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Kick-off the festive season in style this year, with 10 amazing cocktails that use delicious local products. And, of course, please drink responsibly this Christmas.
We kick things off with an absolute classic. It’s not Christmas without mulled wine, or Gluhwein as our friends in Germany say! And this is one you can’t really get wrong either, just make sure you have a good quality red wine to start with. Combine with traditional festive flavours like cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and orange zest/juice, and you’re off in the right direction! You can get creative with it too. Chuck in a shot of whisky or dark rum for good measure. Go on, it’s Christmas! We’d recommend Substrata or Naked Wine as a good place to source a high-quality, reasonably-priced red wine. Or why not check out Cocktail Canaries, who offer a great range of delicious pre-made festive cocktails that can be delivered straight to your door.
This is definitely a drink rooted in American Christmas culture, but we love it, nonetheless. Traditionally, it’s a combination of milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, and egg yolks. Now, for some people that’s their worst nightmare but for us it’s creamy, it’s custardy, and we love it! Hit it with a splash of rum, whisky or bourbon and you’re onto a winner. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to make this from scratch, we’d recommend getting a good quality whisky or bourbon from The English Whisky Company. Or grab a bottle of delicious honey & vanilla rum from the Norfolk Spirits Company. Equally, if you’re the kind of person who wants to spend less time making drinks and more time drinking them (like us), then grab a bottle of English Whisky’s Norfolk Nog – a sweet blend of single malt whisky and cream.
Nothing says Christmas morning like a glass or two of Buck’s Fizz with your breakfast! And did you know it takes its name from London’s Buck’s Club, where it was invented as an excuse to start drinking early? Today, it really is a staple of English Christmas culture. This simple mix of two-parts Champagne to one-part orange juice is a classic that’ll go with just about any Christmas breakfast. You can buy this ready-made in most supermarkets, but for the real experience we’d recommend grabbing a bottle (or three) of sparkling wine from Chet & Waveney Valley Vineyard.
Mulled Sloe Gin
This one really is a crowd-pleaser. Nothing will wake you up quite like a sip of mulled Sloe Gin! You can buy a bottle of Sloe Gin from most supermarkets, but for the real festive experience why not try making your own? It’s a simple process of infusing a good quality gin (we can’t stress that part enough) with a simple sugar syrup, and maybe some festive flavours if you’re feeling adventurous. We’d recommend checking out Bullard’s Gin, winner of ‘World’s Best London Dry Gin’ and ‘Distillery Of The Year’ in 2017. As for the Sloe berries, there are plenty of local places to go foraging or you can always buy online from local farm shops to guarantee good quality. And if you can’t get your hands on any Sloe berries, well what’s the harm in having a top-notch bottle of gin in the cupboard for Christmas!
The combination of Gin, sweet Vermouth, and Campari is a timeless classic. But to Christmasify (we made that up) the traditional Negroni, why not infuse your Gin with delicious festive fragrances like orange zest, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and bay leaves. There’s plenty of great recipes out there for infusing Gin, so take a look and see what tickles your fancy. All we’d ask is that you pick a good-quality Gin for this one. Something like new kids on the block Gyre & Gimble, who have a delicious range of local Gins to choose from. Or Norfolk Gin, a Norfolk-based producer that’s taking the world by storm.
Gingerbread Espresso Martini
We were introduced to this one last year by our friends at The Ivy, and it really is a game-changer. We definitely don’t make it as well as they do, but it still ticks all the boxes! This combination of Vodka, chilled espresso coffee, and gingerbread syrup is a delicious festive take on a classic drink. Top with coffee beans for decorations and you’re sure to ‘wow’ your guests this year.
This one is often considered a remedy for the common cold or a sore throat, but a few small tweaks and you’ve got yourself the perfect nightcap on a cold winter’s night. A simple Hot Toddy usually consists of whisky mixed with boiling water, lemon juice and honey, but there’s a few ways to up your game with this one. We’d recommend swapping your water out for apple juice (trust us!) for a sweeter tasting Toddy. Simply heat apple juice, whisky, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon slices in a pot and leave on a slow simmer for 10-20 mins. You can always add the whisky to individual glasses instead just in case any of your guests fancy a non-alcoholic hot drink. We’d recommend the English Whisky Co for their amazing range of whisky’s.
Boozy Hot Chocolate
A fan-favourite in every household. Have you even celebrated Christmas if you haven’t posted a photo of your hot chocolate on Instagram? The best thing about hot chocolate is everyone has their own special way to make this, and we all believe we make it the best! Spice things up this year with a boozy hot chocolate for the adults. A shot (or two!) of vodka, rum, Irish cream, or Whisky always goes down well. You can also buy some amazing hot chocolate mixes from local independent companies such as Jarrold, Bread Source, and even The Garnet.
You really can’t go wrong with a festive punch, and they’re super easy to make too! Citrus, warm spices, and a strong spirit to tie it all together – need we say more? For us, cranberry juice, ginger ale, and a nice big splash of dark rum or brandy does the job. Chuck in some orange slices and fresh cranberries for some festive ‘pizzazz’! The Norfolk Spirit Company have some delicious rums that would make the perfect base for this punch.
Again, not necessarily just a Christmas drink, but it is a real treat throughout the holidays. Vodka, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream or milk. This really is a glass of velvety goodness. Spice up a classic by adding in a shot of Bailey’s to make it feel festive, or try it with the Nelson’s Gold caramel vodka from Wild Knight if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth.
The perfect warmer on those cold winter nights. You can really play around with this one and put your own stamp on it too, with different spices and fragrances, or by trying different local ciders. But all you really need to get started is a nice cider, a touch of sugar, and some fancy Christmas flavours like cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, and orange zest. Mix it all together on a low heat, ladle into mugs, and you’re in for a very, merry Christmas.
If cocktails aren’t really your thing, fear not! Norfolk has a great range of local breweries producing award-winning ales, lagers, stouts, and more. Here’s a few to get you started: