Thursday, 29 September 2016

Fun fizz, wonderful wine and Christmas cocktail recipes from Asda

I'd like to start with an apology. Well, a number of apologies actually. To some strangers and some friends and my family who goodheartedly endured my drunkenness after an early festive drinks party with Asda.

I had to chuckle yesterday at the concerned email I had from my contact from the Asda PR team who was bemused by my silence after an invitation to a cocktail making workshop and wine tasting evening.

Asda Extra Special cocktails

She knows me too well. She said she emailed me again because I am normally very prompt to say yes or no to invitations but secretly I think she knows I would NEVER turn down cocktails.

Anyway, potential crisis averted, I hitched a lift to the railways station on my son's mate's Harley Davidson which started my evening in style. Mad, bad and dangerous to know? Or just mad?

Limping to Carnaby Street with my broken toe (long dull story involving a dark room and my son's shoes) I was looking forward to a civilised evening with a  touch of tasting.

Then I saw the room - laid out with over 100 bottles of wine. And spittoons. We won't be requiring those I thought.


Then I spotted the cocktail making equipment. Move over Tom, madmumof7 is in town now. I could not wait to get jiggy with my jigger and shake my cocktail shaker.

cocktail kit

I grateful accepted a glass of Prosecco and said "Hello" to the very lovely and knowledgeable Ed Betts, Asda's Wine Buying Manager and avoided his eye hoping he wouldn't remember me or my tipsy-ness at the last wine tasting event. His smile told me he totally remembered me. Oops! I do tend to get even louder when I drink. I know - hard to believe.

The nice chap from Tin and Glass Events who was running the workshop talked about mixology and measures and stuff and before long we were pouring and mixing and, crucially, tasting a gorgeous selection of cocktails made with Asda wines and spirits which would make any event Extra Special.

The cocktails we made had festive names. We started with a Bauble Blush  made with 25ml Asda Extra Special Gin, 10ml Elderflower Presse, 20ml pink grapefruit juice and 75ml Extra Special Prosecco. You make this one in the glass - just pour the first three ingredients into a champagne flute then slowly add the Prosecco.

Asda Extra Special gin and cocktail

Perfect for guests arriving for a party and a great one for those who prefer their cocktails on the sharper side.

Next we went onto Wine Wonderland. I liked this one a lot.  You can make it in a jug up to 2 hours ahead of the party or reduce quantities to make it in individual glasses. Fruity, fresh and very easy to drink!
cocktail recipes

Ingredients
50ml Asda Extra Special Pinot Grigio
50ml pomegranate juice
50ml orange juice
10ml cognac
fresh mint to garnish.
Method
"Clap" your mint between your hands to release the flavour and drop into jug or large glass. Add all ingredients, stir and chill. Add ice as your guests arrive.

A word about ice - apparently more is more when it comes to ice. You might think less ice would mean your drink is less likely to be watered down but the cocktail expert told us more ice means the ice melts slower and your drink is less watered down. Cue blank faces from us. OK so imagine snow - you make a snowman on the lawn. Snow melts, snowman remains. It made sense at the time.....

Moving on after a short food break (There was a three tiered festive pie on the table!) and we started to make after dinner drinks.

Brandy Blanket tastes like it sounds - warming and very Christmassy.

brandy cocktailIngredients
50ml Asda Extra Special Brandy
50ml apple juice
50ml ginger ale
orange peel and cinnamon optional garnishes.
Method
Fill a tumbler with ice. Add ingredients and stir. Garnish.

Now I don't like ginger ale and I am not keen on brandy but this combination was delicious. The room was getting a bit rowdy by this point with one happy journo proclaiming each new drink as her favourite!

The evening was drawing to a close. I could not feel any pain from my broken toe. I was having a bit of trouble following the cocktail making instructions but realised we were making the next drink, a Mudslide, in a jamjar to be drunk with a straw. It looked like I was not going to get to use the cocktail  shaker!

I may have whined (wined?) about this in a drunken fashion so the nice mixologist said I could tip my ingredients into my shaker and make like Mr Cruise. I'm about the same height as him but the resemblance ends there.

Normally though you could just make it in the glass. This cocktail was definitely my favourite. A real traditional Christmas drink.

Ingredients
25ml Asda Extra Special Vodka
25ml Tia Maria
25ml Irish Cream Liqueur
10ml milk
Method
Add ingredients and ice. Shake if it's in a shaker, stir if not.

Mudslide Christmas cocktail

You'll see we used Asda's Extra special gin and vodka in our cocktails. They've repackaged these into beautiful bottles which would make great gifts. Worried about the Asda bit? To be honest you have to hunt to spot the branding and once tasted no-one will care anyway.

Asda Extra Special Vodka

Heading reluctantly home I giggled and swayed my way to the tube paying no heed to my broken toe (which hurts A LOT this morning.) I somehow managed to find my way onto the right train and thought I'd message my friends to tell then about my lovely evening. Looking back at the messages I blush. There were a lot of GIFs and some fairly random trains of thought. Sorry girls.

Arriving at my home station I realised a friend had been in the next carriage. Which was probably quite full from all the people leaving my carriage as I giggled and snorted at my own hilariousness. Oddly she hadn't come to join me for the trip home.

My ever patient husband was waiting to pick me up and as it often does, the fresh air had increased the effect of the alcohol. By the time I got home I gather I put on quite a show for my older children and my son's friend.

I gather I was snoring within seconds of crawling into bed (and I do mean crawling!).

Must have been good quality stuff I drank though as apart from a slight headache and a sore toe I am feeling quite chipper today -hence the early blog post.

You can order wines and spirits online at Asda with free delivery on orders over £40. You can buy cases of wine, mixed or red or white or you can mix and match. There are wine advisors on hand if you are planning a big event like a wedding and bottles can be delivered to your event venue.

Unlike many wine suppliers though you don't have to buy a whole case. There's a minimum order of 6 bottles but since prices start at £4 a bottle this doesn't have to be an expensive order. Of course in store there's no minimum purchase!

You can choose from over 500 wines and 60 sparkling wines through customer rating, grape, region, price, colour and more and take advantage of extremely competitive Asda prices. Prosecco for £6 a bottle? Yes please! You can collect for free in store or choose to have the wine delivered.

Wine snobs be aware-there are some top award winning wines amongst the selection at prices which will make anyone smile. And for people like me who don't really know their Malbec from their Merlot there are lots of cheap and cheerful options for a Merry Christmas. Or Friday. Or apparently, Wednesday.

madmumof7 with cocktail shaker

Obviously this is a light hearted piece- please drink responsibly! Check out the Drinkaware website for a drink tracker, calorie and unit counter. 


Disclaimer: I was Asda's guest at the cocktail workshop - views and opinions remain honest and my own. Even when I'd sobered up.









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