The Spirit Level Christmas Cocktails

Cocktail Recipes from The Spirit Level

Myfanwy Faulkner has put together a Christmas menu for you to try at home

The Spirit-Level is a new venture; born out of a long friendship and life-long love of cocktails. One of my happiest childhood memories is my grandad teaching four-year old me how to make a pink gin behind the bar of his tennis club. I loved the magic of swirling the dark bitters around the glass, and watching the gin turn bright pink when poured it on top. In my grandad’s defense it was the 80’s and different rules applied to child-rearing. I later learnt that my great granny had been the land-lady of a famous (possibly infamous) Irish pub in Kilburn in the 20s and 30s, so serving drinks is obviously in my blood.  

Somehow life took a different direction: I ended up as a history teacher and my endless mixology research and cocktail experimentation seemed destined only to benefit my grateful friends and family. This all changed one fateful night when I met up with and old friend Georgia, and after a few too many glasses of Negroni, she told me about the bloody Mary trailer of her dreams.  Within weeks we were planning our first pop-up cocktail night at Tilt Kitchen (5 Ways), and we’ve never looked back. 

Georgia is a talented vegan and vegetarian chef, and when it comes to the art mixology, she is part-magician, part-scientist. She makes all our bitters, liquors, syrups and even our own fresh vegan foamer. This, combined with my love of cocktail history and classic recipes is the foundation of our unique signature cocktail menus. We use seasonal ingredients, high-quality spirits and unrefined sugar sources. You will never find any commercial syrups or mixers behind our bar, and our customers keep coming back for more. 

We currently have regular pop-up nights at a range of venues across Brighton & Hove and offer bar and catering services for private parties and corporate events. Our nights offer fabulous drinks, fresh bar snacks and great music in a welcoming and social atmosphere. 

Our next two pop-up nights are:

17th December at Café Rust in Hove 6-11.30pm

NYE party at Tilt Kitchen (ticketed event) 8pm-1am 

We are also selling bottled cocktails and cocktail accessories at Florence Road Market on the 3rd and 10th of December. 

For inquiries about private parties or to make a booking get in touch via Instagram @thespirit_level or on WhatsApp 07973288550 

We have put together a Christmas menu for you to try at home, with simple ingredients and equipment you will already have in your kitchen. 

Christmas Cocktail Menu 

The Wassail 

The history of cocktails can be dated back to the ancient Egyptians using dates and other fruits to flavour their beer. Here in Britian, early Celtic people drank a spiced drink based on hard cider, known as wassail. The tradition progressed to people going from door to door, singing and offering a drink from the wassailing bowl in return for a gift. After the introduction of Christianity, this morphed into carol singing.  This hot punch recipe pays homage to this old tradition. 

Ingredients for four drinks 

800 ml apple cider (we used Aspell’s Cru) // 200ml spiced rum (Deadmans Finger is a good option) // 150g golden demerara sugar // 1 orange // 100ml water// cinnamon sticks // star anise //cardamon pods// fresh ginger

Method 

Put the sugar in a large pan, squeeze in the juice from the orange, add water and spices. Heat slowly to create a spiced syrup base for your cocktail. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow spices to infuse. Next, pour in the cider and heat (if this is a party, you can keep this mixture warm for up to an hour or so). When you are ready to serve strain out the spices using a sieve or tea strainer, reheat and add the rum. Pour into sturdy glasses and garnish with a cinnamon stick and some star anise. 

Aperol Sbagliato 

Bucks fizz for Christmas breakfast has been a popular choice since the 1980’s, don’t be fooled by people calling it a mimosa. It’s a lovely drink but maybe it’s time for a change. Our creation is the handsome love child of a Negroni Sbagliato and an Aperol Spritz. 

Ingredients for 4 

Approximately ½ bottle of Prosecco // 150ml Aperol // 150ml sweet vermouth (Martini Rosso does the job) // gold luster (from baking section in any supermarket)// orange peel 

Method 

Pour Aperol and Vermouth into a jug or mixing glass with ice, stir with the ice for 1 minute. Pour the liquid into 4 glasses and top up with prosecco to your taste. Take a decent size piece of orange peel and twist it over the drink to release the oil, then rub the peel along the rim of the glass, pop into the glass or make a fancy peel garnish by watching You Tube. Spray the top of the glass with gold spray. If you want to make the drink less alcoholic, you can also try adding fresh orange juice or soda to taste. 

The Penicillin 

This gorgeous smoky drink is packed with everything you need to keep the winter sniffles away. Best drunk in front of a roaring fire in a Christmas jumper. In the bar we make ours with fresh ginger juice and black cardamom bitters, but we have made this recipe more accessible for the home bartender. 

50ml blended bourbon (we use Buffalo Trace)// 20ml fresh lemon juice// 20ml honey and ginger syrup (recipe below)// 10ml smoky whisky (we use Talisker Storm Single Malt)// crystalized ginger 

First you need to make the honey and ginger syrup. Add 1 part honey to 1 part water and chopped fresh ginger (the more you add the spicier it will be) into a pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes. You can use immediately but ideally leave to sit overnight and then strain out the ginger. 

Pour all ingredients, expect the smoky whisky into a shaker (jar) over ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a whisky or negroni glass. Add fresh ice to the glass (we use giant ice cubes for this). Pour the smoky whisky over the back of a spoon, so it floats gently on top of the glass. Garnish with two pieces crystalised ginger on a cocktail stick. 

The Metropolitan 

This one is a twist on the cranberry packed classic Cosmopolitan, we have replaced traditional vodka with a ‘London Dry’ gin to give it more depth of flavour. This pink fruity crowd pleaser is a simple shake cocktail, perfect for a Christmas party. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker or strainer, use a big jar and a tea strainer.  

Ingredients for one drink (multiply as needed) 

50ml ‘London Dry’ style gin (we use small batch ‘Hastings 1066’)// 25 ml triple sec or 15ml Contreau // 25ml fresh lime juice // 100ml cranberry juice // lime wheel garnish 

Method 

Put ice in the shaker, pour in ingredients and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into martini glasses or cocktail coupes. Garnish with lime wheel or fresh cranberries.

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