The nights are dark, it’s cold outside, and you’re generally exhausted 24/7 from trying to juggle buying presents for 30-odd people, your actual full-time job, an endless parade of carol concerts and nativity plays and now you’ve decided to hold a dinner party?!

There’s only one thing to get you through this: coffee, and lots of it.

Open with a cocktail

Thirsty guests are unhappy guests. And we’re not talking tap water - start as you mean to continue with a round of espresso martinis. They’ll perk everyone up, and spark an appetite too.

Espresso Martini Recipe

Espresso martini from above

Ingredients:

- 30ml vodka

- 20g espresso

- 12ml coffee liqueur

- Coffee beans, to garnish

Method:

  1. Pack a cocktail shaker with ice, add the vodka and coffee liqueur
  2. Make a ristretto shot of espresso (that’s 20g coffee extracted into 30ml water)
  3. Add coffee to the shaker and immediately shake, until there’s a sudden change in the temperature
  4. Pour the cocktail mix through a sieve into a martini glass
  5. Garnish with coffee beans, and enjoy!

Top tip: if you’re making them for the whole party, swirl the shaker between pours for a creamy finish each time!

Satiate them with snacks

Keep the coffee coming, and hold them off while the main event finishes cooking, with something to nibble on while they wait - coffee shortbread (festive, right?!).

Coffee Shortbread Recipe

Coffee shortbread

Ingredients:

- 225g plain wholemeal flour

- 125g cornflour

- 125g light muscovado sugar

- 2tsp espresso coffee

- 50g dark chocolate broken into pieces

- 225g butter (unsalted) cut into pieces

- Chocolate-covered coffee beans for decoration

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C (170 C fan, gas mark 5). Put the flour and cornflour into a processor with the butter. Blend together to make crumbs
  2. Add sugar and coffee granules and blend again until the mixture comes together to form a ball
  3. Knead lightly onto a floured surface. Grease a 20cm square tin and press the shortbread into the tin. Press a fork around the edges to make a pattern and prick the surface several times with a fork
  4. Bake the shortbread for 20 minutes or until the shortbread is pale golden and cooked through
  5. Cool in the tin, then cut into 12 bars

6.Microwave the chocolate on high for 30 seconds or until just melted. Dip the base of chocolate covered coffee beans in the chocolate and arrange 3 on top of each coffee shortbread

Wow with your main course

It’s stew season, baby! They don’t want fussy, fancy food - it’s freezing outside and they want something warm, comforting, and possibly meaty to hit that spot. Enter, coffee and lamb stew.

Coffee & Lamb Stew Recipe

Stew

Ingredients:

- 500g chunks of stewing lamb, neck or another good, cheap cut

- Olive oil or butter

- 1 stick of celery

- 500g of turnip, carrot, swede, and potato chunks

- 100g tomato paste

- 1 large white onion

- 1 bay leaf

- A couple of sprigs of rosemary & thyme

- 1tbsp of fine coffee grounds

- Salt & pepper

Top tip: DON’T brown your meat in a frying pan first. It adds to the washing up and the resulting flavour (burnt caramel) will overpower the subtlety of the herbs.

Method:

  1. Roughly chop the onion & celery
  2. Crush the garlic then peel and finely chop
  3. Soften all in a medium pan with a knob of butter/splash of olive oil
  4. Season
  5. Add chopped rosemary and thyme, give it a toss
  6. Add root veg and tomato paste, stir until it’s all nicely coated
  7. Add vegetable stock until it’s all covered - bring to the boil
  8. Add lamb & coffee grounds, cover, reduce heat, leave for 90 minutes, or until you’re hungry. The longer the better
  9. After 12 hours it will be a staggeringly good stew! Season to taste before serving with crusty bread

Please everyone with pudding!

Christmas is a time to eat a lot of sweet stuff. Or just a lot of stuff generally! But we’ve got a lighter, more caffeinated dessert option that’ll be the perfect reviver after your main: affogato.

Affogato Recipe

Affogato

Ingredients:

- 1 shot of espresso

- 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream

- 1 amaretti biscuit

Method:

  1. Brew a shot of espresso (or, alternatively, brew a stronger-than-usual shot with your preferred method)
  2. Add a scoop (or two!) of ice cream into a bowl
  3. Pour over your shot of coffee
  4. Crumble your biscuit and sprinkle over the top

Top off with a nightcap

The night’s almost over (or you want to give everyone a hint that it’s time to go home…). Close it off with one of the most beautiful, classic hot drinks - the Irish coffee.

Irish Coffee Recipe

Irish Coffee

Ingredients:

- 1 cup of Pact Coffee (however you brew it)

- 30ml Irish whiskey

- 1tsp sugar

- Thickened/double cream

Method:

  1. Brew a hot cup of your favourite Pact coffee
  2. Add the sugar and whiskey, and stir until sugar is completely dissolved
  3. Float the cream on top to serve

Christmas Blend

Want to Christmas it up even more? Just grab a bag of our Christmas Blend - with its spiced dried fruit and brandy notes, it’ll work perfectly as an Irish coffee!


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