Olly Smith brews up Autumn cocktail treats

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As Hallowe’en on October 31 draws spookily near, TV drinks expert and celebrity Olly Smith has created four new cocktails to warm up those autumn evenings.

Olly Smith, who oversees The Glass House on Azura, Britain’s newest and largest cruise ship, said:

“On a dark, chilly night there is nothing better than gently brewing spices and spirits. They fill the house with the aroma of comfort and a sense of festivity. Autumn evokes magical smells of crackling fires and glorious tastes like ginger parkin and of course, it’s mulled wine heaven. My recipes here are for old favourites with a twist and new ones which will soon become legendary.”

Dragon’s Blood!

My kids love this – serves two.

10 ml Cassis
10 ml Grenadine
200 ml fizzy water
Garnish with a slice of blood orange.

For the full effect, make matching Dragon’s Blood ice cubes (use the above recipe but replace fizzy water for still, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze as normal). You can always customize it into a more grown up cocktail by adding a tot of blackcurrant vodka or sloe gin!

Mulled Wine

This is a simple drink to create – and you can easily customize your own version. The key is not to boil the wine, just keep it warm. You can add orange juice, brandy and sugar to the base, a clove or two, a knob of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick and you can load it with oranges, lemons and limes or try using slices of fresh mango for a tropical twist. The rule of thumb is keep tasting until it’s right – and don’t over do the cloves or they make it bitter!

Mulled White Wine

This couldn’t be simpler, choose a fruity leftover white wine, add freshly chopped pineapple, a few lemon wedges, honey and a cinnamon stick. Strain and serve with a sliced lemon garnish and sugar to taste (and you can give it a kick with a dose of leftover spirit – brandy, vodka, or Cointreau for an orangey tang).

Olly’s Secret Punch

Gently heat equal measures of leftover port, Cointreau and Southern Comfort topped up with fresh orange juice in a pan. Don’t let it boil. At the last minute squeeze two halves of blood orange into the pan and toss in the squeezed halves. I prefer not to add sugar as the port makes my secret punch gloriously sweet. Garnish with an orange slice and serve in glass mugs.

Olly Smith will be travelling on Azura regularly throughout 2010 and 2011 – for details see www.pocruises.com.

A variety of Olly’s cocktails are available on Azura this autumn.