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Looking for something a little bit different to drink this year?
To help inspire your cocktail creations this Christmas, we’ve asked drinks and mixology experts for their favourite festive cocktail recipes.
Experts including Salvatore Calabrese, The Mixology Brothers and Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown of Mixellany share easy-to-tackle recipe ideas, from indulgent winter warmers to fruity festive tipples – to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer.
Plus, we’ve rounded up three non-alcoholic recipe ideas, including a berry-flavoured mocktail and an alcohol-free alternative to mulled wine.
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1. Gin & Jam
You can experiment with different flavours in this fruity gin & jam cocktail from The Mixology Brothers, the cocktail event specialists and consultancy.
Try cranberry jam for a burst of festive flavour – also a good way to use up any spare cranberry sauce post christmas-dinner!
- 50ml London dry gin
- 25ml lime juice
- 1 tsp jam
- Ginger beer
- Add gin and jam to a cocktail shaker and stir until combined
- Add lime juice and fill the shaker with ice. Shake for 8-10 seconds.
- Fine strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with Ginger Beer. Stir to combine.
- Garnish with a bouquet of fresh mint and dust with icing sugar.
2. Christmas Pudding-tini
This recipe, from Salvatore Calabrese, consultant, author and former President of the United Kingdom Bartenders’ Guild, uses a chunk of sambuca-soaked Christmas pudding for a festive twist on the classic martini, with a flame for added drama.
- 50ml chilled gin
- 10ml cognac
- 10ml white creme de cacao
- 20ml sambuca
- Walnut-sized piece of Christmas pudding
- Add the Christmas pudding to the sambuca and leave it to soak while you make the drink.
- Pour all the other ingredients into a mixing glass or jug filled with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Using a teaspoon, take the pudding from the sambuca and set light to it. Drop the flaming pudding into the drink and serve.
3. Bee’s Tease
Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown, drink historians, writers and directors of drinks consultancy Mixellany, recommend this warming winter version of the 1920s Paris classic ‘Bee’s Knees’.
Made with tea, gin, honey and lemon juice and served warm, it’s a great alternative to mulled wine or cider.
- 50ml London dry gin
- 15ml honey
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 100-125ml boiling water
- 1 teabag (ideally assam tea, but Christmas spiced tea or black tea also work well)
- Combine tea and boiling water in a teacup or Irish coffee mug. Let the tea steep for a few minutes and remove the teabag.
- Add the honey and stir until dissolved.
- Add the gin and fresh lemon juice. Stir and serve.
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This indulgent offering from Salvatore Calabrese uses creme de cacao in a twist on the traditional retro favourite.
- 50ml Advocaat
- 15ml white creme de cacao
- 10ml lime cordial
- 120-150ml lemonade
- Whisk all the ingredients, except for the lemonade, in a highball glass and add ice.
- Top up with lemonade and stir.
- Garnish with a cocktail cherry and grate white chocolate on top.
5. Espresso Mochatini
Since espresso martini was first created in 1983, countless twists have emerged – but according to Anistatia and Jared of Mixellany, none are quite as decadent as this mocha version with chocolate liqueur.
- 50ml vodka (or gin, rum, or whiskey if you prefer)
- 35ml espresso
- 25ml chocolate liqueur
- Combine ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker.
- Shake well – you’ll know you did it right if the drink has a foamy ‘crema’ on top).
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
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This cheery creation, from Mixellany, combines cranberry juice, sparkling wine and triple sec to create a delicious drink in a festive hue.
- 75ml sparkling wine
- 50ml cranberry juice
- 15ml triple sec or limoncello
- Combine ingredients in a champagne flute or coupe.
- Use a spoon or stirrer to stir very gently once or twice.
This simple yet delicious three-ingredient cocktail from The Mixology Brothers is perfect for Christmas celebrations.
- 15ml Grand Marnier Liqueur
- 45ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- Add the liqueur and orange juice to a chilled flute and stir to combine.
- Top with champagne.
Fresh vs chilled vs long-life orange juice – find out which one tasters preferred in our blind taste test.
If you’re feeling fruity, this rich, earthy cocktail from Salvatore Calabrese should hit the spot. It can be served on the rocks or straight up.
- 50ml Cognac
- 15ml Grand Marnier
- 15ml Blackberry liqueur
- 15ml fresh lemon juice
- 4 fresh blackberries
- Muddle the blackberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker or tall glass / jug.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and ice, shake well and strain into an old fashioned glass with ice.
- Garnish with 2 blackberries and a mint leaf on a cocktail stick.
9. Rum & Chocolate Old Fashioned
This recipe from The Mixology Brothers adds a dash of chocolate liqueur for a spin on the classic rum-based cocktail.
- 50ml aged rum
- 5ml chocolate liqueur
- 10ml sugar syrup
- 2 dashes cocktail bitters
- Add all ingredients to a stirring glass or cocktail shaker.
- Fill with ice and stir to combine.
- Serve over a large ice cube and garnish with a cherry.
You can usually buy bitters, sugar syrup and other key cocktail kit in the alcohol aisle of bigger supermarkets.
10. Irish coffee
Swift, a London-based cocktail bar, suggests this creamy and indulgent winter warmer made with Irish whiskey, coffee and cream.
Perfect if you want something cosy and rich with a bit of a kick to round off the evening.
- 30 ml Jameson’s Caskmates Irish Whiskey
- 1 teaspoon demerara sugar
- Filtered coffee
- Double Cream
- Fill a heat-proof glass with hot water to pre-warm it.
- After a minute, pour out the hot water and add the Irish Whiskey and demerara sugar, then top up with filtered hot coffee.
- Add a layer of very cold double cream on top and finish with grated nutmeg.
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Non-alcoholic cocktails and mocktails
If you’re looking for alcohol-free festive cocktail ideas, here are three mocktail recipes to try this Christmas.
1. Berry Blast
This seasonal mocktail from The Mixology Brothers mixes fresh and fruity festive flavours with a traditional teatime twist.
Perfect to cut through the rich and heavy flavours of festive fare.
Try experimenting with different flavoured teas and types of berry.
- 50ml English breakfast tea
- 50ml cranberry juice
- 25ml lemon juice
- 6/8 fresh raspberries
- Half a passion fruit
- Dash sugar syrup
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
- Fine strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a slice of lime, berries and a mint sprig.
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2. Mulled Apple juice
Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown of Mixellany recommend this easy, non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine.
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 litre of cloudy apple juice
- 2-3 sachets or tablespoons of mulling spices
- Add apple juice and spices to a saucepan.
- Simmer covered on a low heat for 10-15 minutes.
For Hot Mulled Sloe Gin (alcoholic): add 250ml sloe gin a minute before serving.
How to make perfect slow cooker mulled wine – see our slow cooker recipes for mulled wine, mulled cider and a mulled non-alcoholic punch
3. Ginger Alert
Our wine experts typically recommend ginger-based drinks as a good alternative to boozy versions, as the warming kick of ginger mimics the one you get from alcohol.
With his Ginger Alert recipe, Salvatore Calabrese gives us an energetic drink full of flavour that do the trick just perfectly.
- 75ml apple juice
- 75ml pear juice
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 3 thin slices fresh ginger
- ginger ale
- Muddle the ginger in the bottom of a shaker.
- Add all the other ingredients apart for the ginger ale and ice.
- Shake well and strain into a highball glass
- Top up with the ginger ale and stir.
- garnish with a sprig of mint.
To make an alcoholic version, add 50ml of whisky or dark rum.
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