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The festive season is pretty much here. For me, this time of year is generally associated with wine, champagne, family day trips, and long days in the sun. But if you want to mix things up, you can also get into the festive spirit with some brandy. Apparently brandy tasting is the new thing and, lucky us, we just happen to live in that part of the world that offers absolutely everything, and you can easily replace some wine tasting trips for same brandy tasting trips in Stellenbosch and surrounds. But if you’re feeling anything like me this year, you’ll probably want to spend the festive season doing absolutely nothing, which is why I’m sharing some festive season brandy cocktail recipes with you that you can try out at home. I’d love to say I’m the mastermind behind these goodies, but that would just be a lie, and all recipes were designed by local mixologist Owen O’Reilly. I’ve chosen to go with some amazing brandies from the Distell portfolio – Richelieu, Van Ryn’s, Klipdrift, and Oude Meester – but these recipes will work with any fine brandy. And if you’re lamenting the fact that you don’t have the brandy to try out these festive spiced drinks, check out the awesome competition below.

Richelieu Café Français


• 50ml Richelieu 10
• 20ml Orange Liquor
• Top with filter coffee
• Top with vanilla whipped cream *

Method: Pre-heat the mug with hot water. Pour all ingredients into the mug and top with vanilla whipped cream. If the whipped cream is hand-whipped, then slowly pour over a spoon onto the coffee. Grate some dark chocolate over whipped cream and garnish with orange zest.

*Vanilla whipped cream: Pour 250ml whipping cream, 250ml full cream milk and 100ml vanilla syrup into a cream gun and gas with two co2 bombs or simply whip with whisk in a mixing bowl.

*Vanilla syrup: Equal parts sugar and water reduced on the stove top with two open vanilla beans. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool down and strain into a glass bottle.

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Van Ryn’s Chai Tea


• 45ml Van Ryn’s 10
• Top with Chai Tea*

Method: Pour Van Ryn’s into tea cup and top with chai tea. Garnish with cinnamon stick and candied ginger cubes.

*Chai Tea: 1 cup water, 2 x Rooibos tea bags, 15ml vanilla syrup, 15ml rose water, 3 crushed cardamom pods, 1 x cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 1 x thick slice ginger. Bring to the boil on the stove top and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the tea before using it. Makes one drink. Repeat recipe to make more than one.

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Klipdrift Blazer


• 50ml Klipdrift Gold
• 20ml Apricot Liqueur
• 35ml Monis Port
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 50ml hot water
• 1 x star anise
• ½ vanilla bean
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Method: Pour all ingredients except water into two metal milk jugs (make sure they have handles). Set the liquid on fire with a chef torch and pour from one jug to the other while on fire. Repeat back and forth about eight times. Pour 50ml hot water into the brandy balloon glass and then top with the blazed ingredients. Garnish with orange zest and dark chocolate blocks on a side plate.

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Oude Meester Wassail (hot mulled cider)


• 50ml Oude Meester 12 year old
• Top up with hot wassail batch*

Method: Pour brandy into pre-heated toddy glass and top up with hot wassail batch. Garnish with cinnamon dusted apple fan or dried apples.

*Wassail batch: (Makes 2) 1x 330ml Savanna Premium Cider, 200ml cranberry juice, 50ml orange juice, 25ml lemon juice, 2 table spoons castor sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 1 vanilla bean, 50ml water. Bring to a simmer on the stove top while stirring, simmer for 15 minutes. Strain liquid through sieve before using it.

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So there you have it, a bunch of festively spiced brandy cocktails that are sure to put you in a happy mood. And to make sure that nothing’s missing this festive season, I Love Foodies will be giving away a festive brandy hamper, comprised of one of the bottles of brandy listed above and two brandy snifters/glasses. For a chance to win, you can do one (or all) of the following:

1) TWITTER: Follow I Love Foodies on Twitter and then share a link to this post with the tweet “I want to win a #FestiveBrandyHamper with Distell and @ilovefoodiesct!”

2) FACEBOOK: Like I Love Foodies on Facebook and share this post (from the I Love Foodies FB page so I can track it) with the message “I want to win a #FestiveBrandyHamper with Distell and @ilovefoodiesct!”

3) INSTAGRAM: Follow I Love Foodies on Instagram and comment on the ‘Win A Festive Brandy Hamper’ picture.

This competition is open to OVER 18s ONLY. Competition closes 12pm, Wednesday 23 December 2015. Winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via social media.

Good luck!