‘Tis the season to be merry, so here are a few delectable drinks ideas to help get your customers into the festive spirit.
It’s a retro party classic that says ‘Christmas’ the minute you mention it and couldn’t be any more festive if it tried: we’re talking about the quintessential snowball, of course. Made with creamy advocaat, sweet lemonade and plenty of ice this chilled down cocktail is refreshing, rich and indulgent all at the same time – no wonder it’s such a hit at this time of year. Top with a cinnamon-infused cherry for even more flavour and an extra hit of kitsch.
Eggnog is a seasonal staple across the pond, but it’s not so common in the UK. Invite your customers to give it a try by offering a warming gingerbread version. Simply infuse the basic chilled mix of milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites and egg yolk with ground or fresh ginger and serve with a cinnamon stick for extra spice. For extra Christmas spirit we recommend adding a measure (or two) of spirits to complement the drink’s unique texture and flavour. Quality dark rum or Cognac work a treat.
There’s nothing quite as Christmassy as a piping hot glass of mulled wine - and the traditional spiced red version is always a crowd-pleaser. But if you want to offer a more unusual alternative there are plenty of creative and innovative flavour combinations to experiment with, all of which are sure to capture the eye (and imagination) of your customers.
White and rose wine can be given a similar festive treatment to red by gently heating for 30 minutes with complementary spices. Try star anise, peppercorns and allspice berries with rose or infuse white with cinnamon and vanilla. For a contemporary twist, try adding chilled versions to your bar menu. Simply keep in the fridge and pour over ice.
But why stop with wine? Gin, still very much the drink of the moment, can also be served warmed and with a spicy kick. Let the evening ‘beGIN’ by heating with orange or apple juice, adding your choice of spices and sweetening with sugar or honey.
Christmas is a time for your customers to indulge their sweet tooth, so why not reflect this in your drinks menu with seasonal drinks to satisfy their craving?
Give hot chocolate a grown-up makeover by adding a shot of Irish cream or bourbon and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For a creamier consistency, stir in some dulce de leche. It is Christmas after all!
For those looking to celebrate in style, combine festive flavours to create the ultimate Christmas tipple: a peppermint mimosa. Top peppermint schnapps with Prosecco or Champagne, cooled to just the right temperature, and serve in a glass that’s been dipped in chocolate and crushed candy canes round the rim.
For a nostalgic appeal and to ward off winter colds, whip up a warming caramel apple hot toddy – an irresistible combination of hot apple cider, caramel syrup and brandy, finished with dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
This year we've seen bitter cocktails like Aperol Spritz negroni enjoy a surge in popularity. This flavour preference will continue into the new year, so coffee-based cocktails are an on-trend option this Christmas. Combine strong coffee, butterscotch schnapps, amaretto, coffee liqueurs and creme de cocoa, then top with fresh whipped cream and grated chocolate.
But it’s rum that’s set to be one of the next biggest things in the world of alcoholic drinks, so get ahead of the curve by offering your customers a delicious hot buttered rum. Simply melt butter over a low heat with sugar and cloves, turn off the heat then add your choice of rum and stir well. Strain into a mug or toddy glass and top with hot water to taste. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg.
According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2017 the number of adults in the UK who said they abstain from alcohol completely was approximately 10.4 million. Don’t let your teetotal customers miss out on the festive fun – get some Christmas mocktails on the menu!
Here are a few quick wins:
- Try mulling pomegranate, cranberry or apple juice. Serve warm, or chilled, with fruit garnish.
- Replace prosecco with chilled sparkling water.
- Invest in a new offering of quality bottled mixers that can not only be served long, with alcohol, but also work well as standalone options for teetotallers.
- Skip the booze in your classic eggnog recipe (see above) – it’s a delicious drink that works well both ways.