Christmas, it’s a time for tasty beverages right?
Well, ignoring all the baby Jesus malarkey (please don’t turn up to my house with pitchforks) winter is a time for family get-togethers, curling up by the fire and watching The Great Escape, the Doctor Who special and countless hours of miscellaneous god awful television. Now, my family is never one to shy away from a drink at Christmas (any one else love a bit of Bucks Fizz with breakfast on the 25th?) so here is my top five Christmas beverages. Trust me, I’m a barmaid.
5. J20 Glitterberry
It’s not been with us long but I can’t help but love Britvic’s limited edition Christmassy “Glitterberry” J20. Though it is somewhat a cry for help from the company, whimpering “I know it’s winter but juice is still relevant!”, it’s rather delicious. And more than anything else the damn drink is full of glitter. I don’t know how the do it (I’m gonna go ahead and guess “SCIENCE!”) but Glitterberry is not only spiced fruity goodness but drinkable glitter floats around happily the juice bottle equivalent of an office party. Now, Britvic are going to send me a crate of the yummy beverage now aren’t they… Right?
4. Proper Hot Chocolate
Next up in my top five is proper hot chocolate. Yes, proper. None of this powder and water nonsense. I want you guys heating up milk on the stove, going mad with the squirty cream and covering everything in sight with teeny tiny marshmallows. You also can’t go wrong with a good dash of whisky, brandy or rum. And don’t forget the fireplace, good book and Christmas music either.
3. Real Ale
This Christmas I asked my Granddad for CAMRA membership for Christmas, he’s very proud and I’m glad to be supporting the campaign for real ale with more than just my pennies. British brewers always excel and at Christmas the selection of ales out there only improve. A few of my favourites include Bombardier which is available in any good pub, Well’s Banana Bread Beer which is exactly what you’d expect and Fuller’s Honeydew.
A few great beers come out solely for Christmas too. Did you know that Adnam’s popular ale Lighthouse renames itself “Eat, drink and be jolly” over the holiday period? Also this year I definitely want to try Young’s Christmas Pudding Ale because how can you got wrong with beer and pudding?
Now I know ale isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely something we Brit’s are very good at and it’s always good to try something once so why not at Christmas?
2. Liquor Coffee
Now let’s get a bit more luxury with liquor coffee. Adding cream and a tasty spirit to coffee is a delicious way to end you Christmas dinner. My personal recommendations are a dash of bourbon, a slosh of brandy or best of all, a lovely serving of amaretto.
1. Get mulled!
Now we come to number one. Something I think no winter should be without… Mulled beverages! Whether it’s mulled wine or mulled cider (apple juice is also delicious if you want a non-alcoholic version!) It’s a perfect drink at home, the pub or your local Christmas market. One of my favourite things at Christmas is to walk around the Birmingham Frankfurt Market with a mug Glühwein or to fill the house with the delicious smells of my own concoctions. If you want to make your own mulled drinks at home here are my two favourite recipes.
Suzy’s Mulled Cider
- 3½pts/2L dry cider or fresh apple juice
- 2 apples studded with cloves
- 4-6 cinnamon sticks
- 5-6 allspice berries
- zest of 1 orange
- dark rum (optional, I used Bacardi Oakheart in my latest batch)
Then quite simply combine all of ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer gently for 30 minutes – don’t boil it! Then enjoy it whenever you want by quickly reheating it in the microwave.
Bully’s Mulled Wine
I have my old boss to thank for this recipe. It makes 6 bottles but it’s also an ideal Christmas present.
- 4x bottles of merlot
- 1x carton orange juice
- 300g is brown sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 lemons
- 4 oranges
- Stud 2 oranges with cloves
- Zest the other oranges and lemons
- Put everything in a pan and stir well (break cinnamon sticks)
- Add a pint of water
- Warm gently for an hour (don’t let it boil!) and strain. Getting all the bits out can be fiddly but I use a cafetiere which makes the whole process a lot less stressful and messy than battling with a sieve.