Raise a toast: 12 drinks of Christmas
It’s finally the month of Christmas and we’re feeling merry. It’s time to get that playlist going, mince pies warming and to top it off – drinks ready for pouring. To celebrate the start of December, we’ve put together our top festive drinks, including festive alcohol-free options, too. Make sure you catch all of our 12 drinks of Christmas by exploring our five festive cocktails here.
This warm, sugary and spicy beverage has been an intrinsic part of Christmas since Roman times. That’s right, mulled wine is no recent festive novelty, it’s been spreading cheer and warmth since days gone by. This traditional festive beverage is usually made with red wine combined with various spices, but if you fancy something slightly different try glogg, made with slightly different spices as well as raisins and almonds.
Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ remains an enduring part of Christmas, as does the writer’s favourite tipple: sloe gin. A traditional English seasonal sip that dates back to the 17th century. Rich red in colour and sweet in taste, this fruit liqueur is the perfect winter warmer. Sloe gin is made by infusing gin, and sloe drupes, a small fruit that has a sharp, sour taste, for three months.
It’s Christmas Eve tradition to leave sherry and biscuits out for Santa, which is partly why this particular drink is well known as a festive tipple. Sherry has often been associated with an older age group, but the UK has recently witnessed a sherry revival, with dry sherries becoming more popular with a younger audience.
Port is Christmas staple, often served after Christmas dinner with cheese and crackers, or late in the evening while reminiscing over Christmases past. This fortified, sweet wine first became popular in 1700s England and our nation quickly invested in the Douro River Valley region of Portugal, the only region in the world where port can be made. Many believe that port became popular at Christmas because the English invested in importing it from Portugal, making it so readily available that anyone could afford a bottle for the holiday.
Although creamy liqueurs are enjoyed all year round in cocktails such as espresso martinis, they’re still best known for being a straight drink enjoyed as a yuletide treat. Truly the ‘Marmite’ of Christmas tipples, these liqueurs divide the nation into those who love and those who loathe them. More precisely, between those who consider a cream liqueur a rich, indulgent luxury, and those who find it sickly sweet.
Spiced rum was introduced from India to England in the 17th century, by employees of the English East India Company. Rum itself wasn’t very palatable at this time, so by combining it with sugar, spice and citrus, it tasted far better. This beverage was often consumed from massive punch bowls at gatherings such as Christmas, which is why we’ve come to associate this spirit as a festive treat. Nowadays, we enjoy this wonderfully complex flavour straight on the rocks, or in drinks like hot toddies.
Brandy’s iconic Christmas status comes from being the key ingredient in a Christmas pud, as well as the spirit of choice for a flambayet dessert. However, this drink’s role in Christmas has evolved further. From the 19th century onwards, Britain began to enjoy a shot of this alcohol after the Christmas pudding and this evolved into enjoying it neat in the evening, while nibbling on turkey sandwiches.
Is that the cheerful clinking of glasses we hear? As family come together to celebrate, raise a toast to the festive season with our deliciously simple cocktails.
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For more drinkspiration take a look at Ocado’s guide to the best festive fizz