With Christmas just around the corner the party season is officially now here, and it’s a great opportunity to wow your guests with a range of delicious drinks – whether you want something glam and sparkly or warm and comforting.
Choose your fizz carefully
With champagne prices high it’s no wonder that people have been looking to different sparkling wines for their party fizz. In fact, last Christmas sales of prosecco overtook champagne for the first time. But prosecco isn’t the only alternative, there are also a lot of English vineyards producing their own sparkling wines and Spanish cava is still a great option for those with a limited budget.
Look out for tasting opportunities at supermarkets, Christmas food fairs or even your local vineyard.
Find out why cava can be a fantastic alternative to champagne.
If you really want to impress your guests then it’s time to crack out the cocktail shaker. Sparkling bubbles and the rich red colour of cranberry and pomegranate juice can all make excellent festive cocktails.
Try Poinsettia (cranberry juice, triple sec and sparkling wine), Ruby Duchess (sparkling wine, raspberry liquer and pomegranate juice) or PimPom (cranberry juice, Pimm's, soda water and lemonade).
Plan your cocktail menu beforehand and get all your ingredients together in one place before the party starts. To be really efficient, type up a menu and print it off so your guests can see the options available.
Remember not to stretch yourself too thinly – if you’re stuck making cocktails all evening you won’t have time to chat with your guests or see to other hosting duties. Instead, perhaps just offer one cocktail on arrival or have some easy pre-made cocktails available, such as a fun Haribo cocktail made with peach liqueur, sparkling wine and Haribo sweets.
Eight wonderful Christmas cocktail recipes
Champagne cocktail recipes
Champagne Haribo cocktail
Fino sherry cocktail recipes
Sparkling wine and cocktails can be enjoyed throughout the year but it’s only during these cold winter months that we can really make the most of the wide assortment of warm spiced drinks available to choose from.
Mulled wine is popular for good reason, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Mulled cider is just as tasty, and just as easy to make. Glogg is mulled wine’s Scandinavian sister and made by combining wine with port and brandy.
Wassail cup and hot buttered rum are also two excellent traditional hot toddy recipes that are perfect for a more intimate drinks party.
Mulled wine recipe
Mulled cider recipe
Hot buttered rum recipe
Don’t forget the non-drinkers
Drivers and non-drinkers alike will appreciate some thought put into their non-alcoholic drink options. A mix of orange juice and sparkling water is always popular, but you could try one of the many smart cordial options now gracing supermarket shelves, and many will have special and unusual festive variations.
If you’re serving mulled wine at your party you could also serve mulled grape juice – made in just the same way as mulled wine, but swapping out the red wine for red grape juice. Belvoir offer a mulled winter punch (available in most supermarkets) if you would prefer not to mull your own – or simply don’t have the time.
There are also lots of fun mocktails you can make instead of alcoholic cocktails. Just remember the three basic ingredients that many good cocktails - sweet, citrus and sparkling, and get inventive.
Zing and tonic recipe
Spiced iced tea recipe