Christmas 2011: How to survive the party season
T3's guide to surviving the party season: Drinks and music
1. Picking the ultimate cocktail ingredient
Rupert Lovibond, head bartender of Hunter 486, is a fan of peach juice…
“Peach is essential as it is the interlink between all spirits – you can also make it as strong as you like. With the key ingredients of lemon juice and peach juice all you then need to do is raid your cupboard. Try two parts Cognac, one part Apricot brandy/liqueur, one part lemon juice, one part peach and half a part sugar.”
Ultimate bartender kit list
Metal shaking tin
Set of 6 spoons: 15, 10, 5, 2.5, 1, 1/8 ml
2. Picking the music
Matthew Sheret, Data Griot for Last.FM: “When preparing the ultimate party playlist don’t hedge your bets on one specific genre of music. Choose a mix of artists and styles and prepare your music in advance so on the night you can worry about the food, the drink and getting a kiss under the mistletoe”
3. Keep your champagne chilled
Rupert Lovibond, head bartender at Hunter 486, suggests: “to keep champagne cold don’t use a metal ice bucket. metal adjusts the quickest to temperatures but the outside adjusts to room temperature. use a clay pot – one you would put a plant in – as it becomes very cold and retains the temperature for a very long time.
4. How to store wine
Vic Sinclair, buyer for large electrical appliances at John Lewis, debunks wine storage myths and recommends three top wine coolers.
“Keep wine in the correct conditions to ensure the wine matures properly. Too warm and the wine will age faster; too cool and deposits may develop. Red and white wines require different storage temperatures. You generally store white wine at 10-12°C, and reds at 12-16°C. Some wine coolers offer independent temperatures within the unit, allowing you to keep
your full bodied claret on the bottom and your bubbly on the top.”
“Bottles should be stored on their side to keep the cork moist and prevent air from entering. Wine cabinets will help with this as some models retain humidity, helping to prevent the cork from drying out.”
“Screwcap bottles and sparkling wines can be stored upright.”
“If you want to show off your wine collection make sure that the wine cooler has a UV-protected glass door, so that it will not be affected by the sun.”
More: Best wine coolers to buy
4. Match your wine and cheese
iPairings is an iPhone app that pairs food and cheese with 131 wine varieties. over 1,400 combinations in total. It's available to buy from iTunes now priced £0.59.
5. Don't upset the neighbours
Like Slade turned up to 11 but don’t want neighbours calling the council or police? follow the advice of Dominic Baker, acoustics business Unit Director of Audio Partnership
“Different frequencies will travel through buildings to a greater or lesser extent depending on the size and construction. This can be extremely annoying for neighbours, they will not necessarily be able to hear the music, just a specific frequency drone that keeps them awake.
“Use an app that turns your phone into an RTA (real time analyser), such as the free RTA Lite . This reads and displays frequencies as a bar graph. You can look at the sound spectrum near your house’s wall and identify which frequency is annoying the neighbours. Then, if your sound system features a graphic equaliser – reasonable ones can be bought for around £200 – you can make a very narrow and deep notch at this frequency. That way no-one notices the frequency is missing, but the neighbours get some peace.”