Interview: The perfect Holiday dinner according to… Matthias (English)

Several weeks ago I did an interview with one of Belgium’s leading Lifestyle Magazines, Knack. We had a chat about how I, as a Beverage Blogger, experience the Holiday dinners. Since the interview, which you can read here, was entirely in Dutch, I decided to translate it to English so I could share it with everyone.

Happy reading!
Matthias

The perfect Holiday dinner according to … Matthias Soberon (Served By Soberon)(published in Knack Lifestyle Magazine, 14 Dec 2017)

Great food is important if you want your holiday dinners to be a succes, but so are great drinks! And Matthias Soberon, founder of ‘Served By Soberon’ agrees wholeheartedly. This is how a bartender shakes his way through the end of the year.

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(c) Niels De Keukelaere

What is important to you during the Holidays?
The togetherness, both with my family and my inlaws. Have an entire evening of eating, drinking, laughing, sharing gifts, etc. And I suit up for the occasion as well. During Christmas and NYE I love putting some extra effort in my outfit.

What’s one thing a dinner table can’t lack?
Equally fun and quality drinks for those who don’t drink alcohol. It might take some time and effort to come up with a decent mocktail, yet to me it’s of utmost importance that everyone is served a drink that looks equally festive and inviting. Cocktails are often made on the spot and served in beautiful glassware, then why shouldn’t this be the case for people who don’t drink?

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Holiday Mocktail (Elderflower / Lime / Raspberry / Mint / Tonic)

Is there anything you don’t want to see on the dinner table this year?
A ‘Gin-Tonic’ as aperitif. I’d rather drink a simple sparkling wine, champagne or an aperitif cocktail than a ‘Gin-Tonic’. Not because it’s inferior, just because lots can go wrong with both prep and serve: Not enough ice, too much tonic, a predominant garnish, … I’d rather have something more classic then.

Do you get stressed when serving dinners?
Not at all. Stress is something I don’t often experience. I love cooking and making sure people are having a good time. Whether everything is going according to plan, that’s another question (haha) I’m mostly very slow, although I call it ‘at my own pace’. And if it takes a little longer, I’ll make sure all glasses are filled.

Do you have any traditions during the Holidays?
My dad and I invented a boardgame we play during dinner. The aim is to win your ‘big’ present, but you can win smaller gifts and candy along the road. It’s a game we play in between courses and often leads to both frustrating and hilarious moments.

Matthias’ menu
The aperitif is always my ‘task’, when we’re celebrating with my part of the family. This year I’m making a twist on the French 75, a cocktail with Champagne (or any sparkling wine), a citrus-oriented gin, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. I love adding some berry liqueur like Chambord to the mix. It looks more festive and adds a fun punch. If anyone requires a mocktail, I’m making a combination of Elderflower syrup, lime juice, raspberries and mint. Combined with some dips like olive tapenade, hummus, fresh salsa,… perfection!

Stuffed turkey, potato croquettes, cranberry sauce and homemade pepper & cream sauce are mandatory. My dad can choose the stuffing and decides what other side dishes are being served. Several years ago my parents asked us if it wasn’t time to change up the menu a bit. You should’ve seen the faces of me and my brothers. Eversince they don’t dare asking anymore (haha). Served with a full bodied red wine, strong Belgian dark beer or water, please.

My favorite dessert is ice-cream, doesn’t matter what flavor. I love finishing with something soothing. Preferably combined with a digestif. An Old Jenever like Filliers 8 works, yet this year I have something special in mind: a digestif cocktail using Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin, which I’m calling ‘The Proof Is In The Pudding‘.

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RECIPE
– 60ml Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin
– 20ml Mandarine Napoleon
– 15ml DOM Bénédictine
– 5ml Green Chartreuse

1. Stir all ingredients with plenty of ice for 30-40 seconds
2. Strain in a pre-chilled coupe
3. Serve ungarnished

Cheers!
Matthias

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