Christmassy Cocktails

Well, it is that time of year. Our bars are full of office Christmas party revellers, whose only time in polite company each year is in your bar.

Each trying to out git the last, each needing every drink on the menu (and most of ingredients) explained in triplicate before asking if you have mulled red wine and then plumping for ‘a drink like on Mad Men’ (I never thought I’d miss the days when they said ‘that Sex in the City cocktail’).

However good news is here – firstly, Black Friday is out of the way, and secondly some friends of BarLifeUK have sent in their favourite Wintery/Christmassy cocktails for us to try out. So Merry Christmas everyone and Cheers.

Tim Philips – Class Bartender of the Year 2009 and BarLifeUK blogger

Santa Claus
Ho, Ho, Ohhhhh - is that a bottle of Urban Bourbon in his hand?

From spending all winter in Chamonix and London in years previous the drink that stands out is my Apple & Absinthe Toddy. A fantastic take on a classic 18th century Cidre Chaud et Normandy (Mulled Cider).

Apple & Absinthe Toddy

  • 25ml Calvados
  • 50ml Apple Juice
  • 75ml Dry Cider
  • Sp Honey
  • Sp Absinthe
  • 1/2 Sp Butter

All ingredients except Calvados heated in coffee steamer, or if made in bulk whisked rigorously over a saucepan. Add Calvados at end with Cinamon and Nutmeg.

Jeff Beachbum Berry – Mr Tiki and author of Remixed, Grog Log, Sippin’ Safari and more
Here’s a drink I just served at the Repeal Day Ball in Washington, D.C., which although a Tiki drink still works in Winter – the reason being allspice, which as Ted “Doctor Cocktail” Haigh says tastes like “Christmas in a glass.”

Ancient Mariner

  • 30ml (1 oz) Demerara rum
  • 30ml (1 oz) dark Jamaican rum
  • 22.5ml (3/4 oz) fresh lime juice
  • 15ml (1/2 oz) white grapefruit juice
  • 15ml (1/2 oz) simple syrup
  • 7.5ml (1/4 oz) pimento liqueur (Bitter Truth or St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram)

Shake well with lots of crushed ice.  Pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass.  Garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig.

Gaz Regan – the man behind Ardent Spirits, the Worldwide Bartender Database, author and BarLifeUK blogger
Here’s a simple recipe that works pretty well for fireside quaffing. I came up with this drink for the Gourmet Magazine food-pairing challenge in 2004—I’m a big fan of marrying port and cognac, and the gingerbread syrup worked really well in this one.



  • 45 ml (1.5 oz) Hennessy VSOP Privilège cognac
  •  45 ml (1.5 oz) ruby port
  •  22.5 ml (.75 oz)  Monin Gingerbread Syrup


Mix together at room temperature in a snifter.

Angus Winchester – Founder of Alconomics, Global Brand Ambassador Tanqueray Gin and cocktail guru
Here is a drink we did for last year’s Xmas menu at Nimb in Copenhagen. Very tasty it is too.

Jul Flip


  • 40ml Bols Genever
  • 12.5ml Falernum
  • 12.5ml Honey
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 20ml Cream


Swirl Bitters. Shake and strain into a cognac glass with cubed ice.

Dushan Zaric – Owner of Employees Only and Macao Trading company and author of Speakeasy
The Calvados Sidecar is simply a playful variation of the classic Sidecar cocktail that we whip out from time to time on the right customer. As it turned we suggested it mostly in colder months as it’s flavours are naturally “warming”. Calvados is a French apple brandy treated with the same care as Cognac. To play of the apple flavours we added ground cinnamon to the sugar rim as it is a classic pairing with apples.

Calvados Sidecar


  • 30 mls (1 ounce) Daron Fine calvados
  • 30 mls (1 ounce) Cointreau
  • 30 mls (1 ounce) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 orange twist, for garnish
  • freshly ground cinnamon mixed with bar sugar, for garnish


Glass: Cocktail. Rub rim of cocktail glass with the fruit of lemon. Carefully dip the rim in the cinnamon sugar so that only the very top of rim is coated evenly. Place the glass now back into the freezer and let the sugar rim harden. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add large cold ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

Riki Carter – New Zealand bartender extraordinaire, the man behind the Matterhorn and BarLifeUK blogger
The flavours of the cocktail work well with the Christmas theme. The cigar gives a little touch of spice to the cocktail. A warming cocktail for the cold winter.

Rum and Cigar Blazer


  • 50mls Havana Club 7yo
  • 20mls Carter’s Cigar Liqueur
  • 10mls Cinnamon liqueur
  • 3 dash booker’s bitters
  • 20mls boiling water
  • 2 orange zest


Place all ingredients (with the exception of the orange zest) in to a blazer mug, light and pass the flaming liquid between the two jugs. Extinguish the flame and pour in to warmed old fashioned glass. Flame the zest over the top and place in to the cocktail.