Welcome to my ultimate Christmas drinks guide for 2017 – with my favourite spirits, wines, soft drinks and teas!
As soon as the Christmas period hits, I just want to gather friends and family around. Whether it’s a quiet cup of tea around the kitchen table on an afternoon, or a raucous party with shooters and dancing, I need to stock up my figurative drinks trolley.
Christmas is a time to revel in the extravagant. I want well thought out cocktails, unusual spirits and the best wines. So, take a look through my Christmas drinks guide and see if anything catches your eye!
Spirits – Christmas Drinks Guide
Black Cow Vodka, £26
Who knew you could make vodka from milk?! I first encountered Black Cow vodka at a blogger retreat in Dorset, where the brand comes from. It’s a really smooth spirit that unsurprisingly goes really well with cheese. They even do cheese/vodka gift packs. Quite unusual, but definitely delicious.
Bailey’s Almande (vegan), £25
Now there’s no need for vegans or anyone with dairy intolerances to forego a traditional Christmas Bailey’s! I’ve been waiting ages to try their new almond milk based Bailey’s almande and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s got loads of that typical Irish Cream flavour and is made with almond milk, almond essence, cane sugar, purified water and real vanilla. Lovely!
Curio Cocoa Nib Vodka, £18.99
This small batch triple distilled vodka from Cornwall-based Curio Spirits is infused with Peruvian cocoa nibs! Bang on trend, this also gives the vodka a gentle chocolate aroma. It’s really smooth and we enjoyed it as a shot, but it’s also really amazing in an espresso martini.
Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Bourbon, £27 M&S
Four Roses is a small batch hand crafted Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that’s crafted from four select bourbons. The tasting notes say that it’s rich and spicy with sweet fruit aromas and hints of sweet oak and caramel. My palate might not be particularly refined for this, but my husband and I absolutely loved it and found those notes to all be true. It’s really smooth with beautiful flavours. We tried it neat, and also made into an Old Fashioned.
Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin, £25
Premium Pink Distilled Gin was inspired by Gordon’s original 1880 pink gin recipe. It was made to balance taste of Gordon’s gin with berries. It has the sweetness of raspberries and strawberries with the tang of redcurrant. The natural berry flavours really add a lovely flavour to a G&T, but I also loved a splash of it in a prosecco!
Crane’s of Cambridge Cranberry and Blood Orange Liqueur, £15
Cranes is a lovely sweet liqueur made from cranberries and blood orange. This 35cl bottle comes in a gift box with cocktail recipes on the side. I went for the Cranllini first, with is prosecco with a shot of Cranes. It is soooo good. In fact, I’ll be serving it on Christmas day! They also suggest using it in a Cosmopolitan and I’ll be trying that next. It adds a really great burst of flavour to cocktails.
Freya Birch Spirit, £37
Freya is distilled from the sap of the birch tree – sounds crazy but you really must try it! Once a year in early spring, after the winter thaw, foragers have just three weeks to search the forests for wild birch trees and carefully and sustainably tap the trees drawing out the pure birch sap. This is then craft distilled in copper pots in the UK into a Freya Birch Spirit. The gorgeous bottle is perfect for gifting and it’s so nice to see such an unusual spirit. It’s a strong white spirit with subtle fruit notes that you can use in place of gin or vodka. I loved it with tonic, ice and lime!
Twisting Spirits Douglas Fir Gin, £15
This is pretty amazing. It’s a hot and cold small batch distilled gin, infused with the flavours of Douglas Fir. I’m Canadian so I know this smell well and it was like drinking a memory. It has lovely aromas and a smooth taste. It’s quite special in a gin and tonic! The brand also do some really intriguing flavours including kaffir lime and lemongrass and Earl Grey. I can’t wait to try the others.
Demijohn miniature bottles: spiced rum and sloe gin
These little miniature bottles of sloe gin and spiced rum would make great grown up stocking fillers. The company, Demijohn, is an Ediburgh-based family business. In their shops you can choose a bottle and have it filled (and refilled) with whatever flavour you choose.
Wine – Christmas Drinks Guide
Wine and Chocolate Matching gift set
The Chief Chocolate Officer and halfwine.com sent two half bottles of wine each with a matching bar of chocolate. They have analysed the typical tasting notes of the UK’s six most popular wine grapes and produced a premium range of unique chocolate bars designed to enhance the enjoyment of both the chocolate and the wine, creating WINE BARS®. I really enjoyed trying the wine and chocolate that they sent. The 2015 Pinot Noir was paired with delicious milk chocolate with coffee, cacao and wild cherry. These would make a great stocking filler, or the full set would be such a lovely for anyone who loves both wine and chocolate (like me!).
Bottle Bazaar’s 2015 Malbec with personalised label, £17.50
This would make an amazing gift for the host if you’re going to someone’s house for Christmas dinner. Bottle Bazaar have a huge range of labels (or upload your own) to personalise and you pair them with the wine of your choosing. I like that instead of it being just about the label, they have really top quality wines – chosen by wine experts. This 2015 malbec was very flavourful with notes of blackberries and violets.
Abel and Cole Prosecco and Truffle Box, £20
This Prosecco and Truffle Box from Abel and Cole would make such a lovely gift. It’s beautifully packaged with a bottle of delicious organic vegan Italian prosecco, plus a box of 6 fairtrade organic handmade luxury champagne truffles (not vegan). Now that’s my kind of indulgence!
I Heart Wines mini bottles
I Heart Wines make little miniature bottles that are great for stocking fillers. The one-glass bottles would also be great to give to anyone driving to make sure they don’t go over the limit.
Soft Drinks – Christmas Drinks Guide
Franklin & Sons Soft Drink Mixers,
I love good quality drinks mixers, and Franklin & Sons are really lovely. For over 100 years they’ve been crafting drinks using the finest ingredients. I love their well-considered flavours including Cola (West African kola nut and Columbian coffee bean), Sicilian lemonade, English elderflower with crushed juniper and cloudy apple, Yorkshire rhubarb with cinnamon. They have great twists on flavours, as well as quality tonics and typical mixers.
Big Tom and James White Drinks,
Big Tom is a spiced tomato juice and I know it well. I craved it a lot when I was pregnant! Nowadays I love it on it’s own or spiked into a Bloody Mary. It’s got a little heat, but also loads of flavour.
James White make a range of lovely soft drinks, including freshly pressed apple juices and Great Uncle Cornelius’ refreshers. I love the ginger and rhubarb refreshers and the whole range has a great flavour.
Vega vegan protein powder, £30
Vega is a plant-based protein powder with greens, vitamins and minerals and fibre. I like the vanilla flavour and you can just mix it with cold water into a quick nutritious breakfast drink. I’ve tried protein powders before, but I love that this one has an ingredient list full of recognizable names of fruits and vegetables – from pea protein and flaxseed, to hemp protein and spinach powder. Don’t let all that put you off though – it actually tastes nice! I have it on it’s own or blend it with a banana, some almond milk and a handful of spinach for a filling breakfast. I’ll 100%
be buying it again and again.
Lean Greens 16 Day Starter Pack, £30
I’ve used Lean Greens on and off for a few years now. It’s a green powder filled with nutritious ingredients from chlorella and spirulina to green tea extract and wheatgrass. You’d think that would taste pretty bad, but actually it doesn’t taste of much. It’s a pleasant neutral taste. I just mix it with water in the shaker and drink it down. I like that it makes me feel energised and healthier. It’s great when I’m reaching for too many sweet things or just feeling a bit run down.
Tea and Coffee – Christmas Drinks Guide
Jing Tea One Cup Tea-iere, £20
I adore Jing’s high quality tea range and this glass tea cafetiere is perfect for brewing up a cup of loose leaf. As with all of their products that I’ve tried, the tea-iere is beautifully made and works perfectly. Sometimes the smaller bits of loose leaf teas come through most strainers, but this one catches a lot of it. It feels really nice to use and would make a lovely gift for a tea lover.
We Are Tea
I’ve long been a fan of We Are Tea’s fantastic selection. This is a really lovely loose-leaf rooibos that I’ve been drinking often in the evening. I’ve also used it to infuse these scrumptious Rooibos Millionaire Shortbread! The teas would be a welcome stocking filler and you can get them at Morrisons and Ocado.
The English Tea Shop’s Christmas Tea Collection
This cute Christmas box is filled with pyramids of teas and wrapped up with a red ribbon. The set has four holiday blends including ginger bread man, sleigh ride, candy cane and happy holiday – all with 100% natural flavours.
The English Tea Shop’s Organic Christmas Tea Collection Tin
This is a lovely tin of individually wrapped organic fairtrade teas that’s perfect for a tea fan. There are nine flavours including Warm Winter, Ginger Cranberry, Sweet Rosehip Cinnamon, Red Chai, Red Cocoa Ginger, Coffee Cream, Apple Spice, Christmas Punch and Christmas Night. The ones that I’ve tried have all be lovely and fragrant (with natural flavours).
Matcha Green Tea, £17, Kiss Me Organics
This is a really nice ceremonial grade matcha green tea. I absolutely love matcha and often have it as a tea or with almond milk as a latte. Some can be a little harsh, but this one isn’t too strong at all. It’s bursting with antioxidants and goodness, but is really easy to drink. I like matcha as it gives me an energy boost, but it comes with a clarity of thinking that’s the opposite of what too much coffee can give. This one comes in a handy tin, with a pull cap to keep it fresh.
Bonus drinks! – Here are some more drinks that I wanted to share with you.
Aluna Coconut Rum, £24
This is totally tropical amazingness! Rather than a sharp alcohol smell, when you open the bottle of Aluna coconut rum you’re met with a wonderfully intense coconut fragrance. And it tastes incredible. I had it over ice, but I am really looking forward to making pina coladas with it this weekend. It’s made of a high quality Guatemalan rum as well as smooth Caribbean rums, blended with organic coconut water and natural toasted coconut flavours. It’s also lower in sugar than similar spirits. It has a beautiful bottle that makes it perfect for gifting. This was a real winner in my house.
Bloom London Dry Gin, £25
This floral gin is like a glass full of summer garden scents. It has a lovely delicate aroma and taste, with botanicals of chamomile, pomelo and honeysuckle. I love it in a G&T as the floral notes and citrus of the pomelo really elevate the humble highball cocktail. I also love the turquoise packaging with embossed glass! It would make a fab gift, or a great way to stock your Christmas bar.
These are really fun cocktail mixers. You just add ice and spirits to a glass then pour in the Tipplesworth mixers – though really you’ll want to shake them in a cocktail shaker. While singing and dancing. That’s a must. They come in flavours such as espresso martini, raspberry mojito and bramble. Each bottle has enough for 5-10 servings – so they’ll do perfectly for a party. I love the retro-tastic packaging and that they make cocktails soooo easy. They’re made by hand with all natural ingredients, so they don’t have that synthetic taste that some cocktail mixers can have. Instead these taste really natural and like you’ve just mixed it all up yourself. But without any hassle. My favourite was the espresso martini – but really they were all pretty fantastic. I’ll definitely pick these up for a party and for Christmas day.
Disclosure: I was sent samples for my Christmas drinks guide. All opinions are my own.
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