Christmas. It’s all about family, friends, good food, good cheer and, if you’re anything like me, a little too much booze. Throughout December there’ll be work drinks, catching up with friends, parties and meals out galore, not to mention a cheeky nightcap at home after a hard day at work.
Now it’s worth mentioning that we at Katie Pix advocate responsible drinking – as with all our recipes, everything in moderation is the way forward. And if you’re drinking responsibly, you want to make sure that what you’re sipping on is worth it.
With that in mind, I thought I’d use this blog post to wax lyrical about my favourite Christmas tipples and hopefully give you some inspiration to get some festive spirit into your spirits (see what I did there?)
Gin – the go-to spirit for seasonal cocktails, the herbal and aromatic qualities of this booze give you huge scope to try different pairings and additions to add some festive sparkle to your drink. Why not try flaming some orange peel or adding some crushed ginger into your G&T for a light holiday touch? Or why not spend advent perfecting your Negroni game? The key here is in the vermouth – experiment with some different brands and blends to tweak the flavour profile of this classic cocktail. Some vermouths even have a real malty, chocolatey quirk to them which pair beautifully for a rich, Christmassy Negroni. My favourite brands include Portobello Road Gin, the classic Hendricks, or for someone who is teetotal then Seedlip Garden 108 is a gin-like alcohol-free distilled spirit that pairs brilliantly with tonic.
Beer – full disclosure, I used to hate beer. Then, a few years ago, I went to Munich and my eyes were opened to the the world of beer. For me, there’s something inherently festive about a full-flavoured Bavarian Hell (lager), but we have a whole host of exceptional British beers that are full of Christmas cheer. I love Wychwood’s Bah Humbug, which is a spicier, fruitier and darker take on their usual suspects. For lighter options, look to Meantime’s London Helles which is a light golden lager with citrus hops and a whiff of pine, or the Hofmeister Helles, a classic Bavarian lager made in Reigate. Can’t decide? A really good option is to get your hands on a crate that has a selection of beers for you to work through and find your perfect brew.
Whisky – now I know this isn’t for everybody, but Mr Pix is an enormous fan of a wee dram. Whilst he would bow down to a clean and light Lowlands Scotch, a deep, smokey Islay Single Malt or the virtues of a spicy, caramel noted Rye Whiskey from across the pond, that’s not for everyone. The way he got me into Whisk(e)y was with that classic cocktail, the Whisky Sour. Sugar syrup, orange and lemon juice counteract the fiery nature of the whisky (usually a bourbon for this tipple) while shaking it hard with egg white and loads of ice gives a delicious texture. If you prefer your whisky cocktails more to-the-point, an Old Fashioned is well worth your time, with angostura bitters, a teaspoon of sugar and some flamed orange peel tempering the whisky (the world is your oyster with this one, experiment with different whiskies to find your perfect one!).
Liqueurs – the social lubricant that gives us the courage to partake in post-dinner charades, a great liqueur is the palate cleansing foil to the rich pickings of the festive table. The most popular liqueurs in the marketplace are of the cream-infused and sticky-sweet kind, and I, for one, wouldn’t see Christmas day complete without a glass of Baileys. But if you want to try something else, mid-Queen’s Speech delectation, I’d recommend a Limoncello. A refreshing, Italian staple and a vibrant tipple to wake you from your post-gorge slump. Or St Germaine! This elderflower-scented bitter-sweet liqueur was only put on the market in 2007, but you can tell its makers are referencing the old monastic liqueurs. Try a drop in some champagne, or maybe substitute for the vermouth in a martini.
For a top up, check out my cocktail recipes on YouTube.com/TheKatiePix…