Post 145. New Year Resolution

I have three part-written blog posts but somehow seem unable to complete them. My resolution for 2023 therefore is to get my act together and give you at least one post a month. I’ve just crept in with January.

I’m not sure what impression of me you all have, but Friday 13th was the biggest day ever for checking my blog online, with 25 of you seeing if I’d managed to post anything without sending out a reminder. I guess you’re starved of cocktail ideas and I also haven’t told you what the latest Christmas cake decoration was like, after the sinking fleet of 2018 (see Blog Post 10 from 15th January 2019), the boring one of lockdown 2020 (see BP 114 of 31st December 2020) and the missing ones of 2019 (I was in Sydney, see BP 65 of 2nd January 2020) and 2021 (not sure what happened then, we were visiting my brother Miles, but I did make a cake, in fact three).

This Christmas (well, last year strictly speaking) I didn’t have the energy to decorate the cake so left it to JD. I think I’m pretty safe in saying it’s his first attempt at Christmas cake decorating and he didn’t hold back.

Shortly before Christmas, he’d decided that the train layout table he had started to build for little George’s Hornby trains before this century was never going to be completed, so he dismantled it (yes, more firewood for the bonfire). We had a box of the items he was going to put along the train tracks, which included a few trees. As you can see, they were put to very good use. They did tend to shed tiny green bits onto the ‘snow’ but we’ve not suffered any ill effects.

Miles had been trying to come to stay with us at Christmas for three years before he succeeded. For 2020 we had Covid and the inability to travel. In 2021 the house renovations meant nowhere to sleep so we went to him. Finally in 2022 he and his wife Maz and two dogs (the labradoodle Frank and goldendoodle Stanley) managed the trip from Scotland. George and Yangtze came too so we had a great time. As a pre-Christmas present, I was given an ‘Advent Calendar’ of jigsaws.The Kindle gives you an idea of the size of each. As there were only twelve, I had to ration myself and only do one on alternate days. Torture!

Post-Christmas we had a day to ourselves and then for New Year we had five other visitors. Plus, another two dogs (Adie’s brother Alfie and his younger companion Lara). We were given three different gin ‘bottles’ for Christmas so we had to try them.

I decided that we’d have a choice of cocktails and created seven but did not expect everyone would want to try every one! (Silly me). Rather a lot of glasses for washing the next morning.

What, you want the recipes as well as the names? Very well. In the order in which they appear just to keep it easy for you. They are adapted from recipes in Mixology, Difford’s Guide and Waitrose.

English Rose: 1 part grenadine, 3 parts apricot brandy, 3 parts dry vermouth, six parts gin and lemon juice to taste.

Marigny: 22.5 ml each of Cognac, Calvados and lemon juice (yes, that much), 15 ml green Chartreuse, 10 ml sugar syrup and a dash of bitters.

Apple Turnover: one part vodka (apple if you have it), two parts apple juice (or more if you want to weaker) and a splash of crème de menthe.

East India No. 2: 50 ml brandy, 10 ml triple sec, 10 ml pineapple juice (or more as above), dash of bitters.

Minnie-the-Moocher: 25 ml gin, 20 ml dry vermouth, 15 ml Benedictine, a dash each of absinthe and bitters.

Coffeegroni: equal parts coffee liqueur (Tia Maria or Kahlua), rose vermouth and Campari. Great if you like Negroni but as I don’t, I passed the bottle onto one of the party who does. It might have gone down their sink, I didn’t dare ask. Actually, I have just had it returned to me as too bitter even for the Negroni lover, so it’s gone down my sink. That should clear the drains.

Peppermint Coffee: 100 ml coffee, 40 ml Drambuie, 3 drops peppermint essence (although I used rather more crème de menthe instead).

January has been somewhat disjointed as we had what is fast becoming our annual trip to Spain to see the offspring there. Unfortunately, we didn’t keep up to date with the weather forecasts and so packed nice warm weather clothing when what we needed was British winter weather clothing. We had a few days in Seville and ate some very good seafood, including one meal at the Michelin restaurant Canabota. We had 15 courses but I’m not going to give you 15 photos. Check out their website:

I don’t usually point out odd translations due to my lack of languages, but we were rather intrigued by this one.

We went on a boat trip up the river Guadalquivir with a rather under-whelming commentary (mostly about the bridges you encounter on the river) in six languages. The English one sounded so bored that I’ve forgotten what we were told. If you’re a bridge lover (pontist?) then here’s the website to tell you all about them.

The bridge in today’s header had something to do with the 1992 Expo, the umbrella structures are to protect people from the heat. Obviously no-one visited in January that year.

I couldn’t avoid taking a picture of some boats; this is a full-size replica of The Nao Victoria, in which the Portuguese navigator Magellan sailed, and which completed the first circumnavigation ever. (In another link with Clipper and JD, Magellan visited the Philippines (named after the king of Spain), although unlike us, he didn’t leave there as he died in a fight).

That’s enough for this month, I’ll see if I can finish my pending posts then I can relax for the next three months!

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