Food & Drink

Shake it up: ‘First Dates’ bartender Merlin Griffiths releases Christmas quarantini range with Tesco

A celebrity bartender has released a range of make-at-home cocktails with Tesco to shake up Christmas 2020.

Merlin Griffiths rose to fame as the bartender on Channel 4’s First Dates, a reality show that sends two strangers for dinner in the hope of finding romance.

As the first port of call before sitting down for dinner, Griffiths provides solace for nervous contestants on the show.

Now he is bringing his bartending wisdom to the masses as London prepares for Christmas in tier 4.

TICKLED PINK: the perfect brunch tipple.

He said: “I always jump at the chance to get more people mixing competently at home! Cocktails don’t have to be difficult, complicated affairs either.

“It’s possible to make tasty drinks in ways you might not have thought of at home this festive season, and Tesco offer premium spirits at reasonable prices making it that much easier.”

Normally Griffiths drinks bubbles on Christmas day but said this year he wanted something different.

He said: “I’m a huge fan of Cremant from the Loire Valley. It’s made in the same way as Champagne, but costs far less!

“And Egg Nog. I usually mull something – cider, wine, port – but this year I want something different.”

Griffiths reworked some classic cocktails in partnership with Tesco, which can easily be made at home.

They include the cheeky Gingerbread (S)nog Under The Mistletoe, a twist on a classic Eggnogg cocktail using Gingerbread Latte Cream Liqueur – part of Tesco’s 2020 Christmas range.

GINGERBREAD (S)NOG: This recipe is pure indulgence according to Merlin.

His top tip for those wanting to try making cocktails at home for the first time is to get the ice right.

“Don’t skimp on the ice. Freeze loads. Ice your drinks fully. Use loads when you shake drinks.

“More ice melts far slower and does not dilute your drink. If you’re in a larger household consider getting a few party bags of ice in the freezer.”

The trend for ‘quarantinis’ (cocktails made at home in quarantine) began during the first lockdown.

More people searched ‘How to make cocktails’ in April this year than any other month since May 2005.

Google trends show that interest in quarantinis is rising once again in the UK this December.

G&TEA: We put one of Merlin’s cocktails to the test

Griffiths was born in Gloucestershire and has worked in hospitality for 25 years, working behind bars from Soho to India.

He used to own The Priory Tavern pub in Kilburn, north-west London and now owns The Maltsters Inn in Badby, Northants.

He first appeared in First Dates in series one, aired in June 2013.

All cocktail recipes can be found on the Tesco Real Food website.

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