Top Tipples

Not sure what drinks to serve at this year’s Christmas bash?

Let the experts lend a helping hand. Here are some lovely libations that will have you licking your lips and rocking around the Christmas tree in no time.

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The Bacchus Bar, Donnington Valley

With its velvet sofas and comfy cushions, The Bacchus Bar at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa offers a relaxed yet opulent setting for a festive tipple or two. The head barman has shared with us this simply delicious recipe for a spiced-up take on a cocktail classic.

Christmas Cosmo

  • 25ml citrus vodka
  • 25ml Cointreau
  • 25ml ginger wine
  • 25ml cranberry juice
  • Lime rind to garnish
  • Half a lime

Fill a shaker with ice and add all the ingredients. Shake well and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with lime zest, serve and enjoy.

The Milk Thistle

Bristol’s best-known secret cocktail bar, The Milk Thistle is the perfect place to while away a cold winter’s night, and this cocktail is sure to warm you up.

That Old Chestnut (created by Isaac Windsor)

  • 40ml Compass Box Great King Street Blended
  • Scotch Whisky
  • 20ml fresh orange juice
  • 15ml chestnut liqueur
  • 10ml Oloroso sherry
  • 1 bar spoon of mincemeat (mince pie filling)

Shake all ingredients together, strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with orange zest pricked with cloves. It tastes like roasting chestnuts on an open fire at Christmas. Rich and nutty flavours come forward in this delicious winter warmer cocktail, with a candied orange, sweet oak and spicy finish.

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Kamm & Sons’ British Aperitif

This bittersweet botanical spirit readies tastebuds before a meal and contains 45 natural botanicals, including ginseng, grapefruit peel, Manuka honey, juniper berries and elderflower. Author of ‘Blend Me, Shake Me: 101 Hip New Cocktails’ and all-round creative type, Alex Kammerling is also the brains and innovative force behind the spirit. Alex recommends this easy-to-make winter drink.

Hot Roots

  • 50ml Kamm & Sons
  • 150ml cloudy apple juice
  • 1 slice ginger

Crush the ginger in a pan then warm all the ingredients on a stove, and strain. Serve in a heat-proof glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Hyde & Co

Snug, warmly lit and intimate, Bristol’s original speakeasy Hyde & Co has concocted this truly festive cocktail to be enjoyed over the Christmas period.

Cake, Coffee, Nap…

  • 40ml Christmas pudding-infused* Maxime Trijol V.S Cognac
  • 15ml Galliano Ristretto (coffee liqueur)
  • 10ml Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry
  • 10ml rich Demerara sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters
  • *Christmas pud infusion:
  • 1 bottle Cognac
  • 1 shop-bought Christmas pudding

Combine the bottle of Cognac and Christmas pudding in a Kilner jar, breaking up the Christmas pudding. Leave to infuse for 24 hours. Strain mixture through a tea towel and pour back into the bottle. Shake all ingredients with ice and fine-strain into a cocktail glass, then garnish with grated nutmeg. The result? A rich and full-flavoured end to a day of indulgence, with all the classic Christmas flavours.

Clevedon Hall

Fabulous events venue Clevedon Hall really knows how to throw a sophisticated party. Dishes come courtesy of an award-winning chef, so it stands to reason that the drinks offering is also second to none. Clevedon Hall’s recommended drink will add more than a touch of class to proceedings.

Spruce Julep

  • 25ml Hendricks gin
  • 25ml homemade spruce (home-grown if we can find them!)
  • Syrup
  • Prosecco

Blend the syrup and gin before topping up with Prosecco. This refreshing Julep is the perfect tipple to greet your New Year’s Eve guests with.

Psychopomp

Bristol-based Psychopomp produces craft distilled gin made in a handmade copper still, and containing a blend of classic and unconventional botanicals. The result is a quality gin that is produced in small batches in very limited quantities. Founder Danny Walker favours this smooth, festive recipe.

Christmas Hot Gin Punch

  • 3 teacups Psychopomp Woden
  • 1 teacup Port
  • 4 teacups apple juice
  • 4 heaped tablespoons honey
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • The zest of a pink grapefruit

Combine everything but the gin in a saucepan and simmer gently for an hour, then add the gin. Bring back to a simmer and serve in your gran’s favourite teapot.

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