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A pitcher of Christmas punch

How to use up bottles from the cocktail cabinet


Our resident drinks expert Miriam Nice on all things cognac and punch, plus tips for using up those bottles at the back of the cupboard from consultant Deano Moncrieffe.

Expert advice: forgotten favourites

Specialist drinks consultant Deano Moncrieffe shows us how to breathe new life into bottles of booze that might otherwise be gathering dust. Here’s how he’d use the classics many of us have at home...

For a light, refreshing serve, combine two parts triple sec with ¼ part lime juice, then top up with soda water. I also add some orange zest to bring out the lovely citrus notes.

Sidecar cocktail

Try using triple sec in a sidecar cocktail


Probably one of the most underrated low-alcohol drinks is dry vermouth and tonic. If you have some rosemary, pop it in the glass, too – it highlights the herbal notes in the vermouth. If you prefer a cocktail, make a devil’s own: it’s equal parts vermouth, triple sec and gin, plus a dash of Angostura bitters. Don’t be scared by the name – it’s super-tasty and easy to make. Just put everything in a cocktail shaker, then shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Three vermouth cocktails in tall glasses

Best vermouth cocktail recipes

Crème de menthe is making a bit of a comeback, so expect to see it on a few cocktail menus very soon. I love to make a minty Irish coffee, using 50ml Irish cream liqueur, a mug of black coffee, some almond milk and 15ml crème de menthe. Top with a little double cream and garnish with a mint sprig.

Irish cream tiramisu

Try Irish cream liqueur in our Irish cream tiramisu

If you’re a fan of spicy bloody marys, you’re in for treat. Add 20ml sherry to yours to balance the acids from the lemon or lime, and the spice from the Tabasco.

A negroni cocktail places next to large ice cubes

Best sherry cocktail recipes
The best sherry for Christmas and beyond

Deano Moncrieffe is a multi-award-winning consultant and owner of Hacha Agave ( He also created the 2020 cocktail of year, the mirror margarita. @dondeanomoncrieffe @hachabar

We still love... cognac

Cognac in a glass

This French brandy is made in the Cognac region near the west coast of France. It’s one of the most prestigious and sought-after spirits in the world, and can suffer a stuffy image because of this. But, good cognac is sublime. When enjoyed neat, there are endless complexities to uncover. It’s also a comparatively neglected cocktail ingredient, and makes a great last-minute gift. Find out how to use cognac in a sidecar cocktail.

Bar dictionary: punch

Christmassy punch in a pitcher

Punch has a proud history from the time of Charles Dickens and even before. It can be warming or cooling, but punch is always perfect for social occasions. It allows you to blend ingredients in a way that would be difficult to achieve in a single serving. Some punches can sit happily for the duration of an afternoon or evening, and the flavours will continue to mingle and improve.

Best fruit punch recipes
Christmas punch recipes
Non-alcoholic punch recipes

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