Photo credit: Inga Seliverstova
Ho ho ho! The holiday season is upon us. The festive season is typically one of indulgence, and one I use to bookend a year, and, I’m not sure about you, but after the year we’ve had I'm more determined than ever to kickback and enjoy myself!
There are a wealth of enjoyable festive tipples out there, and I wanted to share a few with you to get you going. Mulled wine is a Christmas standard, but have you tried mulled cider? It’s a beautiful thing. And slip a little rum in there and you have something really special! That said, here at Your Drink Box, as always, we have you covered. Here are three fab festive tipples both simple and delicious to get you warmed up and ready for some holiday fun.
The Hot Toddy
Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels
The hot toddy is a fantastic drink. It’s one of my favourite things about winter and even catching a cold. Having the sniffles is the perfect excuse to make a hot honey and lemon concoction and pop a little extra spirit in there too. Most commonly made with dark spirits like whisky and brandy both work brilliantly, rum is fun and recently there has been a surge in popularity in gin toddies.
The thing with hot toddies is they are so versatile. Depending on what spirit you go for, you can adapt what fruit goes in too. I’d recommend keeping some of the citrus element as citrus is what brings antibacterial properties to a toddy. Honey is super soothing on a sore throat and also has antiseptic properties, being used to treat wounds.
So, here is a recipe for a basic toddy, and we’ll leave it to you to embellish it how you like:
Gin Hot Toddy Recipe
Boil the kettle. Add a 25-50ml measure of gin to a cup. I’d suggest a solid London Dry like or a gin leaning into a spicy profile. Add a couple of slices of lemon and a spoonful of honey. For extra variety, you can add a dash of 3/4 oz Tonic Syrup for a touch of bitterness and colour. Then, add the boiling water, give it a good stir and you are ready to sip.
Vanilla Gin and Tonic
With a little thought, a standard G&T can still be a festive G&T. For this one, we use Sir Edmond Gin, a beautiful gin, with a fantastic sweet backbone of cinnamon spice. This Dutch vanilla infused gin uses a precise distilling process involving juniper, cardamom, cinnamon, angelica root and ginger. This distillate then gets infused with Bourbon vanilla from the island of Réunion for a few weeks, resulting in the game-changing taste with a tropically sweet twist. This is a great starting point for a warming G&T.
Vanilla Gin & Tonic Recipe
As you’d expect, add ice to your glass. Pour in a 25-50ml to taste, top with your favourite tonic. Considering the flavour profile, you could stick with a standard tonic like Schweppes Crisp, but there are some great flavoured options that could give your drink a little extra. If you want to stick to a standard mixer, then you could add a little extra flavour with some Dashfire Spiced Apple Bitters or Dashfire Cinnamon Bitters. Garnish with a nice piece of apple and a stick of cinnamon.
Top Tip: Vanilla Gin Cake
Have you ever thought of using gin in your cooking? There are some fab recipes out there. I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for baking with gin. And, festive baking is a real treat. So if you fancy putting a little spin on your baking, put together a simple sponge cake then drizzle with icing made with our vanilla flavoured Sir Edmond Gin.
To make the sponge, combine 250g each of flour, caster sugar and unsalted butter, and 3 large eggs (use more if they’re smaller). Considering the vanilla flavour in the gin it could be nice to add a little cinnamon into the sponge but I’ll leave that up to you! I like to use a loaf tin but feel free to use a round one.
When it’s baked and cool, skewer some holes into the top and drizzle on a mixture of our vanilla gin (around 10 tbsp) mixed with 75g caster sugar. The mixture will soak through the holes into the sponge. Once your sponge is suitably soaked, you can top with the more icing made by combining 4 tbsp gin mixed with 200g icing sugar. Yum!
The Kir Royal has a fascinating history. Originating in Burgundy, France, the drink is said to go back to the mid-19th-century. The original Kir cocktail is made with creme de cassis (a blackcurrent liqueur) and wine, and takes its name from Canon and French Catholic Priest, Félix Kir.
You see, Félix Kir was the Mayor of Dijon from 1945 – 1968 (until his death at the age of 92), and was greatly revered as a hero member of the French Resistance. And there are, as most drinks, several stories behind why he added creme de cassis to white wine, but most conclude it was because the wine quality that year had been a little lacking.
Later, Félix presented it as the local drink at various events, and the cocktail boomed in popularity. Nowadays, it is a known celebration tipple. As well as the Kir cocktail, there is the Kir Royal, a variation made with champagne. Here at Your Drink Box we like making them with our Hudson Standard Cassis Berry Shrub.
Kir Royal Recipe
Get yourself a champagne flute. Add a dash of Hudson Standard Cassis Berry Shrub. Top up with white wine for a Kir or Champagne/sparkling wine for a Kir Royal. Make sure everything is chilled and for some extra pizazz add a few raspberries. Enjoy!
And there we have it! A few little ideas to get you started. Merry Christmas one and all! From each of us here at Your Drink Box, cheers!
About the Author: Bernadette Pamplin
After landing a job in a gin bar, Bernadette became obsessed with gin and sought extensive training to learn all she could about the juniper spirit. Later, she merged her passion for gin and her passion for words by becoming a drinks writer.
She has also served as Brand Ambassador for a large UK Gin Festival and helps organise the Craft Distilling Expo as well as speaking on panels at it.
Bernadette has four years experience judging events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits. She loves trying gins, learning to distinguish flavours and how the botanicals and distillation processes create the final result. Very much "under the ginfluence," Bernadette is driven by the spirit's history, flavour and story. While gin is her speciality, she has affection for all spirits.