Tag Archives: Drinks

Christmas Cocktail: Midwinter Warmer

Here is the second in our series of seasonal cocktails from our Bar Manager Iain. This Christmas cocktail is delicious, especially for hot chocolate lovers, and it will keep you warm on these cold winters’ nights. Pop in to our bar and our team will be delighted to make this for you.

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Midwinter Warmer

Ingredients:

  • Milkshake Glass
    Chocolate shavings for garnish
    350-500 Hot Chocolate
    25 ml Raspberry Vodka
    25 ml Thortons Chocolate Liqueur

Method of making:

  1. Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled milkshake glass.
  2. Top with whipped cream, if desired, and garnish with chocolate shavings.

    Dangerously delicious – Enjoy!

All Hallow’s Eve

The origins of the Hallowe’en are well established, but not always well known. Our Bar Manager Iain Hewitt sheds some light on this ever popular occasion, and offers some tasty beverages to go!

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Based on a Pict/Scots Celtic tradition and adopted by the Catholic Church and renamed All Hallow’s Eve in an attempt to ease the transition of the barbarian hordes to the new Christian sect; it has become one of the most popular holidays, especially in America, where the adopted tradition of trick and treating has become one of the most popular excitements for children and adults alike. This is slowly making its way over here, as kids look to supplement their sweet intake without having to wait the extra few days to go door to door with a stuffed Guido Fawkes.
Of course, more interesting to people of my mind-set are the parties that go on into the early hours, where the drink flows steady and the guests slowly slip into gentle inebriation. In that vein, of course there are a few interesting things you can do with the drinks to help the atmosphere of the party. Simple things like the addition of Blue Curaçao (a slightly tart orange liqueur) to orange or pineapple juice will turn things a nice sickly green; drop in some grenadine or a red liqueur such as Cherry Brandy or Campari and suddenly things start to look rather ghoulish (much like our special Hallowe’en Cocktail this year – the delightfully named Ectoplasm!). Of course you can mix those flavours up with the addition of whatever takes your fancy – a whisky adds a great smoky finish, while Fruity liqueurs can subtly amend the flavour in other ways – experimentation is the key. In the same way, you can mix things up long or short; in a classic martini glass, dropping things through can look particularly effective.
For alternatives, thick red liqueurs mixed with apple juice or even lemonade can look fantastic. Mixing Campari into a classic Collins is easy and interesting, but do look out for that sharp edge!
As I always say – experiment, find your own mixes, and what works for you works for you, but be wary of drinking too many before the kids have gone to bed!

Wine Tasting and Cocktail Making

Are you are looking for something a little different to reward your delegates with after a hard day’s work? Why not test our experts and try a wine tasting session before dinner? Julie Weston, our Events Manager, explains more.

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Blind tasting is always a fun way to challenge your taste buds, (don’t worry, no blindfolds are used). The wine is poured before you arrive to ensure there will be no cheating.

Throughout the session, our knowledgeable sommelier will give you a lesson in how to taste wine, and pass on lots of interesting facts about grape varieties and regions to wet your appetite for the tasting. And possibly help you determine their origin.

If you fancy yourself as a budding Tom Cruise, we could arrange a cocktail making master class, with plenty of testing and even the opportunity to mix your own creation!

Don’t have too much fun, in case there is a second day of concentration required!

Ask our conference experts about adding on something different to your residential conference, or for their team building ideas.

Wedding Tips at Donnington Valley

When planning for your wedding day, catering will be one of the biggest decisions you will make. The food is one of the main things your guests will remember from the day, what they had, was there enough, was there too little and how did the food reflect you as a couple? Here are our best tips.

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When it comes to deciding on catering for your big day there are a number of choices: a traditional three course wedding breakfast; a relaxed summer barbecue or even a Champagne afternoon tea. Try and be different – and think about the best bits from previous weddings you would have attended. Make it more about you and your partner.

Upon arrival following your ceremony, guests might be a little peckish; the perfect little appetiser would be individually handmade canapés. Time of year is key as to what this might entail – hot, cold, heavy or fresh. You might want the freedom to choose, some venues are more flexible here than others.

Drinks are also a very important part of the day and not everyone wants to drink, though some do! A range of beverages for your reception depending on the time of year including a Summer Pimms or hot winter cider toddy will go down well and don’t have to break the bank.

The main meal, often called the wedding breakfast, can come in a variety of guises – and our Head Chef, Kelvin Johnson, is happy to design a menu for our guests’ wedding day. Kelvin’s menus are influenced by the seasons, using the freshest ingredients from our local suppliers. Importantly for many, wines to compliment your menu sounds like a minefield but needn’t – our award winning wine sommelier, Chris Neeves would assist on selecting exactly what went with your chosen dish. Whatever you choose though, again consider what you and your partner like.

It is also nice to cater for others for example the vegetarians and children who might need something different to the rest. At Donnington we create ‘Little Meals’ – mini fish & chip cones or mini burgers and chips . If you have a large number of evening guests attending or have a family with a large appetite, a finger buffet is perfect, and we are able to customise to suit any dietary requirements. If you fancy something simple; a bacon, egg or sausage roll will go down a treat too and once the party starts can often be the saving grace!

And throughout the evening, something fun will keep everyone entertained and energy levels high! How about going for your favourite retro sweets, a popcorn machine or even candy floss! A great Summer treat is a slush machine which you can make alcoholic, adults only or even an ice cream stand- everyone loves ice cream!

It can be overwhelming trying to accommodate all of your family and friends’ needs. But most importantly remember the day is your day, and if you choose to have it at Donnington, we are here to make your day as special and memorable for you as possible.

Great British Summer Cocktails

The British Social Calendar is upon us – something that drink and food go hand in hand with. Whether making them at home or choosing from the bar menu, fresh, fruity cocktails needn’t be tricky yet will enhance the fun, attests Iain Hewitt, our Bar Manager.

Festive cocktails

 

Our Great British Summer is the season for cocktails. Whether you’re entertaining friends at home or out on the social scene (Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley to name a few) the fresh and varied flavours lend themselves to balmy summer evenings and picnics out on the lawn.

A personal favourite is the classic Tom Collins: homemade lemonade with a good shot of old fashioned Old Tom style gin. You can mix the same recipe up with a range of different bases, but somehow I always come back to Christian Jensen’s self-named 1830’s recipe Jensen’s Old Tom Gin. Naturally, adding summer fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into the mix before we shake makes for another experience altogether.

The same can be said for the Mojito or the Caipirihna: fresh fruit makes all the difference in these rum-based cocktails and when you throw in something extra into the concoction, you can tease your palate with a wholly different experience. Mixing things up like that is the mark of a true cocktail bar – somewhere you can trust the bar tender to adjust the recipes to your needs and desires at a moment’s notice (assuming they have a fully-stocked kitchen to help out with the ingredients!).

Champagne is a versatile drink on a warm summer’s evening, whether as an aperitif, alongside food or as a digestif afterwards. Simple additions like fruit purée for a Bellini (traditionally peach, though raspberry, strawberry or even mango purées are delicious too) is a longer, fresher drink that will keep you going for a while.

That said, alcohol, fun as it is, isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to cocktails, especially with kids present, being the designated driver, or if you just don’t fancy it. A good Florida Cocktail, Mockito or Cranberry Crush will refresh and hydrate wonderfully while keeping you sober to enjoy your days and evenings in the sun.

So now onto the making!

Summer Cocktails

The team at the Bacchus Bar has been creating new cocktails for the summer. Here are two new colourful cocktails to try using the delicious Italian aperitif, Aperol, made from oranges, herbs and roots.

Aperol Spritz 
This delicious drink is made of 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, 1 splash of soda, ice and orange. Extremely refreshing and light on the pallet.

Aperol Betty 
Slightly more fruity than the Spritz –  a true summer drink. Made of 2 parts Aperol, 1 part orange juice, 1 part grapefruit juice, ice and then shaken.

Both are ideal cocktails to enjoy on a summer’s evening at Donnington Valley.

Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa team.

Deliciously Fruity Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

As January is often the month where we cut down on eating and drinking, we have a number on non-alcoholic cocktails on the menu in the Bacchus Bar offering you a great alternative to the usual non-alcoholic drinks such as orange juice, lemonade and coke. Take a look below to find out how you can make two of our favourites – Demeter and Apollo.

Demeter

This drink provides a refreshing, yet graceful long drink. Made of strawberries, blackberries, fresh lime juice and lemons, these are all muddled together and then shaken. Once strained, the berry mixture is topped with orange juice and decorated with a swirl of lime and a strawberry, which gives a tangy, yet fruity taste!

Apollo

Named after the son of Zeus, our Apollo cocktail is a blend of cranberry juice, elderflower cordial and fresh orange juice. Simply mix all the ingredients, add to crushed ice and decorate with lemon and orange slices. This drink provides a light, fresh taste – perfect for a pre-dinner drink!

Try making these deliciously fruity non-alcoholic cocktails at home and let us know what you think. Alternatively, pop down to the Bacchus Bar and we will prepare one for you before dining in our award-winning WinePress restaurant.

Amit Rai
Food and Beverage Manager
Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

A Summer Coffee Cocktail

Coffee plays a crucial role in today’s modern society. In 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export in twelve countries. The coffee we use here at Donnington is Lavazza, an Italian roasted bean. Although coffee was not invented in Italy, coffee is very much part of the Italian culture.

Although coffee is traditionally served as a hot drink, it’s also a great ingredient for a perfect summer cocktail. Here at Donnington Valley we have our own range of cocktails named after Greek gods in keeping with name of our main bar, Bacchus bar.  Our coffee of the month is coffee cocktail Hades, a cool coffee digestive.

Hades is known as King of the Underworld, and the hidden wealth of the Earth and brother to Zeus.

How to make Hades.
50ml – Baileys
25ml – milk
25ml – cream
1 shot – Lavazza espresso shot
25ml – Jameson’s Whisky

Shake all ingredients together and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with chocolate powder and a coffee bean.

Why not stop by the bar at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa and try this or one of our other coctails? www.donningtonvalley.co.uk

Quick question for you coffee lovers what is the rarest and most expensive cups of coffee in the world?

A) Kopi Luwak

Rob Smith
Bar Manager

Al-Fresco Drinks

We are now coming into the summer period when temperatures are at their most favorable, and outdoor dining is becoming a popular option for a dinner party or hosting a gathering of friends. I have put together a list of my favorite Al-Fresco drinks, which are perfect for any occasion.

  1.  Citrus ice tea
    A refreshing option for an alternative to your traditional cup of tea. It’s an ideal accompaniment to a selection of sandwiches or cakes.
  2. Mojito
    A great way to start an evening, including fresh mint to enhance the flavour.
  3. Cosmopolitans
    A popular a classic cocktail, which looks as good as it tastes.
  4. Cucumber and elderflower spritzer
    A refreshing non-alcoholic option, ideal for re-hydrating
  5. Summer berry smoothie
    A healthy option packed with lots of fruit. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are all at their best during the summer months and add a real freshness to this drink.
  6. Traditional Pimms and lemonade
    A perfect pre-dinner option, perfect for special occasions
  7. Lychee Martini
    A lively martini with a hint of summer. A simple, but delicious drink with a hint of the exotic.
  8. Amaretto fizz
    Perfect for celebrating. For something a little fruitier than a simple glass of fizz, add a shot of amaretto and a 2 shots of orange juice to sparkling wine.

Our patio area, overlooked by the attractive pond area, provides a perfect setting for an Alfresco gathering. Stop by to enjoy casual drinks with family and friends or make a selection from our tempting menu and enjoy lunch or dinner in relaxed surroundings.http://www.donningtonvalley.co.uk/a_dining.asp