The week leading to Christmas has finally arrived which naturally means a lot of going out and, umm, ‘socialising’. Unfortunately the blizzard threatened by the Met office has also arrived, meaning most of us would rather stay home with a vat of mulled wine. Lucky then, that many bars in London have created warming Christmas drinks to help the more hardy reveller beat the chill – here’s my pick of the best:
Nestled at the top of Bermondsey Street next to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, The Hide is a little gem. With the looks of a nondescript wine bar, the quality of the drinks is unquestionable and they have made an extra effort to get into the Christmas spirit. Alongside gluhwein mulling away gently at the end of the bar will be: a classic Egg Nogg; Tom and Jerry (milk, egg, Cognac, Jamaican rum and spices); a very alcoholic-sounding hot chocolate; Walk Down Gin Lane (Bols Genever, almond syrup and milk); and finally, the Italian influenced Bombardino, (grappa, home-made Marsala and espresso, topped with whipped cream).
The Lobby Bar at One Aldwych
The Winter Collection at the Lobby Bar has a number of elegant warm cocktails on offer. Try Winter essence (Calvados, bay, cinnamon and prune syrup) or The Mist (Cognac, orange and herbal liqueur, vanilla and orange oil), both of which mingle festive flavour with a light yet luxurious touch.
You’d expect any offering from the Steam Punk boys of the cocktail world to have a little extra flair and of course they don’t disappoint. Nitro egg-nogg ice cream (Diplomatica reserve, egg, cream, sugar and spice) is made to order with liquid nitrogen and topped with flamed mincemeat but is also served warm. In addition they are serving Blue Blazers (flamed Bourbon with sugar and spice) and the eponymous Purl, a Dickensian creation of Hendricks gin, beer and spices.
Launched at The Waldorf, Hilton hotels have created a special 12 drinks of Christmas from A Partridge in a Pear Tree (Absolut Pear, lemon juice, caramel syrup, apple juice and thyme) to 12 Drummers Drumming (Port, peach liqueur, apple juice and Lagavulin). Completely over the top, with gold flakes, generous use of cream and sweet liqueurs they may not be overly sophisticated but they do sound glamorously festive. Not warm in themselves but containing spices and chilli enough to beat the cold, they’re available for the month of December only (£12 a drink). Hilton are also posting a video tutorial of one recipe each day in the run up to Christmas.