Festive drinking has taken it up a notch. Instead of guzzling as much as possible, cocktails are a work of art to be admired and sipped. Leighanne Bent shares the best Christmassy tipples from across London
We hate to break it to you, but the chances of finding your true love under the mistletoe this year are pretty slim. Save yourself the heartache and lock lips with the capital's best Christmas cocktails instead. There are tonnes of festive mixes to try, whether you want to play it safe with a boozy hot chocolate or go wild with a cocktail garnished with brussels sprouts, there’s a merry mix for everyone this year.
Brora Warmer - Bluebird
If you’re looking for a cosy retreat and somewhere to beat the Christmas chill, look no further than Bluebird. This neighbourhood hangout has decked out its courtyard with tartan throws and sheepskin rugs, but if you really want to get toasty, order their Brora Warmer. It’s blended with Tanqueray No 10 gin, Denham Estate apple juice, fresh mint, cherry liqueur and aromatic bitters, topped with sparkling wine.
If you want a drink that’s (literally) as pretty as a picture, wrap up warm and make your way to Revolution Bar in Clapham. They have more festive drinks than you can shake a Christmas cracker at, but make sure you check out The North Polaroid. This fruity and sweet cocktail contains Stoli Vodka, Amaretto, cherry syrup, strawberry purée, pineapple juice and lemon. After everything is shaken and strained, the glass is decorated with edible glitter and a Polaroid picture is of you on the night.
Dirty Bones will make all your mince pie dreams come true this year with their Mince Pie Bramble. It’s made using gin, lemon and an in-house brandy and port-infused mince pie reduction. Plus there are three Dirty Bones locations dotted across London, giving you no excuse to miss out on this limited libation.
When it comes to Christmas cocktails we say the more indulgent, the better; and Dirty Martinis’ Sticky Toffee Fizz is just that. This festive tipple is made with Captain Morgan Spice Rum, Patron XO Café Tequila, Monin Caramel Syrup, Bitter Truth Pimento Dram Liqueur and is finished off with a splash of prosecco. The flute it’s served in comes lightly coated in powdered yoghurt too, and gives the illusion of a snow frosted glass. Does it get any more festive than this? Probably not.
Dalloway Terrace have really pushed the sleigh out this winter; they transformed their intimate space into a snow-frosted wonderland and collaborated with master chocolatier, Maison Pierre Marcolini, to create a bespoke list of hot chocolate cocktails. There are four magical mixes to choose from, but our favourite is the Black Forest. It’s made with Gin, Vermouth, Cherry Heering and Marcoloni Hot Chocolate.
If you grew up in the 90s, it's more than likely you asked Santa for anything Spice Girl related. This year, Ray’s Bar in Dalston are reviving everyone’s Christmas list memories with their Spice World cocktail. Made with Rittenhouse Rye, chai syrup, Antica Formula and cream float, with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top, it won’t matter if you’re on the nice list this year; Ray’s bartenders will shake up this naughty mix for you, without question.
Forget Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London Cocktail Club have a Winter Wonderland you can drink. Made with Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka, Tia Maria, almond and vanilla syrup, it’s guaranteed to get your bells jingling. This merry mix is served in a coupe glass with a Rafaello praline as the ultimate guilty pleasure garnish.
Every year, without fail, the nation is divided by the inevitable brussels sprouts question. Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, you need to throw all sprout preconceptions out the window this year and make your way to M Restaurant's Threadneedle brannch. For the entire month of December the mixologists will spin out the Sprouting Gordon’s Gin Fizz. This quirky drink is made with Gordon’s gin, sweet cranberry juice and prosecco. The drink is then garnished with caramelised brussels sprouts. Yup. Caramel brussels sprouts.
When it comes to Christmas cocktail offerings, Bounce have managed to pull it out of the stocking. Their A Christmas Carol concoction marries Buffalo Trace bourbon, caramel syrup, Pimento Dram, Frangelico, lime juice and a touch of salt. The result? One of London's most festive and delectable drinks.
Although the big man in the red suit works hard for his plate of cookies and ice-cold glass of milk, Drake and Morgan thought it about time you got in on some of the action too. Their festive Milk and Cookies cocktail is a heady mix of Bulleit Bourbon, milk and actual biscuits. It’s as comforting as it sounds and comes served on the rocks.
For more info on London’s best bars and cocktails, visit DesignMyNight and follow them on Twitter and Instagram; @DesignMyNight.