Words by Simon Difford
Christmas is a time for overindulgence, and so Christmas cocktails tend to be rich in every sense of the word. In America, it's the creamy Eggnog that dominates the festive cocktail scene while in the UK we have the Snowball, a lighter drink based on advocaat. However, there is a myriad of other tasty Christmassy cocktails with which to indulge.
Traditionally a Snowball is simply advocaat mixed with lime juice and English-style lemonade (7-Up also works). Made well, with freshly squeezed lime juice and served in a tall ice-filled glass, the Snowball appears creamy but is surprisingly light with the lime and lemonade freshening and invigorating the thick advocaat.
So I thought I'd kick off this offering of festive cocktails with my own Champagne Snowball. After all, why use lemonade when you can use champagne? The other cocktails below use Christmassy flavours such as ginger, cranberry, nuts, raisins, sherry, port, and cream. You'll also notice the use of plenty of advocaat and tenuous names.
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.
Cranberry sauce with your turkey and cranberry juice in your Cosmo. With falernum adding delicate festive spice.
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.
The Cosmopolitan meets the Margarita in this gloriously pink cocktail - I was aiming for a Christmassy red hue.
Does the angel atop your verdant Christmas tree have lemming-like tendences to plunge from a great height? This cocktail is for her.
Pimento dram adds a touch of uplifting Christmassy spice to this cognac-lace apple and orange fireside sipper.
Simply fino sherry served long with ginger ale. Very refreshing, low in alcohol and perfect for Christmas.
Equal parts cognac, vermouth and Campari produces an appropriately named cocktail with a hue to match your Santa costume.
Fish House Punch
One of the most famous of all punch recipes, one of the stories behind the origin of the Fish House Punch has it that the drink was first made in 1848 by Shippen Willing of Philadelphia to celebrate women being allowed into the Fish House for the first time for a Christmas Party.
Fino sherry again dries this creamy and complex Christmassy cocktail with scotch whisky providing backbone and character while advocaat adds dairy-like creaminess.
Genever provides the yuletide spirit base, sweetened and flavoured by cherry liqueur. Chinato adds wine notes while gin freshens and adds botanical complexity.
White Russian Christmas
With all the songs about a White Christmas, I couldn't help this play on words with this Christmassy White Russian given a festive feel by mincemeat and gingerbread syrup. I should explain for 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. Christmas is not Christmas without mince pies!
A perfect after-dinner cocktail at any time of year but particularly appropriate over the festive period due to its ingredients - Pedro Ximénez sherry (which tastes like English Christmas pudding), mandarins and walnuts, which are best cracked whilst watching a Christmas special.
Christmas Velvet Alexander
Combining advocaat, London dry gin and fino sherry, this is the ultimate stereotypical Christmas English granny's cocktail.
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.
General Harrison's Nogg
Named after General William Henry Hartison, the American President to hold office for the shortest period we were sent this Egg Nog recipe by King Cocktail, Dale DeGroff.
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.
Rich wintery flavours of sloe gin and honey are balanced by lemon juice with clove providing seasonal spice and rosé champagne invigorating and refreshing.
A festively spiced champagne cocktail created in 2016 by Dave Beatty.
More Christmas cocktails