Hello folks, Claire here, and today I'm bringing a Chirstmas cheer of a potent variety.
Not to live up to the stereotype or anything, but as an Irish person, a cocktail buff, and a massive Christmas enthusiast (I've had my decorations up since November!), I know a thing or two about festive beverages.
I love nothing more than a Buck's Fizz as I open my gifts on Christmas morning, some mulled wine when I arrive home on Christmas Eve, and a glass of Baileys while I'm putting up the decorations. (Okay, I may have a slight problem – all in moderation, of course!)
But what's Christmas without a little festive tipple?
If you're planning a winter wedding or a Christmas gathering, and want to bring serious panache to your party, selecting a signature drink, not only welcomes your guests, looks chic, and adds a little polished touch, but it entirely streamlines your drinks serving as well.
Don't fiddle about with lots of bottles, pick one or two signature cocktails that you can prep in advance.
Create your own sugar syrup, chill your glasses, and have your fruit and garnishes ready to go. Add extra festive touches like candy canes, striped straws, and cinnamon sticks, for a truly impressive finish.
Then all you need to do is shake it up when your guests arrive, and enjoy the party.
Still not sure what to serve? Whether you're a gin drinker, a brandy buff, or a teetotaler, we've got just the drink for you and your guests.
Plum Brandy Sour
All you need to do is combine 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 2 ounces of brandy, and 1 ounce of plum simple syrup .
Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled goblet or a coupe glass. Add a slice an orange as a garnish and enjoy!
Photo by The Folly
Figgy pudding is a Christmas dessert staple, so why not add some of its festive flavour to your drinks too?
Quarter a fig, and muddle it with 1 1/2 ounces of thyme-infused simple syrup. Add ice, 3/4 ounce of sweet vermouth and 2 1/2 ounces of bourbon, a stick of cinnamon and a dash of orange bitters.
Shake and strain into a chilled glass with the cinnamon stick still in it and garnish with fig and star anise.
Glogg (Swedish Mulled Wine)
Photo by Donal Skehan
Give your signature mulled wine a Scandinavian twist with this delicious Glögg recipe from Irish chef (with a Swedish fiance!) Donal Skehan.
This recipe serves eight, so if you're having guests over, whip up a big batch so there's warm drinks on arrival, and plenty left for round two!
You'll need, 1 litre of red wine, 3 cinnamon sticks, 8 cloves, 10 cardamom pods and 3 tablespoons of caster sugar, along with almonds and raisins to garnish.
Place all the ingredients in a large pot over a medium heat, stirring until you bring it to a steady simmer and the sugar has completely dissolved.
Strain through a sieve and serve in glasses with the almonds and raisins.
Vegan Earl Grey & Chocolate Shakes
Photo by The First Mess
We just love this delectable vegan mocktail recipe by The First Mess which would work just beautifully for the little ones, any pregnant pals, or non-drinkers at your wedding, or over Christmas.
Or of course you could add a shot of vodka, Kahlua or Baileys (not vegan!) to give it a little more potency.
The recipe is a little long, so pop over to The First Mess for all the directions (such a gorgeous blog!) but lets just say, with earl grey tea, maple syrup, and dairy-free chocolate ice-cream, you can't really go wrong!
Cranberry Ginger Fizz
Photo by Creative Culinary
Sweet, refreshing, and festively delicious, this cranberry cocktail by Creative Culinary will be an instant hit among the gin drinkers in your party. It's a little work to put together, but we think it might just be worth it!
What you need is, 1 cup of sugar syrup, 1 cup fresh cranberries, lemon wedges, orange slices, 1 1/2 cups of dry gin, 1 cup of ginger ale, and mint springs to garnish.
Heat the syrup until it's boiling, and add the cranberries and simmer until they begin to burst, then remove from the heat.
Add to a large pitcher and muddle with the lemon wedges and orange slices. Stir in the gin, and allow it to steep, then strain into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
Fill four glasses with ice and a 1/4 cup of ginger ale, then strain the gin mixture on top, and garnish with cranberries and mint.
Sugar Plum Fairy
Photo by The Folly
I tried one of these sweet treat tipples in London bar, The Folly, last Christmas, and its stayed with me ever since. So festive and eye-catching, this would be a really novel signature drink to serve at your winter wedding cocktail hour.
Pour unsweetened maraschino cherry liqueur into a glass, with Tanqueray gin and sugar, before topping with fresh lemon and plum bitters.
Of course the big finish is the juicy plum floating on top – though some dark cherries would look pretty festive too.
Peppermint White Russian
A White Russian (with a cookie on the side!) is perhaps one of my favourite winter cocktails, so we just had to include this Christmas twist on the classic by The Marvellous Misadventures of a Foodie, as part of her 12 Cocktails of Christmas series.
Start by rimming your glass with some crushed candy cane (yum!) then pour in a 3/4 ounce of Kahlua, 3/4 ounce of Vodka, 3/4 ounce of peppermint schnapps, and then top it off with half and half milk.
Don't forget to add a candy cane straw – obviously!
Frozen Pomegranate & Raspberry
Photo by What Katie Ate
This one not only looks super festive, but tastes rich, punchy, and delicious too – and the recipe comes from one of our favourite foodie blogs, What Katie Ate.
How chic would this be presented to your guests on arrival at your wedding, or as an after dinner drink for your rehearsal?
Best of all, it's so much easier than it looks.
Place a shot of vodka, a cup of frozen raspberries, the juice from one lime, half a shot of sugar syrup and two tablespoons of pomegranate juice into a cocktail shaker along with a handful roughly crushed ice, and shake.
Then all you have to do is strain into a glass and garnish with lime zest and berries for a red and green Christmas finish.
How cool is this Christmas wine cooler?
Line a vase, cooler, or pot with winter berries, rosemary or festive foliage, put something in the middle to create the hollow shape (a large jar, or a freezer bag filled with water should do the trick ), then pour water around the edges, making sure the berries come right up around the sides.
Pop it into the freezer over night, and et voila – a pretty impressive festive cooler!
Do let us know if you've got any go-to Christmas cocktails, we'd love to hear about them in the comments below.
Be inspired with more unique ideas for your wedding day.