It's that time of year when you can barely see your way through the streets on the way home from work - evenings like this, all you want to do is sink into your couch with a blanket.
Just because it's bitterly cold and dark out there, doesn't mean your social life has to take a hit.
So here's my proposition for you:
Stay in, blast the heat, grab some snacks, turn on your fire and rally your mates together for an affordable night in that you'll all be talking about for weeks to come.
You don't have to get into that tight body-con or uncomfortable pair of skinny jeans that amplifies your winter belly, stay in your jim-jams and enjoy a tasty drink.
Welcome to The 12 Twists Of Christmas with Schweppes!
A weekly series that will be giving you some majestic cocktail inspo ahead of the Christmas break and New Year.
Some of the best nights I've had with my mates have been my cocktail nights. I grab a fancy bottle of something-something as well as some beaut garnishes and of course a stellar bottle of tonic water - no G&T is complete without it!
This week I'll be sharing with you, one of my absolute favourite homemade cocktails - Winter In Bloom.
I usually keep this one a secret because it's too good but it's the giving season and I'm feeling jolly today, so I guess I'll let you in on it.
This gin-based cocktail is fragrant and refreshingly sweet but it has such a winter feel to it.
It's bursting with flavour and it's pretty darn stunning - especially when it's in a large gin goblet.
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Just like Christmas, drinks are not complete without some spirit.
I feel like that's the worst joke I've ever made on Lovin, ever.
Anyway, that was my magical segway to inform you that every week we'll be focusing on a different spirit and what makes it unique.
It'll be a good indication for those who want to splash out a little this Christmas and get a fancy bottle of something but they're not willing to risk buying something they might not enjoy.
This will be your new weekly bible!
For this cocktail, I'll be using Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin.
I'm a Wicklow woman so I said I'd start off with a spirit from my beautiful home county.
The gin is made from locally foraged wild plants in the Wicklow Mountains. It's slow-distilled which teases out the delicate and unique flavours. It's a very aromatic spirit, you can really pick up on the unusual hints of nettle, clover flowers, heather, rosehips, fraughan berries, damson and crab apple.
For such a flavoursome gin, there's no need for complicated tonic flavours. Adding a refreshing flavour to the mix like 1783 Quenching Cucumber Tonic Water brings out a crisp and refreshing taste like no other.
- 35ml Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin
• 10ml elderflower syrup
• 15ml freshly squeezed lime juice
• 50ml lychee juice
• 50ml Schweppes 1783 Quenching Cucumber Tonic Water
Garnish: red currant sprig and mint
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Fill a highball glass 3/4 with cubed ice.
Start by adding elderflower syrup, lime juice and lychee juice.
Next mix Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin and Schweppes 1783 Quenching Cucumber Tonic Water, then stir until cold.
It's really quick, simple and easy but rock out with this to your mates and they'll think you've taken a secret course in mixology.
You'll be the host/hostess with the most-ess!
Don't forget to drink responsibly this festive season.
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