I am all about easing into a new year – no throwing myself into unattainable goals, no rushing back to the gym and no Dry January. That said, I do enjoy the slower pace that January brings and tend to opt for a ‘damp’ month. A Bloody Mary is the perfect drink at this time of year, not least to soothe the hangover of the month before but also because it is one that is just as delicious booze free. I often make two jugs, one virgin and one bloody.
I like to mix my Bloody Mary a few hours before serving and allow the flavours to marry while it chills in the fridge. Adding the ice to the jug too early will make for a watery Bloody Mary, which nobody wants, so I prefer to pour over ice rather than add ice to the jug. For best results, keep your vodka and tomato juice chilled ahead of making. The best Bloody Mary has a good kick in my opinion. I like a good slosh of good-quality vodka and a generous dose of pepperiness in the form of both Tabasco and horseradish. Horseradish might seem like an odd addition to a cocktail, but it takes it to the next level. I am a self-confessed heat fiend, so I usually add a splash of hot sauce as well, but this isn’t essential.
I like to serve my Bloody Marys alongside a salty snack. Banderillas (which translates as little flags) take their name from the pointed darts traditionally used during bullfights and are a popular snack in Spain. I was first introduced to them at one of my favourite London restaurants, Barrafina. As a general rule, anything goes on a banderilla as long as it can be skewered onto a cocktail stick, but you’ll usually find an olive of some sort, a spicy pickled pepper or chilli and oily fish such as tuna or anchovy. I like to use quail’s eggs in mine and finish them with fresh chives as they do at Barrafina. Pearl onions and gherkins are also good contenders for a banderilla.
THE THREE THINGS ALEXANDRA'S LOVING THIS MONTH
Enamel Bake Set, £85 | Falcon Enamelware
January is all about comfort bakes for me. Crumbles, gratins and one-tray dishes that I can easily throw into the oven. These enamel dishes are my go-to for cosy cooking. I love that they are stackable and space saving too.
Tea Towels, £25 | Polkra x Julianna Byrne
I recently did a much-needed refresh of my tea towels and love this set from Polkra in collaboration with the artist Julianna Byrne. Inspired by her time in Brazil and India, the bold and playful designs look fabulous in any kitchen.
Cane Candle Holders, £78 | Salvesen Graham
I am quite fanatic about lighting candles in January. They bring a comforting glow to even the simplest of weeknight suppers. I’ve got my eye on these green candle holders from Salvesen Graham and love the cane design.
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