20 best Christmas cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

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Christmas is a time for overindulgence, so these cocktails are rich in every sense of the word. In America, the creamy Eggnog dominates the festive cocktail scene, while in the UK, we have the Snowball, a lighter drink based on advocaat. However, there are a myriad of other tasty Christmas cocktails with which to indulge.

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Christmas Cosmopolitan (pictured above)
Cranberry sauce with your turkey and cranberry juice in your Cosmo. With falernum adding delicate festive spice.

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Elf On The Shelf
Elf (elderflower liqueur), On (orange liqueur), The (tequila), Shelf (sherry) is for naughty elves to share while planning mischievous enactments.

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Champagne Snowball
This riff on the classic Snowball uses fino sherry to dry and freshen the drink while champagne lifts and lightens the thick creamy egg yolk.

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Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini
Just as the name promises, an Espresso Martini but base on orange-flavoured vodka and with an added hint of rich chocolate liqueur.

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Christmas Margarita
The Cosmopolitan meets the Margarita in this gloriously pink cocktail - I was aiming for a Christmassy red hue.

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Mulled Negroni
Why sip mulled wine when you can feast on a Negroni.

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Gingerbread Old Fashioned
Something to nibble on while watching those TV Christmas specials.

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Celebration
Equal parts cognac, vermouth and Campari produces an appropriately named cocktail with a hue to match your Santa costume.

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Kummel Ye Faithful
Designed to be one of last drink of the night on Christmas Eve/Day, or indeed any night.

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Whisky Butter
Fino sherry again dries this creamy and complex Christmassy cocktail with scotch whisky providing backbone and character while advocaat adds dairy-like creaminess.

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Christmas Cheer-re
Genever provides the yuletide spirit base, sweetened and flavoured by cherry liqueur. Chinato adds wine notes while gin freshens and adds botanical complexity.

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Gingerbread 'Martini'
A 'wet' Vodka Martini made soaking wet with a festive dose of almond and gingerbread syrup. Simple and somewhat 1990s but very tasty.

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Christmas Special
A perfect after-dinner cocktail at any time of year but particularly appropriate over the festive period due to its including Pedro Ximénez sherry (which tastes like English Christmas pudding).

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Christmas Velvet Alexander
Combining advocaat, London dry gin and fino sherry, this is the ultimate stereotypical Christmas English granny's cocktail.

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Tom & Jerry
A boozy, warming and filling festive meal in itself. Make for 2 or 20 - once you're made the base batter, this is quick and easy to serve to a crowd.

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Yule Luv It
Here's hoping it's not socks again.

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Randy Old-fashioned
Port and brandy (rhymes 'Randy') are traditionally consumed at Christmas and used to be a popular British pub combo. I've used maple syrup in place of brown sugar syrup to lightly sweeten this festive after dinner combo. The Sazerac was the inspiration for the choice of bitters and use of absinthe.

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Christmas Pudding & Custard
As the name suggests, this drink combines flavours reminiscent of alcoholic custard with Pedro Ximenez sherry resembling liquid Christmas pudding.

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The Reindeer
A festively spiced champagne cocktail created in 2016 by Dave Beatty.

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White Christmas
With all the songs about a White Christmas, a suitably white cocktail for Christmas seemed called for; made all the more festive by mincemeat and gingerbread syrup. I should explain to those not familiar with "mincemeat" that it is not 'meat' but a very English pie filling containing chopped apple, dried fruits, candied peel and mixed spices. And Christmas is just not Christmas without mince pies!

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