Don’t let the Christmas drinks menu for your festive gathering be just your normal everyday choices.
Take advantage of all the offerings of the season.
I’m going to round up the best Christmas drinks I have on my Holiday season bar list each year, with special treats for all your guests.
I will start with alcoholic ones and move on to choices for drivers, children and other non drinkers, make sure you provide plenty of offerings for all.
Apart from your usual beer or wine, offer a Christmas drink with a bit more of a festive feeling.
Mulled Wine or Cider
I like to offer a warm Christmas drink choice and serve as people arrive. That way you can have it ready in advance. This is an idea that works for wine or cider, just choose your favourite. If you think you will have trouble finding time to make it in the rush getting ready, then make it a couple of hours in advance and keep it warm in a thermos flask, ready to pour!
> You can start with any red wine or cider. Or, pick up a couple of bottles of a special seasonal one like Kopparberg Spiced Apple Cider. Add your chosen drink to a pan and warm over a gentle heat.
> I always add a Schwartz mulled wine spice sachet, these come in little boxes of six. Buy a couple of boxes at the start of every holiday season, they are so useful, and have everything together so you don’t have to spend money on lots of expensive spices that you will not use otherwise. You can also use these sachets when soaking cake fruit.
> Sweeten to taste; I use brown sugar, maple syrup or honey.
> Chop some clementine or apple (or both) into thin slices or pieces and add in.
> Add water to make weaker or your favourite liqueur for more kick, whatever your preference.
> Leave to gently simmer for 5 minutes and its ready. Turn off the heat and serve or pour into a thermos flask to keep warm.
TIP: Make a non-alcoholic version for your guests using alcohol free wine or cider to really show you have thought about them too, but make sure you know which is which!
I don’t buy any spirits for Christmas anymore, I don’t like them, they are expensive and they never get used. However, I love a liqueur, the sweeter the better! Guests always like to have something they wouldn’t normally have. Plus, I use all of these in my festive cooking, so I would be buying them anyway. They can be expensive, so if you are planning on getting them all, just buy one a month or when you spot a good offer on.
Arguably the king of the Christmas drinks, Baileys is a British Christmas tradition that is baked right in, it even pops up in Christmas TV specials. This super sweet whiskey and cream based liqueur is the one everyone knows and I love all the flavours, original, mint and pumpkin spice are some of my favourites. But orange truffle Baileys has been the choice for my Christmas drinks bar list for the last few years, yum!
Maybe an unconventional choice for a Christmas drinks list, but I love this coffee and rum based liqueur. I have it every year as both a drink and an ingredient at Christmas. This is because I always make both a regular Christmas cake and Nigella’s Chocolate Fruit Cake, which is my husbands favourite, try it, it is so good!
As well as being good on it’s own, Tia Maria is also really good mixed with milk, coke or orange juice (separately, not together, that would be truly awful) so it’s really versatile to make lots of different tasting drinks from the one bottle.
A traditional Dutch drink made with brandy, eggs and sugar, advocaat is bright yellow and another Christmas tradition in my family. My Dad loves this stuff and is notoriously hard to buy for, so a bottle of this is always in his stocking. Plus, you can make Snowballs with it, what more to say, the Christmas goodness is right there in the name.
How easy it is to make a Snowball: Mix equal parts advocaat and lemonade, that is it, done. Add a squeeze of lime if you are feeling fancy!
This is an Italian almond liqueur and for me, it tastes just like Christmas. It is very versatile I have soaked fruit in this, added it to mulled wine, coffee and hot chocolate. I also use it a lot in desserts, great in tiramisu and the traditional English Christmas trifle.
As a drink it is great with orange juice or lemonade as a mixer.
Keep an eye out for Christmas drinks ranges made by retailers, M&S is the best at this, and always have several lovely choices. Their chocolate yule log cream has been a staple for us for the last few years.
Non-Alcoholic – Cold Soft Christmas Drinks
Yes make sure you have some coke, lemonade and juices in for those not on the alcohol, but how about something a bit more original?
I find that a variety of fizzy drinks goes down really well, so don’t limit yourself to coke and lemonade. Get in some root beer, cream soda, ginger beer or raspberry lemonade and some other special edition festive offerings. Something your guests will not have had for years, if at all, so they can give it a try.
J20’s are a great addition to your Christmas drinks collection because most are not fizzy, they are very drinkable and refreshing, they also make great additions to a punch bowl. Try to get a special edition flavour like Glitter Berry.
Shloer is your fizzy companion to J20’s, marketed as an adult soft drink, this is great served in wine glasses with dinner, a kind of soft drink wine substitute and it comes in loads of flavours.
TIP: I always find cans are the best way to buy my non alcoholic drinks, especially if you are having a few parties over the season for two reasons:
> Less Waste: They work out more expensive than bottles to buy, but you don’t waste as much. This is because you only use what you need and they don’t go flat between parties. So you don’t need to open a new big bottle every time then finish up everything that wasn’t used.
> Storage: They don’t take up your whole fridge door when you are already at bursting point. I buy lots of different cans and stack a few of each in my salad cooler at the bottom of the fridge. Then you just replace the cans as you go along to keep everything cool. If you don’t have this space, cool the cans in a tub filled with ice and pull out as needed. At the end of the party you can just take any unused ones out, let them come to room temperature and then store in a cupboard for next time.
The Christmas Drinks Bar List
So, you have put in the research and got all your drinks together, how do you make sure they don’t stay sitting in the cupboard until next Christmas?
Make a Christmas Drinks Bar list, that’s how!
This is a tradition in our house going back over 10 years. As I have said above, people love to try something seasonal or different from the everyday at Christmas. But you have to let them know they are available.
People love the Christmas bar list and it always provides a talking point as people discuss the drinks on offer and decide what to have.
To save you having to remember that list, get them all written down. If you are crafty inclined and have lovely penmanship you could do this just with pen and paper. Or, give it to the kids to do as a festive activity, then just leave it out for your guests to peruse and choose.
I do not have lovely penmanship, so I run up something simple on the computer. A holly page border, red and green fonts and a few relevant pictures, easy. I like to put alcohol on one side and non-alcoholic choices on the other.
You can then either print it out. Or, if you are computer minded and have a smart TV, save it to a USB like you would a photo and display it on the TV. That way it doesn’t get messy and you can use it again and again.
So, there you have it, a complete round up of the Christmas drinks I like to serve during the Holiday season. Plus a way to make sure everyone gets to try something new or unusual.
I realise I have not covered hot Christmas drinks choices, I will do so in a separate post as there are so many.
Like this post? Come over and follow me on Instagram @joyfullyfestive for more christmassy goodness. Remember to turn on notifications so that you don’t miss a thing.
Start at the very beginning here
Or Next Post