Christmas trees, Christmas presents, Christmas songs, and of course, Christmas cocktails! Christmas doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until you’ve experimented with a few yuletide libations, and every year the festive cocktails get even more creative, delicious and artistic. The cosy boutique hotels of central London are surrounded by bars whose expert mixologists revel in presenting their own take on classic cocktails with a unique festive flourish.
Whatever your preferred potion is, here is a sample of the most delectable cocktails to grace the bars of London this winter. Be sure to put some of these on your list for Father Christmas!
The Bellini is that cocktail of dreams which can be tweaked to suit all seasons and is even acceptable to drink with brunch over the festive season. Prosecco paired with gin, peach schnapps and blood orange makes for a feisty festive cocktail.
The fruity, fizzy Heartwarmer at Dirty Martini, Hanover Square, is the perfect chaser to spa treatments here at the hotel during your London winter break.
Not technically a cocktail, but if you’re looking for a simple way to pop some Christmas sparkle into your holiday celebrations – what could possibly compare to a chilled glass of fizz? Experience a quintessentially British afternoon tea in a London hotel and toast the season to be merry with a glass of brut.
Vin brulé is Italian mulled wine, made with a bottle of Italy’s finest red brewed with mulling spices, orange and pineapple juice. You can pick up mulled wine at all the Christmas markets in London this season, but for something special try the vin brulé at Madison, St Paul’s, whilst you enjoy the panoramas of London’s skyline.
This retro Christmas classic cocktail has been going strong ever since its inception in the 1960s. This year’s revised concoction is a mix of Vin Jaune (yellow wine from the Jura region of France), Champagne sorbet, creamy egg whites and nutmeg. Try it at Coupette, Bethnal Green.
Mixing a generous dash of cognac with Cointreau, amaretto, pineapple and topped off with lemonade, this tall treat is served on the rocks. Try it at Hankies Wine Bar, conveniently located at your Marble Arch Hotel in central London.
A delicious homage to the flu-busting Hot Toddy, the scrumptious Alpine Toddy mixes Nonino Grappa, chamomile flower, Supasawa and organic agave. This one is served at Fitzrovia’s Dalloway Terrace, one of the most fetching restaurant and bars in London, known for its seasonal plant decorations.
The classic Irish cream liquor is a staple of the family Christmas pantry and can be enjoyed on the rocks or when blended into a cocktail. For something special, try the Bailey’s Reindeer at Drake and Morgan, King’s Cross. Baileys, Bulleit bourbon, single cream, chocolate bitters and mint leaves are expertly mixed and served in an edible chocolate reindeer. You’ll be back for seconds!
The Italian apéritif with a bite is even more delectable with a touch of festive sass. A blend of Tanqueray gin, sherry, Campari, crème de figue, Cointreau, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, garnished with orange peel will banish any winter blues. Try it at Dirty Bones, Kensington.
Hot Gin and Gingerbread
Pairing Sipsmith gin, gingerbread syrup and a dash of hot water, this novel Christmas cocktail is then garnished and served with a thin slice of orange and an edible gingerbread man! Experience this unique cocktail at Bōkan, Canary Wharf.
Served hot, a fusion of Belvedere vodka, coffee, coconut, hazelnut, vanilla and double cream makes this smooth, potent cocktail live up to its name. Sip it at Madison, St Paul’s who this year have given their terrace a festive makeover, aptly branded as the Enchanted Woods.
The team at Sky Bar, Fenchurch Street, have summoned up a winter cocktail list as impressive as the view from the viewing platform at this towering skyscraper! Give the Castagna a try; Italian for chestnut. Mixing Absolut vodka, Mozart dark chocolate liquor, toffee nut, chestnut purée and toffee nut whipped cream – you’ll go ‘nuts’ for this glass of goodness.
Campfire Hot Chocolate
If you’re tempted by whiskey but do have a sweet tooth, this cocktail is for you. A blend of Talisker whiskey from the Scottish island of Skye is teamed with milk, dark chocolate and sugar syrup. Sample it at Aviary, the rooftop bar at the sister of your Marble Arch Hotel London. We challenge you to whip this one up at home, it’s guaranteed to impress your friends and family.
This winter warmer combines Jameson whiskey, gingerbread syrup, egg white, lemon and a dash of Angostura bitters. You can give it a try at the Big Chill, King’s Cross alongside one of their seriously good burgers.
A testament to hit ‘80s Christmas song Last Christmas, the Wham! blends rum, triple sec and the juices of cranberry, orange and lime with a splash of mysterious home-made Christmas syrup. Shaken and served along with an orange and star anise garnish. Try it at Archer Street, Soho.
Hot Buttered Rum
Spiced rum is mulled with cinnamon, butter and peppercorns before being blended with fudge to result in this sweet, tasty cocktail. Try it in the toasty wigwam at the Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch, which has been kitted out as the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz for the winter season!
This marriage of Bacardi’s Negra rum with complementary flavours of ginger, apple, lemon and caramel will warm your insides up on a cold evening in London. Try it at the Skylight Bar on the rooftop of Tobacco Dock in east London. See how well it compares to the beloved British dessert.
A blend of Pusser’s Navy Rum, pineapple, orange, coconut and nutmeg brings together the flavours from the bygone era of 1920’s Cuba with a true Christmas favourite. Try this one at the Caribbean-themed rum haunt, Burlock, Soho.