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Saba mixologist Karim Mehdi shares his insider tips for the perfect cocktails

1. Keep it fresh. Cocktails taste best when you use fresh ingredients. You will get the best flavour from the fruit, and it’s also healthier.

2. Keep it seasonal. It makes more sense to use ingredients that are in season, as they’re less expensive and will help set the Christmas mood. Cranberries are perfect as an ingredient or garnish, as are nutmeg, pear, cinnamon, apples and figs.

3. Keep it simple. Some of
the best cocktails contain only three ingredients, so don’t over-complicate things. A classic daiquiri, for instance, contains rum, lime and sugar; an old fashioned has bourbon, sugar and bitters.

4. Keep it local. You can find some of the best products on your doorstep. Using local producers not only gives you the best and freshest ingredients, but also reduces your carbon footprint. Use local honeys and herbs, and there are some great Irish liqueurs and spirits too.

5. Keep it high quality. Using good quality spirits will give you the tastiest cocktails. Higher quality spirits give more depth, flavour, complexity and aroma.

Cocktails to wow

Getting into the spirit of Christmas means a festive mixed drink, and master mixologist Paul Lambert of The Blind Pig and Upstairs @ Kinara Kitchen has three tasty recipes to make foragathering most merry.

Bittered Sling
50ml VS Cognac
15ml sugar syrup
2 dashes orange bitters

Pour ingredients into a mixing glass(a pint glass will do) with ice. Stir to dilute and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish
with an orange zest.

Gingerbread Daquiri
50ml Bacardi Superior
17.5ml fresh lime juice
2 tsp caster sugar
10ml gingerbread syrup

Add sugar and lime juice to the shaker first.Stir.Then add rum and syrup. Add some ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Egg Nog Cocktail
35ml Advocaat liqueur
17.5ml dark rum
35ml fresh cream
10ml cinnamon syrup

Shake all and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a dust of ground nutmeg.

This article originally appeared in IMAGE’s December 2014 issue, make sure to check out the January issue, which is on shelves now.

LOVE this? Why not have IMAGE delivered directly to your door each month? Check out this month’s offer here.

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