We all know that Christmas is time for mistletoe and wine, so it’s no surprise that London’s bar scene is awash with festive cocktail menus. Rosie rounds up the best drinks to channel festive spirit(s)…
‘Tis the season to be jolly – hence the popularity of Christmas-themed drinks to get us in the festive spirit. What was once a relatively simple decision – mulled wine, hot toddy or eggnog – has now become much more complex, with London’s best bars introducing special themed cocktail menus to bring good tidings to merrymakers across the City.
We begin at Duck and Waffle, an excellent spot from which to behold the array of sparkling Christmas lights across London while drinking a cocktail from its #12drinksofchristmas menu. For those who are partial to a mulled wine, the Mulled Negroni – made with vermouth that has rested in Cabernet barrels and complemented with the kick of mulled spices – is for you. Or for the sweet tooth, the decadent White Chocolate Milk Punch is a magical combination of Grey Goose L’Orange & Vanille vodkas, Noilly Prat, and distilled white chocolate. Other drinks focus on seasonal ingredients, resulting in drinks such as the Fig & Chestnut Manhattan, Yule Mule, and Clementine & Dark Chocolate Martinez.
If you want to walk in a winter wonderland while you drink, head to Aster, which has transformed its café space into a cosy hunting lodge complete with sheepskin blankets and mounted deer heads. A special whiskey cocktail menu has been created in partnership with The Macallan and Laphroaig, which includes the Festive Fireside – a blend of Laphroaig 10-year-old, Courvoisier, ginger syrup, Noilly prat and Napoleon Mandarine liqueur – and Monarch of the Glen, a deliciously warming drink made with Macallan Gold, honey, cloves, cinnamon and orange.
Alternatively, have your festive feast in liquid form at Cantina Laredo, where the tequila bar is serving up brussels-sprout infused margaritas to accompany traditional British Christmas dishes prepared with a Mexican twist. Think turkey tacos filled with all the trimmings – grilled turkey, pigs in blankets, bread sauce and cranberry salsa – alongside chilli and bacon brussels sprouts served with pecans, dried cranberries and a Serrano and tomatillo sour cream. Even Christmas pudding is given a Mexican flavour with Buñuelos de Navidad, crispy Buñuelos, filled with eggnog buttercream and Christmas cake.
For something more traditional, you can dream of a white Christmas at Angler’s beautiful terrace at South Place Hotel. The sparkling decorations are best enjoyed with an accompanying glass of bubbly courtesy of their collaboration with Moët & Chandon – a very civilised take on Christmas cheer.
If champagne’s not your thing, head to Harvey Nichols’ Meantime Beer Terrace to enjoy festive dishes flavour-matched to beers. Available until 30 December, Christmas classics such as pigs in blankets have been paired with London Pale Ale, through to spiced fruit doughnuts served with Chocolate Porter.
For those hoping to bring festive spirit(s) into their own home, several spirit brands have released special edition Christmas-themed bottles that make the ideal gift – or can be used to create your very own festive cocktails. We love Fever Tree’s limited edition clementine tonic water with cinnamon served with sloe gin and garnished with clementine peel – best served as a double shot if you’re hoping to get that cheeky kiss under the mistletoe…
After graduating from Cambridge University with a triple First, Rosie decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry rather than follow the traditional path of her peers in investment banking. Unable to shake off the fast-paced routine she developed in her City job, she achieves balance by winding down in yoga sessions, escaping on fitness retreats, and going for extended brunches that somehow seem to wind up in a hidden gem of a cocktail bar.