I hope you’ve already done your Christmas food shop by now but if you’re rounding up the last of the essentials, have a quick look at my drinks recommendations below. Have a wonderful Christmas all!
Cranberry sparkler to kick of the celebrations
Now I don’t usually start on the bubbly right away on Christmas Day (I generally still feel a bit tender from Christmas Eve) but this cranberry gin fizz has the perfect balance of crisp and fruity flavours, guaranteed to liven up your palate. Plus you can usually make it using previously acquired Christmas supplies!
Ingredients – makes 6
100ml gin (I use Gordon’s)
Large handful cranberries
300ml cranberry juice
300ml chilled sparkling wine (I use cava)
1. In advance, divide the cranberries between 6 champagne flutes, then pour over 15-20ml gin and add a squeeze of lime juice. This can be left to soak until your guests arrive.
2. Add around 50ml cranberry juice to each glass, then top with the sparkling wine. Serve immediately.
Perfect starter wine
As Christmas Day starters are usually fishy, a light yet fragrant white wine is my preferred match. The Naked Grape Riesling from Germany is fruity with flavours of apple and peach and a hint of residual sugar, making it ideal as an aperitif and intense enough to stand up to a smoked salmon dish. Pick up a bottle from Waitrose for £8.49.
For the main event
With such a complex mix of flavours on your dinner plate, you need a wine that doesn’t overwhelm to match with your Christmas turkey. My pick is a red from the Beaujolais region such as Domaine Damien Coquelet Chiroubles 2011, available for £14.04 from The Sampler. With a hint of vanilla spice and ripe cherry flavours, this vibrant wine will be ideal alongside turkey and cranberry sauce.
Alternatively, if you’re going for goose this year try a white from the Rhône such as Domaine Bernard Gripa Saint-Péray Les Figuiers 2010, available for £19.96 from Vine Trail. Made from a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne grapes, this rich white will round off the intense flavour of the goose perfectly.
A sweetie for dessert
Alongside the Christmas pud, I’ll be enjoying a glass of Matusalem 30-year old Oloroso, available for £16.99 from Majestic. With enticing flavours of dried figs, raisins, and intense sweet spices, this sherry will also suit a cheeseboard for those less inclined to go down the dessert route.
After dinner merriment
If you usually partake in a cheeky whisky by the fire – to aid digestion of course – why not try one of the following for a change…
This rich Caribbean liqueur made from Jamaican rum and coffee will accompany a toasty cup of coffee nicely! Just add a couple of ice cubes to a small tumbler of Tia Maria and you’re set for a night in front of the TV, copy of Radio Times in hand.
If you prefer a drink with a bit more spice, Bacardi OakHeart, made by mellowing the rum in charred American oak barrels, and by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey, is deliciously smooth and warming. Try it on its own or, if you have the energy after a long day of eating and drinking, experiment to make your own cocktails – mulled rum anyone?