Welcome to my Christmas Drinks Guide for 2016 - filled with my favourite drinks finds from gin to ginger beer.
I love having a well-stocked drinks trolley at Christmas. Well, ever since we acquired a retro drinks trolley from my husband's gran. It's a time of excess, a time of taking extra moments to make a cocktail. Spirits just seem to really come into their own at Christmas , with a little sip of this, a tall glass of that. I'll have lots of people coming to stay over the holidays, so I'm starting to think about cocktails now!
Here are my top picks in my 2016 Christmas Drinks Guide:
Damson Vodka from the Wiltshire Liqueur Company (£24, Yumbles)
Quintessentially English, this fruity vodka is produced in my neighbouring county of Wiltshire. It's sweet and flavourful and lovely on its own over ice.
'Yumbles is the biggest artisan marketplace for all-natural food and gift with more than 400 sellers. We go around the country looking for small-batch makers with produce you won't find in your nearby store.'
Liverpool Gin (£45, Liverpool Gin)
This organic premium gin has a blend of botanicals including coriander, angelica and citrus, plus hand-picked juniper berries. The resulting gin has complex flavours and a long finish. It is a superb, smooth gin.
Whitley Neil Gin (£26, Whitley Neil)
'The heart of Africa, distilled'. Whitley Neill is a premium gin is infused with nine botanicals including cape gooseberry and baobab. This London dry gin is warm and bold. It's produced in very small batches in an antique copper pot still.
Greenall's Sloe Gin (£15, Greenall's)
Hand-picked sloes and the fruit of the blackthorne tree are used to add warming flavours to this London dry gin. Rich juniper notes and mature citrus and spice make it rich and fruity, with gentle juniper notes.
Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin (£34, Dunnet Bay Distillers)
This amazing handcrafted premium gin has won a whole slew of awards. And rightly so! It's botanicals include locally harvested Rhodiola Rosea, Rowan Berries, Sea Buckthorn, Blaeberries, Verbena, Coriander Seed, Cardamom and Juniper. They use a traditional copper pot still, named Elizabeth!
J.J. Whitley Rhubarb Vodka (£20, The Whiskey Exchange)
This lovely sweet vodka is infused with natural rhubarb. It's really nice in a tall cocktail with fruit juices or chilled over ice.
Glen Moray Sherry Cask Whisky (£22, Glen Moray)
This Speyside single malt Scotch whisky is oloroso sherry cask finished. It has notes of dried fruits, cinnamon and toffee candy. It has layers of sweet vanilla oak, dark chocolate and oriental spice.
Pogues Irish Whiskey (£28, Pogues Whiskey)
The original Irish whiskey of the legendary band. Just try to drink it without raucously singing Fairytale of New York. I'll let The Pogues speak for their own whiskey, "I am going where streams of whiskey are flowing, we sang. If you could bottle that, they said. So we did."
James White English apple drinks, including cox apple juice, Bramley apple juice, apple and summer berries, russet apple juice and apple elderflower juice. These lovely premium juices are perfect for mixing cocktails and mocktails!(from £2.40). Great Uncle Cornelius' Famous Spice Ginger (£3.25) is rich and firey and fantastic as a mocktail or with lemonade and whiskey.
Disclosure: These drinks were sent to me to review for my drinks guide 2016. All opinions are my own.