Nowhere as near as fancy and as well prepared as the concoctions dreamt up by Rivington bar manager and mixologist Piotr Jedrzejewski, mine is based on my favourite cocktail, a whiskey sour but with some Christmas twists.
Piotr has infused pine needles for weeks on end to create a tincture to mix with the Plymouth Dry Gin for the May They Never Meet cocktail (£8.50, and a ying to the yang of the sweet Cornish Dressed Crab starter and also enough to share between two as a substantial drinking snack at the bar) down at the very cosy and Christmassy Rivington bar and restaurant.
He also made his own peppery, nutmeg and rehydrated orange peel-laden vermouth mix for his version of a Christmas gin martini Absent Friends (£10, with Plymouth ‘Navy Strength’ Gin and, not being afraid of a good drink, my favourite). The best thing about it was the strip of orange zest trendily mini pegged on to the stem of the vintage glass, bringing a citrusy and aromatic waft of orange every time you drink.
Plymouth Gin has been around since 1793 and was a big hit within the Royal Navy at the time, hence a real naval theme to this limited addition cocktail list, including an ‘official vessel’ for the long cocktail The Willing Foe (£9 and pictured, right; involved a made-on-site pink peppercorn soda).
The Christmas cocktail menu is available throughout the Christmas period, as you might expect, and can pair with various dishes on the restaurant’s meaty (check out the Red Legged Partridge Ballotine with celeriac mash, £26.50). And with each cocktail you buy, you get to pick a message in a bottle from the Christmas tree with a gift inside (we totally forgot to do that though – too into the cocktails).
So much so, the following night, I had to create my own, VERY homemade gin cocktail. It’s not a patch on the professional versions at Rivington, but pleased me and my selected Guinea pig that evening:
Christmas Gin Sour
- Juice of 1 1/2 oranges
- 80ml Plymouth Gin
- 2 egg whites
- Nutmeg to grate
- Madecasse 80% chocolate to grate
- 1 tsp bitters
- 2 Maraschino cherries