Bardinet brandy invites you to its ‘L’heure d’Apéro with delicious cocktail recipes

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bardinet christmas bottle - Food and Drink Scotland
2020: Bardinet VSOP Finest French Brandy. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

IF you’re looking to add a touch of flair to an otherwise flat festive season, the French tradition of ‘L’heure d’Apéro’ could be the answer to your prayers.

The practice which originates in France, invites friends and family to get together for a few hours after work, to drink, chat and nibble.

And after a year stuck in doors, the chance to raise a glass with our loved ones really should be treated as something to be celebrated.

As a result, Francophile author, Janine Marsh, has teamed up with Bardinet brandy to export the practice to the UK.

Janine explains: “As a life-long fan of all things French, and having lived in France for many years, I can say that one of my absolute favourite traditions is Apéro – and particularly so at Christmas time.

“An aperitif is both a drink and an occasion and for the French it’s part of daily life and culture. 

“It signals the time to stop work, to enjoy a glass of something delicious, a nibble and a catch-up with your favourite people any time between about 5 and 9pm, anticipated in the same way as you might anticipate the weekend.”

Just like many events this year, the practice can also be done virtually, in the form of a ‘Whatsapero’.

Janine’s top tips include keeping guest numbers relatively low, making sure the food keeps coming and always having something to listen to.

Janine explained: “Getting ready for Apéro is a big part of the ritual in France, so relax and take your time planning the drinks, the food and the setting for your guests.

“It’s all about fun, celebration, conviviality and cocktails! While traditional drinks like Kir (white wine and fruit liqueur) are popular, the trend is to try a bit of mixology at home. 

“Brandy is hugely popular as a digestif after a meal, but this oldest of French drinks is gaining status as an apéritif either straight, or in a cocktail.”

And Bardinet brandy, with its rich, full flavour, is the ideal accompaniment to such an occasion.

Distilled into a bottle that looks every bit as luxurious as it tastes, the oak-aged spirit is the perfect base for a successful Apéro.

Its complex flavour means it can be drunk neat, but for the true Apéro experience, French mixologist Arnaud Volte from The London EDITION Hotel has also created some festive cocktails.

Our favourite is the deceptively simple Bardinet & Ginger, a fuss-free tipple that allows you to get on with hosting duties while delivering a drink packed full of flavour.

Why not have a go yourself and let us know your favourite.

Bardinet Pomme Canelle

Bardinet Christmas 2020 - Food and Drink Scotland
A Pomme Canelle Spritz. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

Apple and cinnamon are really festive flavours that match well with the vanilla and dried fruits notes of Bardinet Brandy.

  • 35ml Bardinet Brandy
  • 15ml lemon juice 
  • 15ml cinnamon syrup 
  • 20ml clear apple juice
  • Soda water 

To make cinnamon syrup: 

Mix 100gm water, 100gm caster sugar and 2 cinnamon sticks In a pan, heat up the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Cut and add the sticks, infuse for 10/15 mins. Cool and strain.

Mix all the ingredients in a wine glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a slice of lemon wedge and a cinnamon stick.

Bardinet Christmas Stocking

Bardinet Christmas 2020 - Food and Drink Scotland
A Christmas Stocking Spritz is ideal for the festive season. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

Orange liqueur tastes amazing when paired with brandy. And because it’s Christmas, the bubbles come from a Brut champagne, highlighting the grape notes from the spirit. 

  • 35ml Bardinet Brandy 
  • 10ml orange liqueur such as Cointreau
  • 5ml caramel syrup (such as Monin) 
  • Very cold Champagne 

Stir ingredients (except champagne) for 10 seconds with some ice and strain in to a champagne flute. Top with the champagne.

Bardinet Bordeaux Afternoon

Bardinet Christmas 2020 - Food and Drink Scotland
This tipple draws on the flavours native to the region Bardinet is distilled. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

Bardinet is made near Bordeaux and these flavours are really common to the area. This works well for a winter cocktail but also in summer. The fruitiness of the strawberry tastes delicious with the grape notes in the Bardinet Brandy and the Chardonnay 

  • 35ml Bardinet Brandy 
  • 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam
  • 10ml Chardonnay 
  • 15ml lemon juice 
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters 
  • Soda water

Add all ingredients into a shaker (apart from the soda water), shake and strain it into a highball glass. Top with soda water and garnish with mint.

Bardinet & Ginger 

Bardinet Christmas 2020 - Food and Drink Scotland
This cocktail’s simplicity belies its sublime taste.(Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

Mix 50ml Bardinet Brandy with ginger ale in a highball glass.

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.