The How-To Guide for Living Life One Cocktail at a Time
Last updated on: December 11, 2020
How to Find the Perfect Christmas Spirit
Every Christmas season sees a flurry of holiday themed Christmas booze. These spirits can be limited editions, newly launched or just a perfect ingredient for creating Christmas cocktails.
I have put together a list of my favorite of these spirits, as well as links to the Christmas cocktails you can serve with them. Hopefully, they will make your holiday spirit a little brighter this season.
FYI: There is no hierarchy to this list – except the first one!
The holiday spirit is all about giving to others! The best way to say I love you to the cocktail lovers in your life is by sending them a Negroni made with Porter's Gin! I adore this concept and that's why (although this list is not in any order of preference) it's the top! Don't miss Porter's new expression, the Orchard Gin, cold-distilled green apples and pears - it's autumn in a bottle!
Black Cow Vodka is at it again with an amazing new expression just in time for the holiday season. This to-die-for spirit is infused with the fruits and spices traditionally associated with the Christmas season! Its inspiration is the quintessential Christmas pudding with citrus, cloves, cinnamon, figs, currents, raisins and vanilla all macerated in Black Cow Vodka. Try the Mulled Apple recipe and you might just forget about Mulled wine!
There are about a gazillion gins out there, but only one that is devoted to the conservation of the African elephant. That spells Christmas spirit to me! With every full size bottle sold, Elephant Gin contributes 15% of profits to elephant conservation charities including Big Life Foundation, while with each miniature bottle sold, 15% of profits is donated to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This is not the only reason I love it - it makes some great cocktails, like the Orange Toddy, Black Seeds and the Dzombo Spritz!
My university mascot is a tiger (Go Princeton!) so how could I not love Pataka Ginger Liqueur. Not only does it have a fabulous tiger emblazoned on its bottle, but it is made with Fairtrade ginger root, sourced exclusively from India. FYI Pataka is Punjabi word for ‘firecracker," so it's just right that they have a cocktail of that name as well, plus a wonderful recipe for a mulled ginger cocktail and their twist on the East Side!
Cointreau is toasting this Christmas with its gorgeous Limited Edition bottle created by renowned French interior designer, Vincent Darré. The one-off design celebrates the 170th anniversary of Cointreau. Try one of the delicious cocktails made with Cointreau, The Mai Tai and the Cointreau Cosmo, and toast to their significant birthday!
The guests of Reverend Hubert Bell Lester (1868 -1929) at Christmas time were always greeted by a glass of his winter liqueur! Now in the modern age, we have his great-grandson to thank for this new update of the original recipe. Think a warming, smooth gin liqueur bursting with aromatic notes of dried fruit, winter spices and the freshest organic orange and lemon zest from Amalfi! Twist up a Negroni or Martini or try their contemporary classic, The Naughty Hubert, made by Alessandro Palazzi at Dukes!
I do love a liqueur. So there are more than one on this list! Esprit de Figues is the world's first true fresh fig liqueur, made from Violette de Bordeaux Figs in an 150-year-old family distillery in Burgundy, France. Described as “fresh fig and raspberry jam with a hint of peach and honey" makes it sound just too good to miss! Try their Esprit de Fizz instead of the Kir Royale this season; it's one of the prettiest, bubbly cocktails! They also do a Sidecar twist that is scrumptious.
After interviewing Fraser Campbell, the Dewar's Global Brand Ambassador, I can't stop making my Caribbean Coconut Highballs! It's their eight-year-old whisky finished in rum casks. If this doesn't send you right to the beach when you close your eyes, nothing will this holiday season.
I adore Professors Club Gin and was thrilled that they created these specially for the holiday. One is their Winter Garden Gin with a carefully selected assortment of botanicals giving a subtle herbal balance of mint, hibiscus and lavender creating a classic style and blend. The other is their Festive Spiced Gin, infused with a seasonal assortment of cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel. They come together so you don't have to choose!
How can you not want an oak-aged rum that is spiced with cinnamon, orange, and muscovado sugar! Christmas Pudding is my favorite holiday dessert, so having all of its ingredients in one rum makes my heart warm. Finders makes some of the best spirit combinations - so after a sip of The Spirit of Christmas Pudding Rum, try their Orange & Raisin or Chocolate & Coffee! Here is their perfect serve!
My friend, Miguel Riascos, has already created two beautiful rums - La Hechicera Original and the first of the Series Experimentals. Now it's as if he knew what I wanted next! The Serie Experimental No. 2 has been matured in white oak casks and also infused with bananas. Not only will this make an incredible Banana Old Fashioned, but what a Bananas Foster!
Literally a Christmas tree in a bottle, Hepple Douglas Fir Flavoured Vodka is meant for that holiday Martini. Using the needles from the Douglas fir tree that grows on the grounds of the Hepple Estate in Northumberland, this vodka has a hint of pine and is surprisingly melony both on the nose and taste! Try the Shooting Star cocktail!
Mary, how appropriately named for the Christmas season(!), the low ABV choice on this list is made from sustainably-sourced plants including basil, thyme, sage, coriander seeds, angelica roots, pine needles and juniper. The result is a delicate green spirit, with zesty herbal flavors and a touch of fresh citrus. It’s ideally served simply with tonic, but you have all holiday to create your own.
Don't miss the limited edition Beluga Vodka Celebration to commemorate the 115th anniversary of Siberia's Mariinsk Distillery, where the vodka is made. The golden bottle adds that touch of festivity to any holiday celebration!
Try an Indian whisky for a change! Rampur Double Cask Indian Single Malt Whisky is a hand- crafted single malt whisky matured for two-thirds of its life in hand-selected American Bourbon barrels and one third in European Oak Sherry cask. That sounds like the perfect combination for a Christmas Old-Fashioned!
No time like the present to try the world's most popular spirit: Chinese baijiu! If you are wondering where to start, it has to be the top with Fenjiu, China’s premium baijiu spirit. They've created some amazing cocktails to go with it. Start with the Fenjiu Tea Punch, the Fenjiu Christmas Fizz Cocktail and the Fenjiu Shanxi Mule!
Have a great time trying them all and happy December!!
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