also recently read a very funny wee book by John Julius Norwich about the 12 Days of Christmas giving an amusing insight into what the recipient really thinks of the 12 imaginative gifts her true love sends her, accompanied by illustrations by Quentin Blake. I’ve always liked Quentin Blake, ever since reading all the Roald Dahl books as a kid.
Anyway, back to drinks which is the whole point of this post - I thought it would be fun to do a wee Christmas countdown, finding drinks that tie in with each of the 12 days of Christmas. A quick google search showed that I was by no means the first to think of this little ploy so I’m going to try to go for slightly more tenuous connections* rather than the obvious.
So, Day 1 - A Partridge in a Pear Tree…
Well, the pear bit is easy, you could have Kopparberg Pear Cider, or Babycham for that retro vibe (as a bonus it has a Christmassy deer/reindeer type thing on the label) or even a Poire Williams for a little bit more class. But what about the Partridge? At first, I thought, a partridge is a game bird, so is a Grouse… some kind of Grouse and pear concoction maybe? That seemed a bit of a cop out though so after a bit of digging I discovered that the Partridge in a Pear Tree was originally intended as a gift of fertility - partridges being the reproductive equivalent of rabbits in ye olde days, and fruit trees often used in fertility rites, such as wassailing.
Wassailing apparently involved pouring a mixture of cider, honey, spices and pulp from a burst apple around the base of the fruit tree. Hmm, sounds a lot like mulled cider to me so day one is going to be mulled cider, whether you choose to drink it while dancing around a pear tree is entirely up to you!
* Disclaimer: My choice of drink is not a recommendation or an endorsement of said product, it is solely to do with how well I think it ties in with the Day of Christmas in question. If it happens to be palatable, or even very tasty, then so much the better but no guarantees!
I love this time of year - the build up to Christmas is well under way and everywhere is looking very festive with more Christmas lights and decorations appearing every day (when you can see them through the lashing rain/hail/sleet anyway!).
So, to get into the Christmas spirit, here are some ideas for some whisky/drink related Christmas decorations.
Now I don’t know about you, but in our house we go through a lot of wine. For some inexplicable reason we started chucking the corks into a big bowl in the living room rather than in the bin. Not sure why but it did result in us building up a bit of a cork mountain. What to do with them all? Just throwing them away didn't seem right so I decided to thread some onto ribbons to make Christmas tree garlands out of them, as you do. Now obviously I am a bit biased but I think they look pretty good hanging on the tree. As I mentioned though, we do go through a lot of wine, and there’s only so many cork garlands you can fit on one tree so we do have a bit of a surplus of cork garlands now! Any takers? I can always add some to the webshop…
My absolute favourite bit of whisky themed Christmas recycling/upcycling of recent years though has got to be the Jack Daniels barrel Christmas tree. (Have you seen the advert?) I want one! Sadly we don’t have a big enough garden or I would be round at Springbank trying to scrounge enough empty casks to build one for myself! … Maybe a tad excessive but hey, it’s Christmas!
To celebrate the launch of the new website, and cause it is nearly Christmas I am offering free worldwide postage on all orders until the end of the year. Merry Christmas!
Whisky Impressions is run by Kate Watt. Previously at Springbank and then Glenfarclas, I now design some whisky related stuff and write about it, and anything else that takes my fancy, on this blog.