Unless you're actively partaking in a sober curious Christmas, the festive season tends to be one of drinking (responsibly) – there’s no getting away from it. And why the hell not? By December we have definitely earned our opportunity for lavish nights in by the TV, extravagant outfits and some light indulgence in liquid form. So if you’re really going to get into the Christmas spirit(s), you may as well do it right. From a pilsner from Prague to spiced rum hailing from Cuba, here are five of our favourites.
Beer? Festive beer? Beer at this time of year? What’s with all the question marks? There is no need for a single one, because it’s time to reconsider the humble pint. Why? it’s the most sociable drink in the bar, and sociable drinking is surely what the entirety of the festive season amounts to. It’s a perceived laid back choice, an easy-going option’, and a pale one like this one from the brewers of Staropramen is a lighter, crisper tasting 4% alcohol pilsner, so it’s a slower, safer route to tipsiness too.
Wine will never go out of the top 5 list, obviously, and red wine in winter is the very best, but there are ways of making it extra special for this time of year. Merge it with the most beautiful heritage store in London, obviously. Liberty launched their own drinks range earlier this year, but this wine, created by London’s winery Urban Cru, is a Spanish Shiraz from the Northern region of Catalunya. Liberty Red has a distinct blackberry flavour, with a touch of white pepper, liquorice and dried herbs. Wine, but make it fabulous.
It’s the season to mull anything, apparently, but mulled gin? Mulled gin is next level interesting. Because it’s a flavoured spirit, it’s subtly flavoured. It’ll be even more festive with a clementine tonic, say. But basically combining the seasonal spice orange, clove and anise of mulled wine, with a clean, bitter gin (Britain’s favourite spirit, FYI) Fireside’s mulled gin will warm you up from the inside out.
Rum is a hidden gem in your drinks cabinet. There’s something of a rum reconaissance a foot, with interesting brands and flavours popping up in our favourite places. Rum cocktails are a slightly more surprising choice for winter, but Cuban Black Tears is a dry spiced dark rum with a bittersweet flavours, like golden syrup, cocoa, coffee and pepper. You can imagine it, right? if a Dark N’ Stormy is your cocktail choice then let this be the main ingredient. Otherwise serve it simply and deliciously on the rocks.
Come on. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a slightly sickening creamy liqueur. One that will sit untouched in your cupboard for eleven out of twelve months of the year. Then it’s time! Refrigerate! Pour over ice! Sip, mmmm, soooo good. Why don’t I drink this all year round? Second sip. Oh yes, mmm quite rich isn’t it? Third sip, OK, that’s probably enough for another year. Except Hotel Chocolat Velvetised Chocolate Cream Liqueur is a clean, rich version. It’s much more of an alcoholic chocolate milkshake, so it’s more drinkable, more different, and – maybe – more dangerous.
Drink responsibly: drinkaware.co.uk