If there’s one thing I love about Christmas it’s that it gives you a great excuse to enjoy a drink any night of the week from December 1st to the 31st. Afterall, it’s Christmas right? So if you’re going to have a drink then you might as well make it a good one, here is my quintessential list of drinks to enjoy whilst decorating the tree, crying at Love Actually, eating Christmas dinner and everything in between this Christmas time.
This year there’s no non-alcoholic options (but if you would like some suggestions we have some here) however I have included a coffee from Shropshire-based independent roastery Hundred House Coffee. Hundred House offers gift subscriptions of their characterful specialty coffee delivered monthly, direct to your door as well as a curiosity collection of some of the world’s most bizarre and extraordinary coffees. Their blends are perfect for cultured coffee drinkers who appreciate something different and their festive blend is perfect for those crisp winter mornings leading up to Christmas or in a Espresso Martini.
Rum is one of those drinks that is ideal to give as a gift but also rather tempting to keep for yourself. Delicious on its own but also one of the most versatile spirits in terms of the sheer amount of cocktails you can make with it, it’s an absolute must this Christmas. My first recommendations comes from Hattiers Rum who believe you should know what you are drinking, and therefore all component rums, country of origin, ages, distillation method is on the back label of each and every bottle. I tried their Eminence Blended Aged White Rum 42% and the Resolute Blended Aged Navy Strength 54.5%. I’m going to be completely honest and say the navy strength one was a bit too strong for me, even for sipping, but on giving a glass to my rum-drinking friend Alice who drank a whole shot in one go without even flinching and instead remarking on how delicious it was, we decided it most definitely deserved the thumbs up! The white rum was much more to my liking, with great depth of flavour and character it has a fruity taste that is not sweet, but enjoys a gentle nutty pineapple aftertaste and long cream finish. It’s great with a mixer or in cocktails such as a Daiquiri or Mojito.
The other rum you should add to your drinks cabinet is Honeybell Spiced Rum. Distilled in Britain in small batches and infused with English Blossom Honey, this rum is full of flavour. Unlike most spiced rums, they distill in small batches in the UK, extracting and using only the heart of the distillation process to ensure optimum quality and maximum taste. Moving away from traditional spiced rum flavour combinations, they champion sustainably sourced British botanicals to create a rich and smooth palate pleaser. I really enjoyed this rum and its unique and complex flavour profile, with a sweetness to it that is perfect for sipping after a hearty meal.
Another drink suitable for afters (if you can’t quite squeeze in a dessert!) comes from Mindful Mixology who launched their Christmas cocktails this year, including the Ferrero Martini. This is pretty much what it says on the tin, a delicious cocktail that tastes like a Ferrero Rocher. But if you’re counting the calories this year (come on now, stop it, it’s Christmas!) you’ll be happy to hear it is sugar free as well as vegan friendly! You of course wouldn’t know it to try it as it really has that flavour of chocolatey, hazelnut loveliness that comes wrapped up in gold.
If you’re not into cocktails, or anything fancy for that matter, then how about a cold beer? Seven Bro7hers have been brewing beers and craft ales together (they really are 7 brothers, and 4 sisters who make their own gin!) in Salford, Manchester since 2014 and is now sold all over the country as well as in their own Beerhouse in Ancoats, Manchester. I mentioned a few of their flavours from their Advent Calendar in a previous article, but this doesn’t cover the full range of festive brews they’ve produced for this December. Their Christmas selection consists of crackers containing a different special can. My favourite was Eureka, a ‘Kveik’ style IPA. It is made using kviek a Norwegian yeast which gives off tropical flavours, so the brewing team have balanced the beer with Zythos ‘pineapple’ hops and citra to give it a little oomph!
If you’re like me and you like trying new things each year then wrap your lips around a glass of Stambecco Amaro. Slowly infused with luxury Italian maraschino cherries and fresh peel including sweet and bitter oranges to make a delicious and bittersweet craft distilled Amaro. The perfect après ski beverage, Stambecoo (which can be bought here) is perfectly balanced, smooth, fruity and rounded making it delicious on the rocks or in a cocktail such as a Manhattan or check out their cocktail map for more suggestions.
If following a map or indeed simply making a cocktail is too much effort for you this Christmas then why not opt for a ready made version that’s ready to pour from Tom Savano and their travel inspired luxury cocktails. I tried their English Garden Lychee Martini Deliciously floral, yet complex and strong, this cocktail layers the irresistible sweetness of lychee with organic English elderflower vodka, and their own signature blend of dry Italian vermouths. Served ice cold with a couple of fresh lychee perched on top this is a wonderful crowd pleaser or perhaps a nice palette cleaner for between courses. Or anytime really as it’s very drinkable!
Now I must give my recommendation on what to enjoy on the big day itself. We’ll start off in the mid-morning with an ice cold glass of Fiol Italian Rosé Prosecco, a multi-award-winning Prosecco from Treviso founded by three long-time friends. FIOL Prosecco was created by renowned winemaker Marzio Pol and was named Prosecco Producer of the Year 2021 by the New York International Spirits Competition. On the nose it has fruity aromas of raspberry and strawberry with a hint of lemon and on the palate it is refreshing and elegant. You can purchase a bottle of two here.
For Christmas Dinner I’m drinking a white wine that is perfect if only a couple of you are drinking and want to save the rest for another day or if there are a few of you and you want to be sure there is enough to go round. Laylo helps make environmentally conscious drinking a no-brainer by packaging their wine in boxes rather than glass. Delicious wine, fresh for 6 weeks in beautifully designed packaging, which just happens to be better for the planet. I tried their Lot #2 Sauvignon blanc, a crisp wine, with a mouthwatering hint of acidity and hints of apple, peach and pineapples. Perfect for washing down a turkey dinner.
Finally a drink for when all the presents have been opened, the games have been played and you’ve napped through the Queen’s speech, a good old gin and tonic. I chose Silent Pool Distillers Rare Citrus Gin for its innovative and alluring properties. Handcrafted with the world’s rarest citrus, it expertly balances bright and zesty notes of Buddha’s Hand with enticingly rich notes of Natsu Dai Dai and subtly sweetened with Hirado Buntan. The bottle is simply beautiful and would make a wonderful gift but once you try this gin you won’t want to give it away so I’d suggest buying a couple of bottles.
If you need any more suggestions of what to drink as well as what to eat and give as gifts, you can find more in my luxury Christmas guide here.