Hot Buttered Rum
If you're partying outside, a glass of something warming is a must for an enjoyable evening. This cocktail is a perfect mix of classic Christmas spice and buttery richness (with a good glug of Caribbean rum for good measure).
- 50ml rum (try this 7-year-old rum from Angostura)
- A pat of unsalted butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- A grating of nutmeg Orange peel One stick cinnamon
Melt the butter, sugar and spices over a very low heat, before removing from the hob and adding the rum. Top up with hot water to taste and garnish with the orange peel and a cinnamon stick.
Recipe: Sarah Knowles MW, Buyer
Created at Harry's New York Bar in Paris in 1915, this iconic Champagne cocktail was once said to have been so powerful that it felt like being shelled with a field gun. Here's our more refined version that still retains its bite.
- 1 measure of The The Society's Dry Gin
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- A pinch of sugar (or more to taste)
- 3 parts Champagne (Jules Camuset Brut works very nicely)
Mix all the ingredients in a Champagne flute and garnish with lemon peel (in a curl if you’re feeling fancy).
Recipe: Sarah Knowles MW, Buyer
Very Berry Martini
I became a bit obsessed with making Margaritas with foraged blackberries this autumn. Remembering I had a big bag of summer fruits (which work wonderfully in a G&T, by the way), I decided to make a cocktail with a Margarita’s sharpness in a Martini-style drink. The basil gives a savoury edge and the redcurrants bring the tartness I look for in my drinks. If you prefer your cocktails to be a little sweeter, add more honey or sugar syrup. For a longer version, simply add tonic or soda.
- A good handful of frozen summer fruits
- A couple of basil leaves (or mint or rosemary)
- 1 tsp honey / sugar syrup
- 1 measure of The Society’s Vodka
- ½ measure of Triple Sec
- Squeeze of lemon
Put the berries and basil leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle well. Add the honey/sugar syrup and stir. Throw in a couple of ice cubes, add the vodka and triple sec and squeeze of lemon. Shake well. Strain into Martini glasses or pour into tumblers and add tonic/soda water for the longer drink. Garnish with fruit from the shaker and sprigs of basil.
Recipe: Joanna Goodman, Senior Editor
The spices of this, my Windfall cocktail, are perfectly matched to the spirit of Christmas. Instead of the Earl Grey syrup you could use maple syrup, a spiced syrup with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (the spice rack is your plaything here), or some honey. To make a longer drink, stir in some chilled dry Normandy cider like the Cidre Biologic Bouche de Normandie.
- 50ml Calvados
- 200ml James White Suffolk Cox Apple Juice
- 100ml Earl Grey tea-flavoured sugar syrup (see below)
- 25ml fresh lemon or lime juice
- To make the Earl Grey syrup, dissolve 150g caster sugar in 75ml of water over a medium heat.
- Once the sugar has dissolved and has come to a gentle bubble, remove from the heat and add an Earl Grey teabag and leave to steep.
- When the syrup is flavoured to your taste and has been given a deep golden colour, remove the teabag and strain the syrup into a small jar, bottle or jug and set aside. This will make more than you need, but it will keep in the fridge should you wish to make more Windfalls.
- Add the Calvados, apple juice, syrup and lemon juice to ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until ice cold.
- Serve with some dried apple slices or cinnamon sugar on the rim. A stick of cinnamon makes a tasty stirrer.
Recipe: Steve Farrow, Wine Information Editor
English Garden Mocktail
When Christmas excess is getting too much, bring a little of the refreshing English summertime to the party with this elegant elderflower concoction. It’s usually a gin-based cocktail, but here we’ve used a fabulous alternative spirit to create a balanced cocktail, livened up with some fresh cucumber and a twist of lime.
- 2 measures of Pentire Seaward Botanical Non-Alcoholic Spirit
- 2 ½ measures of James White Suffolk Cox Apple Juice
- A dash of Thorncroft Elderflower Cordial
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Cucumber slices for garnishing
Mix together and serve in a short glass with plenty of ice.
Recipe: Lesley Clark, Marketing Analyst
The Sidecar is a wonderful antidote to festive food, cutting through the richness with clean, citrus lines and the spicy fruitiness of a non-alcoholic dark spirit. There are as many Sidecar recipes as there are stories about how the drink got its name, but the one below is the classic version.
- 75ml Three Spirit Non-Alcoholic Nightcap
- 25ml lemon juice
- Orange twist to garnish
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, along with two generous scoops of ice. Shake for 20-30 seconds, then strain into a chilled, sugar-rimmed coupe. Garnish with the orange twist.
Recipe: Stuart Peskett, Content Manager
And finally, some top tips for cocktail creations
Feeling inspired to create a new tipple this Christmas? Emma Briffett from our Tastings team shares some hints for sprucing up your drinks and giving them an extra flourish.
Citrus oils – for Martinis and Gin-based cocktails which necessitate the addition of lemon peel, get a really fine slice and then hold it for a few second over a flame to release the citrus oils. Then, simply place in your drink and enjoy a more intensely citrusy experience.
Gin garnishes – most gins now have their own particular garnishes depending on what has been used as the mixer and the dominant botanicals present in the flavour profile. For juniper-led gins, garnish with citrus fruit – try pink grapefruit or dried kumquat for a more exotic finish. Herbs like rosemary, thyme and lemon balm are good in citrussy cocktails, or try spices with floral, scented gins – pink peppercorns or star anise are good options.
Mocktails – Don’t leave the teetotalers out of a divine drinking experience! Even for non-drinkers, adding an interesting garnish can really elevate the drink. A slice of orange (if you freeze it first, it acts as another ice cube) gives an orangey lift to the drink. Browse our Low & No range for more inspiration.
Dried fruits – using a mandolin, try slicing up and drying fruits like apple, pear and orange. Then, dry the slices in a low-heat oven and add to your seasonal tipples (or your Christmas tree).
Coffee beans – three on top of an Espresso Martini is an obviously iconic garnish, but these can be added to the top of any coffee-based cocktail.
Citrus curls – cut a quarter-inch slice from the middle of your lime, lemon or orange. Cut into the center then around the edge to remove the fruit segments. Then, trim off excess pith (but you need a bit to keep rind together). Twist around a cocktail stick, skewer or chopstick and mold with your hands gently. Pin the curl and leave for five minutes, and once it’s set in a curl use it to stylishly garnish your drinks.