Drinks to Celebrate the Christmas Party Season

Christmas is usually all about the food, the presents, the convivial atmosphere, church and family get togethers. A little thought is given to the drinks of Christmas Day but typically it is no more than an after thought. How better to conjure up this convivial ambience by choosing some original drinks and tipples that you would not usually try? From new beers and liqueurs, to ciders and ales, we have sought out the best of the Christmas drinks to bring you a fresh new slant on beverages in the party season. Have a look and if you know of any we haven’t mentioned, why not use the comment box to let us know?

Sipsmith Sloe Gin – £23.49

Sipsmith Limited Edition Sloe Gin is made by resting our London Dry Gin on hand-picked, wild Sloe berries. It is subtle, complex and bursting with flavour. The sloe berry season is around September to November, so what better way to celebrate than with a sloe gin and tonic, such as that made by London distiller Sipsmith? These small, astringent berries are far too bitter to be eaten raw but when steeped in gin they make a powerfully bright and fulfilling drink. If you’re not keen on tonic water, try bitter lemon instead. Buy from http://sipsmith.com/


Luscombe Organic Hot Ginger Beer – £1.62

Fresh Root Ginger, brewed as it would have been at home many years ago. The award-winning Hot version – made with more spice. Ginger beer is the drink du jour and Luscombe’s fiery non-alcoholic version is one of the best around. Not only is it a blessing for drivers and non-drinkers tired of having make do with sickly sweet softies, it’s equally good when used in cocktails. Lashings of Dark ‘n’ Stormies anyone? This is fresh root ginger beer as it was brewed many years ago! It has a feisty kick and is loaded with spices. It’s new on the Luscombe scene, but it’s already raking in the awards! Buy from www.abelandcole.co.uk

Fratella Hazelnut Liqueur – £16.00

Fratello is a 20% abv premium hazelnut liqueur that is produced by the Francoli Distillery in the beautiful Lake District of Piemonte, Italy. Made from toasted hazelnuts and infusions of cocoa, vanilla berries and Sambuco flowers, Fratello marked its UK release earlier this year to rave reviews. Smooth, warming and beautifully balanced, this liqueur possesses rich flavours of toasted wild hazelnuts, chocolate and vanilla with added character from ageing in oak casks. Fratello can be enjoyed as a cold drink, mixed with fresh limes or cola; poured over ice cream, or added as a shot to coffee or hot chocolate. Buy from www.harveynichols.com

Laphroaig 10 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – £16.17

Take it neat or with a splash of soft water. Roll it around on your tongue. Release the pungent, earthy aroma of the blue peat smoke, the sweet nuttiness of the barley and the delicate, heathery perfume of Islay’s streams. Like the islanders it may seem a little aloof at first, but make the effort, broach acquaintance and we can guarantee you’ll have a warm and genuine friend for life. A single malt, it is produced using three finishing processes – it is first matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being transferred to smaller quarter casks and then finally placed in former oloroso sherry casks – for a caramel flavour with hints of Christmas pudding. Buy from www.laphroaig.com

Aspall 2010 Vintage Cyder – £2.39

This 8.2% ABV vintage cyder is based on an award-winning recipe dating back to 1921, using a blend of bittersweet apples and muscovado sugar. But you don’t need a history lesson to realise that this dark gold drink is the perfect autumn accompaniment for strong cheeses and meats. Either that or heat it up with some apple juice and dark rum for a powerful hot toddy. Made with the finest raw materials and with painstaking care and attention to detail, our cyder is one of the finest drinks available and deserves recognition as such. It was with this thought in mind that we decided to re-launch what was then available only in the local market to a broader audience. Buy from http://dev.aspall.co.uk

Thornbridge Hall Bracia Rich Dark Ale – £2.65

Bracia’s careful use of Malts (Maris Otter, Brown, Munich, Dark Crystal, Black, Chocolate, Peated), Roasted Barley, Hops (Target, Pioneer, Hallertau Northern Brewer and Sorachi Ace) produce a truly unique beer. Its aromas are of chestnut honey, cappuccino, white chocolate, dark fruits and vibrant fresh peel. The mouthfeel is velvety and rich, with notes of coffee, chocolate, liquorice and hazelnuts with warming alcohol, cocoa and a little peat in the finish. Thornbridge’s Bracia has been infused with a generous amount of dark and bitter Chestnut Honey that was sourced by Stefano from Beekeeper Onelia Pin in the Alpine foothills of North East Italy. Buy from www.beermerchants.com

Iron Press Apple Beer 12 x 500ml – £12.48

Iron Press is billed as a soft drink for ‘real men’, but don’t let the rather cheesy branding put you off. As a non-alcoholic alternative to beer it hits the spot, with its malted-barley base and fruit flavours creating a beer-style drink without the after effects. It even has a lager-like head to provide some credibility at the bar. Iron Press is a soft drink designed to look and feel like beer. It comes packaged in chunky 500ml brown beer bottles, is amber-coloured, so when poured it resembles a pint, and is brewed to maintain a beer-like head (which, in fairness, it does). Buy from www.drinksupermarket.com

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