Garish decorations adorn the streets, adverts on the telly are urging us to spend our hard earned dosh and the warbling of Mariah Carey can be heard booming from every shop on the high street. Yes, it’s that special time of year again, it’s Christmas!
A time for wearing offensive sweaters, arguing with family members over Monopoly and leaving tiny Bounty bars uneaten in the box of Celebrations. Thankfully it’s also a time to raise spirits by raising a glass or two filled with some quality booze.
If you’re any doubt of the best brands to stock your bar with this year, stick with us. We’ve personally selected two of each of the finest spirits, wines, ready to drink cocktails, beers and ciders so you’ll have the very best beverages to hand this Xmas. Without further ado, here’s our Ultimate Festive Booze Guide.
Gulliver’s 47 Bourbon Cask | 70cl | 47% ABV | RRP £61
Nothing says Christmas to us like sipping a quality single malt by the fireside. From a crowded market we’ve selected Gulliver’s 47, a gently peated English single malt distilled in Norfolk. Aged in bourbon casks from Jim Beam, it comes in at a fairly hefty 47% AVB, yet is surprisingly smooth with a gently spiced flavour. A highly recommended dram that more than rivals other
Sagamore Spirit – Signature Rye | 70cl | 41.5% ABV | RRP £49
A sublime rye whiskey here in the shape of Sagamore Spirit. The drink’s intense flavour comes from blending two Indiana ryes then adding limestone-filtered water from Maryland’s Sagamore Farm. The result is a powerful, yet satisfyingly sippable whiskey with notes of caramel, honey and citrus peel. A must for anyone’s Christmas drinks cabinet.
The Tidal Rum | 70cl | 40% ABV | RRP £ 34.95
Rum is one of the most versatile spirit’s going and we’re exited to introduce The Tidal Rum to all firm fans of the beverage. This award-winning Jersey-based brand have taken inspiration from the ocean to create a golden smooth drink by blending cask-aged rums from the Caribbean then infusing them with lightly oak smoked Pepper Dulse, foraged from Jersey’s shores. This gives the rum its unique salted caramel flavour that hits all the right spots.
8Track Rum | 70cl | 37.5% ABV | RRP £ 31.95
This easy-drinking spiced rum is a must for music lovers, having been inspired by the iconic recording kit of the same name. It’s made from fine Guyana and smooth 8-year-old vintage Barbados rums, infused with Yuletide spices including Seville oranges, vanilla, cloves, ginger and cinnamon, resulting in a smoothly balanced, fine-tuned and zesty spirit. Perfect as a base for Christmas cocktails.
G’Vine Floraison | 70cl | 40% ABV | RRP £31.97
After one sip you have to concede that G’Vine gin is a bit special. We’re sure Fred Sirieix wouldn’t have put his name to the spirit as their UK ambassador otherwise. This standout French gin made with botanicals including ginger root, liquorice, cardamom & cubeb berries, is, like Fred, super smooth and also unique due to being made with Ugni Blanc grapes rather than grain. What can we say, gin-credible.
Bullards Old Tom Gin | 70cl | 42.5% ABV | RRP £40
Gin lovers with an eco-friendly ethos will be perfectly matched with this luxury British creation from Norfolk based Bullards. Their Old Tom expression is made in small batches using a traditional copper pot still having been botanically sweetened with Norfolk honey, giving off flavours of mango and a warming spice from pink pepper. Bullard’s gins also have top sustainable credentials with eco-refill pouches available to top up your original bottle.
The Butterfly Cannon Tequila | 50cl | 40% ABV | RRP £28.95
We were taken back by the silky smooth finish of Butterfly Cannon Tequila, which for our money genuinely is one of the best on the market for its price. This super premium Tequila is made from 100% 7-8 year old hand harvested Agave and produced in Mexico’s most awarded distillery. The range comes in three expressions, Blue, Rosa and Silver Cristalino. We can’t help but love Blue, infused with prickly pear and clementine, it’s colour changes when a mixer is added. Perfect for sipping neat or mixing into a cracking Christmas cocktail.
Casamigos Anejo Tequila | 70cl | 40% ABV | RRP £69.99
Another top draw tequila here in the shape of Casamigos Anejo. This smooth sipping tequila gets its mellow soft caramel and spice flavours from the agave being fermented for twice the average and roasted for 10 times as long, before being aged for 14 months in American oak barrels. All good things take time and this is certainly one drink that’s well worth the wait. Purchasing from INKD allows you to make your mark by personalising a bottle for someone special with a custom message.
In The Welsh Wind Three Grain Vodka | 70cl | 43% ABV | RRP £40
In the Welsh Wind distillery make some fine spirits, so it’s little wonder they’ve expanded their range with this wonderful Three Grain Vodka. They’ve taken the smooth clean flavours of barley and rye and blended them with a wheat-based spirit to create this great drink, which we can attest makes a mean martini that would make James Bond very happy. A fine addition to any festive drinks cabinet.
Black Cow Vodka | 70cl | 40% ABV | RRP £28
We’ve told our readers about Black Cow before, and are more than happy to do so again due to how unique their vodka is. It’s the world’s first pure milk vodka, made in West Dorset from the milk of cows that graze on the fields surrounding their distillery. And aside from having such a special USP, it tastes great, with the milk giving it a smooth and creamy character. Ideal for a Christmastime white Russian.
Tayer + Elementary Xmas Essentials | 10cl | RRP £30
Ready to drink cocktails have come a long way from their rather basic beginnings to become a major success story in the beverage industry. These RTD’s from Tayēr + Elementary are some of the best money can buy. They have a superb range including their bergamot margarita, but for the holiday season they’ve put out a special Xmas Essentials collection featuring three varieties, mince pie negroni, Xmas pud sour and our fave the gingerbread old fashioned.
The Cocktail Society Tommy’s Margarita | 500ml | 18.30% ABV | RRP £26
Tommy’s Margarita, in our humble opinion, just happens to be the best version of a margarita. So we had to share this genuinely brilliant version of the drink from the good people at The Cocktail Society. They’ve brought together resposado tequila, citrus and agave syrup and blended them to perfection to deliver one of the easiest and tastiest cocktails you’ll drink all year. Merry-garitas!
Champagne Bruno Paillard “Dosage Zero” MV | 75cl | 12.5% ABV | RRP £49.80
As far as we’re concerned for under fifty pounds, this is head and shoulders the best champagne on the market. Bruno Paillard’s Dosage Zero is expertly crafted by sourcing grapes from 30 vineyards across the region of North East France, fermenting them in small oak barrels then blending them with 50% reserve wines. The result is a sumptuous and intensely rich champagne. What better way to get the party started on Christmas Day than by popping the cork of this fine fizz.
Ruinart Brut Rosé Champagne | 75cl | 12.5% ABV | RRP £70
For those in the market for a rose expression of champers, you can’t go wrong with this little wonder from Ruinart, the world’s oldest established champagne house. The floral fizz may evoke the summer months, but the fruity notes of cranberry make this an excellent companion at the Christmas dinner table.
Domaine Bousquet ‘Cameleon’ Organic Malbec 2021 | 75cl | 14% ABV | RRP £15.99
The ideal red for a leisurely drink at home here with this easy going organic Cameleón Malbec from Domaine Bousquet, Argentina’s leading organic winery. This well rich, structured wine is filled with flavours of dark fruits with distinctive aromas of blackcurrant, cherry and plums. Perfectly paired with a full roast on the big day.
Porta 6 Red Wine | 75cl | 13.5% ABV | RRP £7.50
Celeb chef James Martin called Porta 6 “one of the nicest reds he’s tasted in ten years” of making BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. And we can’t help but agree. It’s a blend of 50% Aragonês, 40% Castelão and 10% Touriga Nacional grapes that comes together to make a decidedly drinkable drop. And at such a low price for the quality, it really will be the most wine-derful time of the year.
Clément Baraut, Les Petites Coulées | 75cl | 13.5% ABV | RRP £46.60
Cave Bristol is a business that knows a thing or two about fine, vintage and rare wines, which is why we asked their wine expert and founder, Martin Hagen, to choose us a worthy bottle of white. He chose the rich, complex Clément Baraut, Les Petites Coulées. A French vino harvested from perfectly ripe, botrytis-free grapes and fermented dry. This rich but balanced is a sensational drop and super low quantities made it’s something special to keep squirrelled in the cellar or cracked open on Christmas Day.
Inama Soave Classico DOC | 75cl | 12% ABV | RRP £15.99
If you’re still dreaming of a wine Christmas we have another cracker for you with this Inama estate Soave Classico. Made from Garganega variety grapes grown on volcanic soil used by the Romans, it has a taste that can’t be replicated by making it elsewhere. Flavours of apricot, honey, flowers and almond win out here, with the wine’s finish lending itself to fishy dishes.
Bruha Beer | 440ml | 4% ABV | RRP £25 (x12)
This East Anglian brew is one for the lager lover who fancies something a bit different this Yuletide. Bruha Lager is a pilsner style drink brewed with malted barley combined with Amarillo and Cascade hops. It’s a flavoursome beverage that beer lovers will appreciate. We can also recommend their citrusy session pale ale.
Beavertown Frozen Neck IPA Beer | 330ml | 4.3% ABV | RRP £2.30
Our friends at Beavertown Brewery have just launched its brand new Christmas special, so we had to tell you all about it. Frozen Neck is a hazy IPA with a bit of a difference. It’s infused with edible glitter that with just a swirl, creates a sparkling snowball effect in your glass. Perfect for any Christmas Party. Oh, and did we mention it tastes great too. We wish you a hoppy Christmas!
Hawkes Urban Orchard | 330ml | 4.5% ABV | RRP £1.50
We love the fact Bermondsey-based Hawkes cider is made using surplus unloved apples to help eliminate food waste. Their Orchard Project takes in donations of ‘waste’ apples from urban orchards to turn into a rather quaffable cider. This vibrant semi-sweet drink is a winner in the taste stakes. Baby it’s cold out-cider!
Lilley’s Bee Sting Perry | 500ml | 6.8% ABV | RRP £2.25
A cider here for those with a sweet tooth. This Bee Sting perry from Lilley’s is made from pears rather than apples, giving it a uniquely refreshing taste and aroma. And at 6.8% AVB it packs something of a punch, with its sweetness lending itself perfectly to being an ideal after dinner drink.
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