Buck’s Fizz is all well and good, but it doesn’t take much more effort to really impress with your Christmas cocktails.
Following our boozy hot chocolate and hot gin recipes, we interrogated brands and experts for the best seasonal sips using festive flavours such as orange, chocolate, cinnamon and clementine – even mince pies and panettone.
Champagne versions of eggnog, mugs of hot buttered rum, spiced-up Negronis: we’ve got it all. And don’t worry gin lovers, of course there are plenty of recipes to mix yourself something juniper-y (perhaps to indulge in while you browse this list of incredible gin-based presents).
So scroll through our gallery below for 22 Christmas cocktail recipes. All make one serving unless otherwise stated.
Hot Buttered Gin Punch
Jason Atherton’s French-Anglo restaurant, Little Social, is serving Hot Buttered Gin Punch this Christmas, a warming and rich festive blend you can try at home.
1tsp brandy butter
5ml PX sherry
Pinch of festive spice mix (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, allspice)
Method: Stir all ingredients other than the spice mix in a saucepan until steaming. Serve in a heatproof mug or cup and garnish with cinnamon stick, orange peel and a sprinkle of the spice mix.
Winter Spiced Negroni
Sainsbury’s has come up with this Christmassy twist on a bitter classic. Note: if making your own spiced gin, you’ll need a few days to infuse it.
60ml red vermouth
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
Method: Make spiced gin by roughly smashing up the spices (with a pestle and mortar or a rolling pin) before heating them gently in an unoiled frying pan for two minutes. Tip into a large jar with the gin and seal. Store for at least five days before straining through muslin.
Pour red vermouth, Campari and 30ml of the spiced gin into your ice-filled glass of choice and stir. Dust two orange wedges with icing sugar and caramelise in a hot non-stick pan. Garnish and serve.
Mince Pie Freakshake
The UK's favourite Christmas dessert in the form of a freakshake, courtesy of Captain Morgan rums. Imagine cracking these out for Grandma after dinner...
200ml Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold
200ml mince pie syrup (600g mincemeat, 200g sugar, 200ml water)
6 scoops vanilla ice cream
Mince pies (to serve)
Method (makes 4): In a pan, mix the mincemeat, sugar and water. Bring to the boil and chill for 30 mins. In a blender, whizz the milk, ice cream, mince pie syrup and rum. Pour into a mason jar or tall glass. Decorate with syrup, sprinkles and mince pies – using one to stick the straw through.
Spiced Mulled Sloe
200ml mixed cloudy apple and orange juice
50ml Sipsmith Sloe Gin
Method: Heat the apple and orange juice in a pan until hot (add cloves to taste if desired). Pour the gin into a handled glass, top with the juice and garnish with a clove studded orange wheel.
Spanish restaurant Brindisa has created a Christmas cocktail inspired by the classic Catalan custard dessert, with flavours of orange, cinnamon and caramelised sugar.
40ml orange brandy liqueur
20ml orange juice
15ml lemon juice
15ml cinnamon-infused amber ale reduction (10ml sugar syrup, 10ml amber ale and cinnamon stick, reduced for 15 minutes)
10ml Merlet Triple Sec
1tsp brown sugar
Method: Shake all ingredients except the sugar together, then add ice and shake again. Strain into a coupe glass. Sprinkle the sugar on top and burn with a blowtorch.
Another easy fizz-based drink, this one is particularly Christmassy with the addition of Warner Edwards Harrington Sloe Gin.
35ml Warner Edwards Harrington Sloe Gin
10ml sugar syrup (optional)
10ml raspberry puree (optional)
Method: Stir all ingredients (excluding the Prosecco) together and pour into coupette glass. Top up with Prosecco and garnish with an orange twist, raspberries or flower petals.
Cinnamon is a classic Christmas flavour, and it rather makes sense that London’s The Cinnamon Club is the place to employ it in a cocktail, using Goldschläger cinnamon schnapps among other spicy ingredients.
200ml cinnamon tea (Assam tea infused with cinnamon sticks)
2ml cinnamon syrup
Method: Mix together the (cooled) cinnamon tea, Goldschläger and cinnamon syrup in a Champagne flute and top up with Prosecco. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
This comes from The Century Bar at the Gleneagles hotel, and adds a touch of decadence to the standard eggnog.
Method: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, excluding the Champagne, then strain into a fizz glass or small wine glass. Top with champagne until the foam over fills the brim of the glass. Finish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.
Andy Stewart of The Tippling House, Aberdeen, created this cocktail for Dark Matter Spiced Rum – the rich, deep colours are intended to invoke the warm hues of Christmas.
Method: Stir all ingredients over ice and julep strain over a cucumber spiral and a large block of ice in a rocks glass.
A bold elixir from Opihr, which brings together booze cabinet stalwarts Dubonnet and Aperol to create an aromatic, warming Christmas cocktail.
Method: Stir all three in a mixing glass with a dash of chilli pepper, then double strain into a tumbler over ice. Garnish with orange peel.
Hot Gin Mocha
The guys at Bombay Sapphire have endless gin inspiration. Here, two of our favourite caffeine-laced ingredients come together: chocolate and coffee.
120ml Bombay Sapphire
75ml Crème de Cacao
3tsp caster sugar
3 shots of strong espresso
Long shavings of dark chocolate
Method (makes three): Combine the espresso with a teaspoon of sugar in a pan and heat. Add the gin and Crème de Cacao. When it reaches a simmer, remove from the heat and serve in a mug or glass with handle. Finish with long shavings of dark chocolate.
It’s a Yuletide classic – what Christmas cocktail guide would be complete without a Snowball?
100ml Warninks Advocaat
50ml freshly squeezed lime juice or cordial
Method: Shake the Warninks Advocaat and lime juice or cordial together, strain into a glass jar and top up with lemonade or soda and some cubed ice. Decorate with a cinnamon stick, or switch it up with dark chocolate shavings, cinnamon, mini marshmallows or rolling the glass in chocolate (pictured).
The cocktail brains at Dirty Martini cocktail bars have come up with this potent mix for Christmas.
Method: Add all ingredients to Boston shaker with cubed ice, then shake and strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with two cherries on a skewer.
Richard Woods, head of spirit and cocktail development at London’s sky-high restaurant Duck & Waffle, has created 12 festive cocktails for the restaurant. This one takes an actual Christmas dessert and puts it in the glass.
35ml panettone purée
15ml spiced sugar
Method: To make the panettone purée, dry blend 250g of panettone into crumbs. Add 350ml Cognac and blend, then pass mix through a sieve and refrigerate. To make the drink, shake all ingredients with cubed ice in a shaker and double strain into a liqueur or tasting glass. Garnish with a light dusting of nutmeg or grated tonka bean.
(To make spiced sugar at home, add half a stick of cinnamon and three broken Tonka beans to 250ml sugar syrup. Store in an airtight container for 12hrs. Filter spices to leave the sugar.)
Christmas = eating many tiny oranges to combat the chocolate.
35ml Bombay Sapphire
75ml premium tonic water (chilled)
20ml Martini Bianco
Juice of one clementine
Method: Fill a balloon or highball glass with ice. Juice the clementine into the glass, then add the Martini Bianco and Bombay Sapphire. Swirl well to mix. Pour the tonic water in over a barspoon, swirl again and garnish with a single clementine segment.
Famous Hot Toddy
A hot toddy is about as comforting on a cold day as you can get. This classic whisky recipe comes from The Famous Grouse. You’ll need to invest in some Christmassy tea (or wait til Christmas Day for the inevitable gift set from an aunt).
50ml The Famous Grouse
1tsp runny honey
1 spiced teabag (such as apple and cinnamon)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Method: Add the spiced teabag and pour in the hot water to the hot toddy glass. Then add The Famous Grouse, honey and lemon juice and stir. Remove the teabag and finish with a sliver of lemon zest.
Fairytale of New York
It’s only right that the band’s official tipple, The Pogues Whiskey, produces a cocktail named after its famed Christmas tune (and that doesn’t scrimp on the booze).
50ml The Pogues Whiskey
1oml sweet vermouth
10ml dry vermouth
3 dashes bitters
Method: Stir all ingredients together and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange zest.
Appletiser Alchemist Richard Woods, head of cocktail development at Duck and Waffle and Sushi Samba, has created this boozy take on a festive pud.
15ml fig liqueur
4 vanilla pods
100g caster sugar
Method: Prepare vanilla sugar by leaving pods and sugar in a jar for 24 hours. Mix 50ml honey with 50ml water. Wet the rim of a Champagne flute with lemon juice and dip in the sugar. Add the honey water, the fig liqueur and the Cognac to the glass and whilst gently mixing add the Appletiser.
Flat White Russian
Tia Maria has added some serious extra caffeine to the classic White Russian. Great for Christmas breakfast, no?
25ml Tia Maria
25ml Jamaican rum
Shot of espresso
5ml demerara sugar
Method: Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice and add all ingredients except the milk. Stir well then lace the milk over the top. Garnish with chocolate powder to taste.
We know it’s not summer but we can’t bear to give this up. Plus it’s refreshing and easy to make.
75ml Prosecco (chilled)
25ml soda (chilled)
Method: Fill a balloon or wine glass generously with cubed ice. Pour in the Prosecco, then the Aperol in a circular movement. Finish with a dash of soda and garnish with orange.
London bar (and Made in Chelsea favourite) Forge has teamed up with Bubbleology to create the Bubblelini – an easy way to improve upon the standard Prosecco at any festive shindigs. Note: you’ll probably be able to find boba tapioca pearls at your nearest Asian supermarket, but we’ve included a shopping link too.
80ml G.H. Mumm Rose Champagne
10-12ml lychee boba
Method: Add the boba to the bottom of a Champagne glass and top with Champagne or your favourite sparkling wine. Lychee can be swapped out for any other flavour.