With the end of November approaching, Christmas is everywhere we look and for many of us our festive plans, family parties and corporate gatherings are securely in place. We all know we have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Christmas in the UK and it seems that every year, people are mentioning it earlier and earlier. I am one of the first people to moan when I see the festive aisle appear in my local supermarket. Who thinks of these things while most of us are still planning or enjoying our summer vacations? The shops start stocking festive items around August, or sometimes even sooner, restaurants are already taking Christmas day bookings for those who are eager to beat the crowds; and businesses are organising their Christmas sit down meals and annual corporate parties. So we are taking a more enjoyable approach this month and sneaking in some of our favourite Christmas drinks to tease your tastebuds as we come crashing into the festive season.
Mulled wine is one of the most enjoyable British Christmas traditions. Sweet, spiced and moreish. It’s easy enough to just pick up a bottle at your local store for warming at home. However, we like to make our own tried-and-tested recipe; and we know you’ll love it as much as we do. Of course you can also add your own little variants on how much of each spice you add. Just use our recipe as a base to style this drink to your own tastes. Personally, I like my mulled wine with a little bit of Rosé instead of the typical red, but this recipe works well with either.
1 bottle Rosé or Red wine – personal choice but essential!
Zest from 1 Lemon
1 stick of Cinnamon
4 tbsp Honey (you can swap this for maple syrup or caster sugar)
2 Oranges (cut into slices)
1 Star Anise
Throw all the ingredients into a saucepan with a litre of water and slowly warm until the mixture is just simmering. Keep warmed on a low heat for 15-20 minutes. Be sure not to let it boil or the alcohol will get away! For an extra little kick we like to add a single shot of spiced rum. Or a double even! You can make this in larger batches too, just double or triple up on all the ingredients and you’ll be able to make enough for everyone.
For a fruitier version, you can create a mulled apple juice or mulled orange juice instead. This is another great pleasure of the holiday season and you can enjoy it without ever worrying about your alcohol intake. Use the same spices and mixes that you would add to the mulled wine and create a tame but zingy treat for everyone. Yum!
A warming hot, sweet drink made using decadent chocolate to really indulge over the festive season. This is one for the adults AND one for the kids. The only difference between the two is whether or not you add a little bit of ‘heat'; and our recipe has an extra little twist to make it even tastier. You can also try making this with different chocolate brands and flavour extracts, so you’ll be able to keep the variety going for the whole of winter. Just don’t let the kids get hold of the wrong drink!
1 litre Milk (whole is best)
1/4 litre Heavy Cream (for an extra boozy alternative try using half heavy cream and half Bailey’s)
300g cut/chopped Chocolate (use your favourite and add a little more if you like things extra chocolatey)
25g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla extract, Peppermint extract or 1 tsp ground Cinnamon (only use one, or the flavours become a bit too much)
Warm the milk and cream through. Place the chocolate and cocoa powder into the saucepan and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add your chosen extract 1 minute before serving and garnish with marshmallows or mint sprigs. For an adult-only version you can replace the vanilla, peppermint or cinnamon with Peppermint Schnapps or Amaretto. Just add 4 shots (100ml) of your favourite and you’ve got a treat that will warm you ALL the way through.
Eggnog and Vegan Eggnog
Eggnog is traditional at Christmas time in America and Canada and we love it here too! It can be served either warmed or cold. It’s luxurious and tasty either way. Typically made from a mixture of milk, cream, sugar and whipped eggs (and sometimes a drop or two of rum or other spirits), the sumptuous and creamy thickness makes it a holiday hit. We have created the perfect traditional recipe with an alternative vegan version too, so that this holiday drink can be enjoyed by absolutely everyone. To make it extra Christmassy, add a sprinkling of ground nutmeg to either version when serving.
1 litre Milk
1 litre Heavy Cream
125ml Dark Rum
6 Eggs (separated)
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1 stick of Cinnamon
Mix all ingredients except for the Dark Rum, sugar and eggs in a saucepan. Leave the cinnamon whole. Separately whisk your sugar and egg yolks together until the mixture is perfectly combined. Whisk into the milk mixture and heat slowly if required. Whisk your egg whites separately and fold into the mix right before serving. For the vegan version, a lot of the ingredients need to be replaced so take a look at our vegan friendly version here.
1 litre Coconut or Almond Milk (sweetened almond milk works best for us)
50g Cashew Nuts (or another nut of your choice)
35g Pitted Dates
125 ml Dark Rum
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 stick Cinnamon
The trick to making this extra creamy is the nuts. Soak the nuts and dates overnight (or for at least one hour) in the dark rum. Once soaked, blend the mixture together with the milks and vanilla extract. Swirl with the cinnamon stick and serve.
Honey, spices, lemon, herbs, water and whisky. A winning combination. We might not be thinking about those horrible Christmas-time colds right now, but this is the ideal way to decongest yourself when the winter flu starts doing the rounds. Have a go at our recipe now to perfect it in time for the cold weather.
150 ml Boiling Water
1-2 tsp Honey (depending how sweet you like it)
1-2 tsp Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Pinch Ground Cinnamon
Make sure you use a heatproof glass or cup! Mix up the whisky, honey and cinnamon. Add the boiling water and stir. Add in the lemon juice to taste and serve hot with a clove to garnish. Simple.
Well, now we get to the best part. Christmas always brings around fantastic new potions. Why not try adding a little mint or candy cane flavour to your usual cocktails to make them extra festive. Some of the classic Christmas cocktails are oozing with Irish Creams, mulled ciders, spices, fruits and of course chocolate. Take a look at our festive fruit punch recipe here. This will be a huge hit at any Christmas party or gathering, so make sure you’ve got enough to go around!
Mix all to taste!
2 litre Apple Cider (or Pressed Apple Juice)
2 Oranges (cut into slices)
1 Apples (thinly sliced)
3 sticks Cinnamon
1 litre Champagne or Sparkling Wine
No need to worry about the order of adding these. Just throw it all into a giant punch bowl, give it a stir, add a bag of ice and your holiday punch is served!
If you don’t fancy making your own drinks, you can of course buy some of these – although we are sure they’re not as good as ours – in stores. So with that in mind, we wanted to give an extra special mention to one of my favourite sweet holiday-time drinks. Port. Best bought in a bottle and perfect for an after dinner dessert accompaniment or paired with cheese for the perfect taste combo.
The dessert wine of Christmas. Store your Port in a cool, dark place to keep it at it’s best and it will serve you well. Enjoy with a little bit of Stilton Cheese – or any strong cheese for that matter. Brandy is added to the Port at the production stage to maintain the natural sugars and halt fermentation, giving extra sweetness to the Port and making these two the ideal match. Take your pick from white, rose, tawny or ruby for a few different taste experiences. There really isn’t too much more to say about this, apart from, bottoms up!
The Chapel Bar is the perfect party venue, ideal for corporate events at Christmas and all year round. Each of our private hire venue spaces come with fully stocked bars, audio equipment, adaptable seating and a 3am licence. To book your corporate christmas party with us you can send us email enquiries or call us on 020 7833 4090. Christmas is all about the fun and fun is our forte.