Christmas is the season to be jolly, and what could be jollier than sharing a drink with friends? With lockdown finally coming to a close, this December will bring the first Christmas spent with our extended families and friends in two years. This article lists the best ten cocktails to make for a Christmas celebration, whether for parties or to add to the excitement of Christmas Day itself.
With the season for fruity summer cocktails well and truly over, here is a selection of warming winter cocktails to try. Many are traditionally served during the Christmas period, such as eggnog and mulled wine. Others, like the Kir Royale, are served throughout the year but come into their own during the Christmas period.
Mulled wine is often thought to have originated in the second century when the Romans began heating their wine with spices to stave off the cold of the winter weather. The drink spread across the Roman Empire and into many of the northern regions where the Romans were trading. The mixture was particularly popular in Sweden, where it was renamed Glogg.
It wasn’t until the 1890’s that mulled wine was created in its current form, with the addition of citrus and port. The association between mulled wine and Christmas has made the cocktail an annual favourite.
Created with a mixture of Advocaat, brandy, lemonade and lime, this is a white creamy drink which is served in round glasses – hence the name snowball. The sweet mixture of the Advocaat and lemonade made it popular as a party drink. The cocktail was created in the 1940’s, but rose to popularity as a Christmas drink in the 70’s.
The drink is served cold rather than warmed like many winter cocktails, so is perfect for sipping in front of a warm fire.
The hot toddy was often used as a throat soother for when a patient had a cold or a mild fever. Before modern medicine such as paracetamol became widely available, the hot toddy was often used as a cure-all.
The drink itself was supposedly named after a Dr Robert Todd after he prescribed hot brandy, cinnamon and sugar. The modern mixture generally uses warm whisky instead of brandy, but sugar and cinnamon are still included. The hot toddy remains a delicious and warming treat for Christmas.
Made with milk, eggs, sugar, a spirit such as whisky and cinnamon, this cocktail originated in Europe. The most likely origin of the cocktail is the 13th century drink enjoyed in monasteries, known as posset, a mixture of eggs and warm ale often enjoyed by monks.
Nowadays eggnog is a warmed Christmas drink that is enjoyed around the world. It is often described as an egg and milk punch which is most often served specifically at Christmas. Much like Marmite, eggnog seems to divide opinion, as the addition of eggs seems to put some people off this delicious cocktail.
Like mulled wine, mulled cider has long been a winter tradition, and is enjoyed across the country as a sweet winter treat. The fruity taste of cider, combined with spices and heated up, is delicious.
The recipe is associated with the English tradition of Wassailing, a Druidic festival held on the 5th of January, when revellers would go in costume to appease the spirits of the orchard by singing to the trees, and scare away evil spirits by creating a hullaballoo by bashing pots and pans together. Those participating in the festival would later drink a cup of warmed apple cider, most often served in a wooden cup or bowl, to celebrate their good health over the winter season. The Wassail traditions are still practised in rural areas with specific local customs which often differ depending on the county or town that they are held in.
A cocktail made from champagne and Lejay cassis, Kir Royale is the ultimate champagne cocktail for many. The fruity taste and beautiful red or pink colour have given it a huge following of cocktail enthusiasts.
This cocktail comes from the original Kir cocktail, made with white wine and Lejay cassis. The creator, Felix Kir, was a Catholic priest and a famous member of the French Resistance against the Nazis, who helped thousands of prisoners of war to escape. After the Germans confiscated Burgundy’s iconic red wines, Kir created his cocktail in defiance. The Kir Royale has remained popular to this day, though few know the story behind it.
The drink we now call Irish coffee was created in the winter of 1943 in Limerick in Ireland. The creator, Joe Sheridan, whipped up this delicious drink after he saw the dispirited passengers of a flight that had been turned back. Feeling bad for them, he served them all Irish coffee to revive them. The mixture of whiskey, sugar, coffee and cream is a winning combination, and the Irish coffee has become a winter’s classic. An Irish coffee served on Christmas Eve before heading off to bed is a wonderful nightcap.
The White Russian cocktail was created not in Russia, but in Brussels at the Hotel Metropole, along with its sister cocktail the Black Russian. The cocktails are actually referred to as Russian due to the large amount of vodka included in the recipe. The cocktail is made from Vodka, coffee liqueur and cream, served over ice.
The taste of coffee liqueur and cream combined has made this cocktail a Christmas favourite, with many enjoying this recipe throughout the winter months.
The old fashioned is a classic cocktail that is served year-round, but which comes into its own at Christmas due to the addition of whiskey. Supposedly created in New York during the 1800’s this cocktail is a classic. It consists of a measure of whiskey mixed with bitters and sugar, poured over ice. More recently this cocktail is often garnished with an orange slice or a glacé cherry.
Hot Buttered Rum
The final cocktail on this list, hot buttered rum is a winter favourite and is often served at home following a long day outside in the cold. The drink is made up of butter, rum, water or cider, with a sweetener and spices. The warmth of the drink is fantastic, although its popularity has somewhat reduced due to the high calorie content of the drink.
Hot buttered rum has a history dating back to America before the Revolution. In colonial America rum was the drink of choice for decades, and hot buttered rum was a product of their passion for the spirit.
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