The run-up to Christmas could be the only time of year where daily drinking isn’t just acceptable, but positively encouraged.
Advent calendars have graduated beyond chocolate, nudging into the worlds of spirits, beer and wine. But while we love sampling the dinky measures behind their festive windows, they’re no match for full-sized bottles from our favourite brands.
This year, the line-up is better than ever. There are festive limited-editions pouring in from every direction, from handsomely presented bottles of Johnnie Walker (who is celebrating its 200th year with a statement bottle to mark the occasion) to stunning bottles of gin designed to look like snow globes, complete with falling flakes of gold leaf ‘snow’.
It’s about more than just packaging though, brands have gone all out with festive flavours to get your taste buds caroling.
Mix margaritas with a spicy kick courtesy of Chilli & Lime flavoured gin, or give mulled bevvies a makeover with a cocktail spiked with Black Cow’s Christmas Pudding flavoured vodka. Although the original is delicious as it is, Baileys new Limited Edition Apple Pie liqueur delivers all kinds of Yuletide joy this winter.
From whiskies to warm you from the inside out to decadent bottles of fizz that are perfect for Christmas lunch, we’ve compiled a list of the best festive drinks and new launches to help get you in the spirit.
Whether you’re looking for a boozy gift or fancy a new tipple to toast the holidays, this is our holiday hot list.
Best Gins for Christmas
The time has come to honour Gin-mas
Snow Globe Orange & Gingerbread Gin Liqueur
Designed to shake up your Christmas cocktail experience, this orange and gingerbread gin liqueur comes in an exquisite Italian-made Snow Globe Bottle. Shake to watch edible 23ct gold leaf ‘snow’ all over the classic winter scene. There’s even a lamp on the base to illuminate it when the night draws in. A star buy for a gin-lover.
M&S Snow Globe Gin
People who say money can't buy you happiness have yet to encounter the giddy delights of M&S's Snow Globe Gin. Okay, so we're (half) joking, but this is truly a bottle to behold.
Available in two delicious flavours, fresh clementine and sweet rhubarb, the spirit has a generous sprinkling of 23-carat edible gold leaf to act as the 'snow'. It even lights up so you can admire it all night long. Magical.
Edinburgh Gin Poached Pear liqueur
Make way for the sharp, sweet flavors of Edinburgh Gin’s latest festive offering - a boozy poached pear liqueur. It’s lovely with a tonic but where it really shines is in a cocktail - try a Poached Pear Crumble Cocktail by mixing 25ml poached pear liqueur with equal parts regular gin and lemon juice . Shake with ice and strain into a glass rimmed with crushed Lotus biscuits. Game. Changer.
That Boutique-y Gin Company Yuletide Gin
Novelty flavours abound during Christmastime, but if you want to feel the spirit of the season in one sensational mouthful, craft gin brand That Boutique-y Gin Company has come up trumps with its Yuletide Gin.
It's jam-packed with all the best flavours from this time of year - think Christmassy botanicals (including Christmas tree needles!), Christmas cake, chestnuts, Christmas pudding, mince pies, Panettone, an entire gingerbread house, and the ultimate festive trio: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Guaranteed to liven up your Christmas and your drinks trolley this season.
Warner's Distillery Christmas Cake Gin
If you simply can’t wait for Christmas Day, Warner’s is allowing you a taste of the day with this festively flavoured gin. Inspired by the classic Christmas pud, you can expect notes of smooth chocolate, gentle festive spice and a splash of tart cherry. Yum.
Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin Gift Pack with Glass
For those yearning for a departure from the norm, we present Opihr Gin, wonderfully spiced with notes of coriander, citrus and pepper. This Christmas it comes accompanied by a beautiful branded glass, coordinating with the brand’s packaging.
Hendricks' Gin Hothouse Miniature Gift Set
With interest in gardening growing over lockdown, you may count a few new horticulturists in your circle these days. Encourage green-fingered ambitions with Hendrick’s playful holiday offering. This conservatory-themed set contains mini bottles of gin alongside everything you need to grow your own cucumber garnish - seeds and all.
Romy's Edition - Mango, Ginger & Lime Gin
Cut through all that rich festive fare with a taste of the exotic. This flavoured gin will transport you straight to the tropics and pairs particularly well with Indian cuisine - happy news if you’re considering a Christmas Eve takeaway this year.
Tarsier Oriental Pink Gin 70cl
If you're starting to feel overwhelmed by Christmas, slip into a departure from the season with Tarsier Oriental Pink Gin. The rosy-hued spirit is bursting with juicy notes of lychee, raspberry, and red dragon fruit along with galangal, calamansi (a variety of lime) and seven traditional botanicals.
Mix yourself a cocktail and feel refreshed and revived, ready to rejoin the festivities.
Best Vodka for Christmas
No one-shot Christmas wonders in sight
Black Cow Vodka
The word ‘unique’ is bandied about often, especially in the world of booze, but for a tipple that lives up to the hype, Black Cow is up there.
Proudly made in Dorset, the original formula is something Willy Wonka might dream up had he ventured into tasty treats for an 18+ audience. It looks like water, is labelled as vodka, but tastes full-bodied like milk. The seriously committed could try this with cornflakes - if not at Christmas, then when?
The original is delightfully, deliciously curious enough, but for winter 2020, they’ve gone one further with a Christmas pud-inspired version, simply labelled Christmas Spirit. Expect a parade of flavours - citrus, cloves, cinnamon, figs, currants, raisins, and vanilla - from the unassuming amber-hued liquid.
Cîroc Black Raspberry Flavoured Vodka 70cl Limited Edition
Wrap your laughing gear around this premium vodka, given a juicy uplift with notes of tart black raspberry. You can pair it with soda water and mint leaves for a refreshing drink, but for an occasion like Christmas, top with Champagne and keep the good times flowing.
Best Whisky for Christmas
Johnnie Walker 200th Anniversary
Celebrating 200 years doing anything is quite a feat, but managing to maintain superior standards of whisky? Well, that's worth raising a glass to.
Johnnie Walker is marking two centuries doing what it does best with a selection of special edition bottles designed to delight fans new and old.
John Walker and Sons 200th Anniversary Celebratory Blend, Blended Scotch Whisky, 70 cl with Gift Box - Amazon Exclusive - £55
John Walker & Sons Bicentenary Blend 28 Year Old - £725
Want to make it extra special? Get the bottle customised by glass artists, INKD.
Jura 12 Year Old Gift Pack with 2x Glasses
Whether it's intended for the night before, Christmas Day itself or saved for a warbled rendition of Auld Lang Syne come New Year's Eve, this Jura 12 Year Old whisky gift set is sure to warm their cockles and their hearts.
Best Liqueurs for Christmas
Baileys Limited Edition Apple Pie liqueur
An evergreen winter winner, Baileys fans will yelp with glee when this bottle is rolled out - we’re sure of it. What better match for the smooth, creamy liqueur than a shot of warm, fruity notes to remind you of that classic comfort food pudding, apple pie? It’s limited edition - so grab it while you can.
Best Beer Gifts for Christmas
Crack open a cold one this Christmas
Beer Hawk PerfectDraft and Keg
Beer lovers hoping for a very hoppy Christmas will have their wishes answered (and then some) by BeerHawk’s boozy festive offerings. Choose from boxes and bundles, cases and crates, all delivered straight to your door for no-fuss shopping.
It very much depends on your recipient but our pick is a PerfectDraft machine, which pulls the perfect pint-for-one. Just choose an accompanying keg of beer - there’s Stella, Corona, Bud, Goose Island and Leffe to choose from.
Beer52 Christmas Party
The beer subscription box has put on its Christmas jumper and launched a festive party in a box that will go down like a cold pint on a hot summer’s day. Helping to support Covid-stricken breweries, you can expect 12 beers, a beer guide and glass plus live-streamed brewery tours, tastings and Q&As. It may be delivered in a box, but the concept goes well beyond it.
Take advantage of the early bird offer of £34.99 instead of £49.99.
DIY Christmas Market Drinks Box
The hospitality industry needs all the help it can get, which is why we're supporting this boozy gift pack from the Northern Wine & Beer Co. They've teamed up with some of the key companies that usually take part in the Manchester Christmas Markets to launch a DIY Christmas Market Drinks Box.
The perfect gift for Christmas Market fans having to miss out this year due to Covid, it costs £60 with £5 donated to the charity FareShare. Free delivery.
Personalised Stout Gift Set
Delight stout lovers with this Guinness-filled hamper, which includes a Guinness stout glass and a Guinness toucan bottle opener. Personalised the box for an extra special touch that will raise a smile once unwrapped.
Christmas Pub in a Box
We’ve seen a few pub-in-a-box hampers, but what makes Signature Brew’s different is that it comes with a music quiz, exclusive playlists and a beer mat alongside craft beer, a glass, and snacks to recreate that ‘in my local’ feel. From lagers to IPAs, there’s plenty to have a right old knees up. Ships from December 1 to keep everything as fresh as possible.
Christmas cocktails - festive tinnies
Perfectly mixed single serves.
The Cocktail Delivery Company
If the bar is barred this Christmas, order perfectly mixed drinks to your door instead thanks to the helpful folks over at The Cocktail Delivery Company. They’ve got all the classics, plus festive pours with merry names like Mistletoe and Wine or a Sloe-Groni. If you’re the sort that lives for an Espresso Martini, try the company’s Salted Caramel version. Divine.
The Bloody Mary Box
Take the edge off Christmas hangovers with the Bloody Box. If it sounds threatening, don't worry; it isn't.
It's a wonderful, reviving box of Bloody Classic Bloody Mary's along with two of the cutest miniature Tabasco bottles, a Perello cocktail can and a tin of Bloody Mary Salt to coat the rim of the glass.
A Bloody Mary just the way you like it? Please, just take our money.
The Duppy Festive Rum Kit Mini
Bring the taste of sunshine to Christmas with this cute rum kit, which contains everything you’ll need to make tasty rum cocktails at home. There's a 20cl bottle of The Duppy Share Aged, a 20cl bottle of The Duppy Share’s brand new XMAS Syrup made with festive spices, and a few more goodies thrown in too.
The perfect gift to send to distant mates, this is one delicious way to liven up your festive Zooms.
LuvJus is an alcoholic 'craft-pop' that supports LGBTQ+ charities and initiatives. With searingly bright packaging, the brand is playful, fun and deserves pride of place on your drinks trolley. Bonus: there's up to 70 per cent less sugar in LuvJus than a fruit cider or canned cocktail.
Vacay Cocktail tinnies
Made for holidays, Vacay is more of a summertime drink - all the more reason to savour it in deepest winter, when longing for sunshine is at its peak. The fun cans house equally fun flavours and they’re gluten-free and vegan to boot, so more people than ever can enjoy them. Choose from Moscow Mule, Tom Collins, Paloma and Blood Orange Vodka.
Best Alcohol-Free Christmas Drinks
All of the fun, none of the hangover
Something & Nothing seltzers
With Dry January looming, you might be looking to get a head start on your liver clean-up. Even if not, it's good to give yourself a break from pouring a constant stream of Christmas cocktails down your throat.
Making a successful case for mindful drinking is Something & Nothing, a drinks brand livening up boring old water by carbonating it and infusing it with clean, tasty flavours like Hibiscus & Rose, Yuzu and a classic Cucumber. Deliciously refreshing on its own or paired with vodka as a mixer, they bring a new twist to Yuletide drinks.
Best Festive Fizz
The bottles that promise to put an extra sparkle into your celebrations.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Christmas Gift Box
The perfect plus-one if you're going to someone's for Christmas, this festively packaged box holds one of England's best sparkling wines, Nyetimber Classic Cuvée. Ideal for pairing with that special lunch on December 25, it's best served chilled with the starters.
Mionetto Rosé Prosecco
A brand new launch, Mionetto is launching its Rosé Prosecco in time for your Christmas lunch. After finally getting the green light from Italian officials the prosecco has landed on our shores. Mionetto’s Prosecco Rosé DOC consists of two of the finest Prosecco grape varieties, Glera and Pinot Noir.
It’s elegant with notes of grapefruit and berries with a delightful blush pink colour that will look gorgeous placed on a festively dressed table.
Bottega Accademia Prosecco DOC Rainbow Collection
Bottega is putting a colourful spin on Christmas this year by painting six of its bottles in the cheery shades of the rainbow. Available in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, they're inspired by Venetian glass and promise to add something extra to your Christmas lunch table.
Della Vite Prosecco
Not content with dominating the worlds of fashion, beauty and acting, the Delevigne sisters are making a play for your ice bucket with a new prosecco named Della Vite. You can get the Superiore D.O.C.G by the bottle (£25.95) or a case of six. Extra dry, it comes to life when paired with decadent party nibbles like figs with honey and olives. Available exclusively at Selfridges.
Perrier-Jouët Grande Brut N.V., 75cl
Perrier-Jouët’s is giving us something to celebrate with its Grand Brut, which now comes in a newly launched eco-gift box.
The elegant Champagne is perfect for lunch, or perhaps with Christmas pudding with fruity notes of cherry plum, bergamot orange and sparkling florals.
One for the ages, splash out on this bottle to make this Christmas one to remember.
M&S Christmas Limited Edition Oro Prosecco - Case of 6
In an unabashedly luxurious gold-coloured bottle, M&S's Christmas edition prosecco is the perfect celebration drink to see you through Christmas Eve drinks right the way through until New Year's Eve - and with a case of six, you could even hold some back for future special events.
Light and fresh with notes of citrus, it's lovely paired with fish and canapes.