One of the hardest parts of the lockdown is finding something to look forward to. Most of our lives are made up of the anticipation of holidays, parties and weekends.
Nowadays it is hard to remember what day of the week it is. In a situation where it feels like time is sitting still and we are all just waiting patiently for our lives to restart, it turns out it really is the little things you miss. Like looking forward to a midweek meal out at your favourite restaurant, a sunny afternoon nursing a drink in a buzzing pub garden or a friend’s birthday party on a Friday night. I miss meeting new people or even just meeting people outside the people I live with. I miss sitting alone in a café reading and purposefully not talking to people because I don’t have to, not because I can’t. I miss going over to friends’ houses to have a slightly different view out of the window and cooking in a different kitchen. Although things I’m not going to say I miss is walking down Oxford street on a Saturday afternoon or travelling on a sweaty tube in rush hour.
Whilst at this stage there are no Facebook events to block in the diary or holidays to fantasise about lounging by the pool there is no reason we can’t produce our own celebrations. Here are some examples of things you can celebrate:
- Finishing the working week. Who doesn’t feel like Friday is a cause for celebration (If you can remember which day Friday is of course… ). If not you can just assume that half the week isn’t Friday and celebrate every other day.
- Your half birthday. Who says you only deserve one birthday a year, and if you are celebrating your birthday in lockdown it means you can have a huge party on your half birthday once we’re back in the real world. Be like the Queen, give yourself two opportunities to celebrate.
- The bank holiday – Unfortunately lockdown managed to fall in the season of bank holidays. Some may look on this as a shame that you can’t really enjoy the long weekend and some may even insist on working, but really it is an excuse to use that extra day to your advantage and indulge a little bit.
- The midweek pub quiz. Your friends may not be able to tell that you are wearing proper clothes but you might thank yourself for a bit of makeup or at least clean hair if you looking directly at your own face for a few hours.
- Finding a recipe you are desperate to try out. The slow roasted brisket with thirty-six cloves of garlic deserves to be perfected and celebrated. Why not make it three courses and try out twice baked goats’ cheese soufflés and molten chocolate cakes.
- A new film being released on Netflix. Why not treat the new series or film released on Netflix as a premiere of its own. You can dress up, drink fancy drinks and of course sit down with some popcorn.
- And, of course, Sunday. It may just seem like any other day in the haze that is the lockdown, but I am reliving my childhood with a Sunday roast every week. A nice excuse to have a boozy long lunch, fall asleep whilst reading a good book/watching a film/ playing monopoly and still be ready for an early night before work the next morning.
Now you have so many things to celebrate, you need the appropriate equipment. The rules for upgrading your house from the bare necessities to Bella Notte are simple.
- Don’t drink everyday. A drink at the end of the day is tempting but giving a few nights off gives it the celebratory status a good cocktail or glass of wine deserves.
- Do things properly. Tempting as it is to drink your Sainsburys basics white out of a plastic cup you also used yesterday, it will feel so much better to be drinking your wine out of a wine glass. Having a cocktail that has been shaken over plenty of ice will replicate your favourite bartender’s drink and using the nearest cocktail shaped glass you have will make you feel like you are
- Don’t forget the garnish, it will take your drink from feeling like you are drinking alone in your house to drinking in the new hot exclusive bar in town. Limes and lemons help with most drinks.
- Don’t forget the nibbles. No fancy bar is complete without complimentary nibbles and you even get to pick out the ones you actually want to eat. Be it mini cheddars, monster munch and twiglets or even crisps flavoured with fish n chips, maple bacon or prosecco…
- Invest in the good stuff. Use any extra money you are saving on not going out to restaurants on spending a little bit more money on your wine or on fresh fruit for your cocktail ingredients. The only issue will be developing a taste for wine that will cost you £15 in the shops and £50 in a restaurant…
- Dress up. Easy as it is to remain in leggings and sweatpants all day or even your pyjamas, you will end up with a huge number of clothes in your wardrobe that won’t get worn. Give these clothes a chance to see the light of day and sip your drink in heels or a suit.
When you’re all ready to go, here are some suggestions about what you might drink on a topical theme
A delicious blend of raspberry, vodka and lemon topped off with a sparkling shot.
30ml raspberry liqueur
2 tbsp frozen raspberries
1 tsp lemon juice
A shot of sparkling wine
Black pepper and sugar
Garnish with a raspberry
- Place martini glasses in the freezer,
- Pour liqueur over frozen raspberries, leave for 5 mins and then blend to a puree.
- Combine vodka, lemon juice and raspberry puree and shake over ice.
- Line the rim of the glass with black pepper and sugar mix and garnish with a raspberry. Pour in mix from the cocktail shaker.
- Add a shot of sparkling wine on the side.
The only cocktail that can protect you from coronavirus and put a smile on your face with an alcoholic kick. Using all the key ingredients to keep your immune system boosted. (disclaimer there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that this can protect you from coronavirus).
20ml King’s Ginger liqueur
20ml mint infused sugar syrup
2tbsp lime juice
Fresh mint to garnish
- Chop the cucumber and puree using a stick blender
- Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice
- Serve over ice with a mint sprig of mint and piece of cucumber
And if after all those drinks you’d prefer to get a takeaway, just make sure you eat it and cutlery is advise