A lot of traditional Christmas drinks are not exactly delicious. Advocaat and Eggnog both taste like eggs, and mulled wine gives me a headache. It seems to me Christmas drinks go from delicious hot chocolate and other treats for children, to the vaguely medicinal peppermint schnapps for adults. But no fear! This Christmas myza have the solution. We have put together five delicious cocktail recipes to cheer up any Christmas, perfect for those who want something new to drink this festive season.
This festive twist on a trendy Italian cocktail is a delicious treat for those who like their cocktails to taste appropriately grown up.
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 star anise
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 200ml gin
- 100-200ml vermouth
- 100-200ml Campari
- orange slices and fresh bay leaves, to serve
- Put the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom and peppercorns in a dry frying pan, and toast for 5 mins, or until the spices are just fragrant. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Tip all the toasted spices into a medium jar and pour over the gin. Seal and chill for 48 hrs to infuse.
- Strain the infused gin through a fine mesh sieve, and fill four to eight glasses with ice. To mix the cocktail, tip 25ml each infused gin, vermouth and Campari into the glasses, then garnish with orange slices and bay.
Pomegranate and Prosecco
This cocktail is simple to make and delicious to drink. Like a Christmassy Kir Royale, this take on the classic French cocktail is perfect for those who love simple flavours. And it’s made with – say it with me – Nigella’s ‘most Christmassy fruit’.
- 1 ounce pomegranate liqueur, or pomegranate juice for a less boozy option
- 4 ounces chilled Prosecco (could also use Champagne or Cava)
- Dash bitters (optional)
- Pomegranate seeds (optional garnish)
- Pour liqueur/juice into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
- Finish with a dash of bitter, if using, and garnish with pomegranate seeds. We did say this one was simple!
Spiced Cranberry Old Fashioned
Fun fact – the old fashioned is the favourite drink of Jess, Zooey Deschanel’s character in New Girl. This cocktail dates back to the 1800s, where it was a frequent favourite of gentlemen’s clubs. It is often associated with an aristocratic and more mature drinker. Sometimes, I can find it too bourbon heavy, but this spiced cranberry version elevates the drink to one of my festive favourites.
For the syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 star anise pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
For each old fashioned
- 1 ounce spiced cranberry syrup
- 2 dashes cocktail bitters
- 2 ounces bourbon
- splash of club soda
- orange peel
- maraschino cherries
- sugared cranberries
- cinnamon sticks for garnish, optional
- Make the spiced cranberry syrup. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, cranberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves to a boil. Boil for 4-5 minutes, or until cranberries start to burst and the syrup is a rich red colour. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer and discard cranberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and clove. Syrup can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
- Make the sugared cranberries. Bring water and ½ cup of the sugar to a boil. Once boiling, stir for thirty seconds until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries. Stir until completely coated, then transfer to a wire rack to dry. Let dry for an hour, then roll in the remaining sugar, working in batches. Transfer back to the rack, and let dry for an additional hour. Store in a cool, dry place.
- To make the old fashioned, add an ice cube or two to your glass. Add the cranberry syrup, the cocktail bitters, and the bourbon. Add a splash of club soda and stir. Then you could garnish with a cinnamon stick, as well as the traditional maraschino cherry and orange peel.
Based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe for a traditional Manhattan, this cocktail is a family favourite. The Manhattan, like so many cocktails, is often thought of as an inherently feminine drink – which is funny when you see just how much alcohol it contains! Leave the men to their 4.5% beers, and instead enjoy a more refined 60 proof cocktail. I bet you’ll think it’s just as tasty as we do.
- 50 ml rye whiskey
- 12.5 ml Martini Rosso (red vermouth)
- 12.5 ml dry vermouth
- 2 dashes of orange bitters
- spiced simple syrup (you could use the syrup from the previous recipe, or just make up a traditional simple syrup with some allspice in it)
- 1 orange
- Stir the whiskey, vermouths and bitters together with the simple syrup over ice.
- Strain well into a chilled Martini glass.
- Add a strip of orange peel, to garnish.
Apple Cider Margarita
A festive spin on the 1930s classic, this Apple Cider Margarita is my personal favourite cocktail. It also features one of my favourite kinds of garnish, which is the sugar rim, but this time with added cinnamon! If you love a zesty cocktail, and like a bright flavour with a zing, this is the festive cocktail for you.
- 1 ½ ounces tequila reposado or blanco
- 2 ounces apple cider
- ¾ ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
- ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
- Cinnamon and sugar, for the rim
- Ice, for serving
- Star anise and cinnamon stick, for garnish (optional)
- Mix up some sugar and cinnamon. Then, wet the edge of your glass (we’d recommend using a specific margarita glass, but any cocktail glass will do) with a lime. Simply dip your glass in the sugar cinnamon mix, and coat the top of the glass in the delicious concoction. Now you have a festively sugar coated rim!
- For a single drink, mix all the above listed ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake well. For a festive but less alcoholic rendition of this cocktail, you could replace the Triple Sec with a spiced simple syrup again. Pour the drink into your sugar rimmed cocktail glass and voila! Christmas is served.
Cocktails can be a sticky business. Keep your table safe – and well dressed – with these coasters from Nina D.
If you do want to have some more traditional Christmas cocktails on the big day, we recommend watching this video from youtuber Binging with Babish, which goes over the basics.