The 12 Gins Of Christmas

So clearly I enjoy gin…  I don’t think anyone is going to argue with that.

Previously it was really just gin and tonic, right?  But these last twelve months have been something of a gin adventure for me.  I started dabbling in cocktails and “gin-based” drinks and have been really rather enjoying it.

It all started with the negroni.  I had heard such good things about it and seen so much love for it all over the internet…  I tried one…  God it was horrible…  Seriously SERIOUSLY horrible.  I did what I usually do…  Decided this was a one off bad one (can’t be a nasty drink cos folk are daft for it!!!) and dived in buying all the gear for it as well as a gin specifically made to go beautifully in a negroni…  Off my head…  Especially considering, at this point, I hated the drink.

Anyway, long story boring, I fell in love with it and started to look at what other things I could potentially enjoy with gin.  Chance encounters showed me the delights of the gimlet and bees knees and then it stemmed from there.

What I did notice was that a lot of cocktails don’t cater to the noooooooooooob…  Like me.  They expect every house to be full to the gunnels with mixers and liqueurs and all that fancy stuff…  I don’t have that…  I’m also not made of money with endless storage space!

Further to this I’m mental for Christmas…  So what I wanted to do was bring to you, the internet, some easy to make cocktails that, for the most part, are using things you don’t need to spend a fortune one and actually might have in the house!…  And also don;t require any skill at all other than the ability to read…  You’re welcome.

Some of these might seem a bit odd…  But give them a chance cos they’re nice…  I enjoyed them…  They’re also exactly what this post is aiming for – easy and inexpensive – so hopefully you try them and enjoy them.

I’ve tried to include a mixture of hot and cold drinks, decadent and…  less decadent, boozey and juicy…  Hopefully something for everyone will have been included.

So I guess all that remains is to get started…

Day 1 – Gin Milk Punch

This is a cocktail I only recently found out was a thing.  The Sipsmith cocktail book features it and I thought it would be terrible but curiosity got the better of me so I made it.  It’s really quite lovely.

I serve it in an old fashioned glass but you do you and serve it how you like.

Also I used the Tarquins Cornish Christmas Gin but you can use whatever gin you feel appropriate.  I chose this because nutmeg is one of the botanicals and its like a step into Christmas, the admission’s free….  Except for the cost of the ingredients.

  • 50ml gin
  • 100ml full fat milk
  • 25ml sugar syrup

Add ice and all the ingredients to your glass of choice;
Transfer to a Boston shaker;
Shake…  Obviously;
Pour everything back into the glass;
Garnish with nutmeg.

Lovely.

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Day 2 – Pothecary Cinnamon Twist Gin & Chamomile Tea [Gifted]

Intro to this drink…  I hate tea…  There, I said it.  I’m coffee till I die.  However, when you get sent a lovely bottle of gin and the guy that makes it (hello Martin!!) tells you that his recommended serve involves chamomile tea then you better bet your arse I’ll be popping the kettle on and doing what I’m told.

So this is the latest release from the gents that brought you the wonderful Trinity Gin – a back to basics gin that is one of my gin highlights of 2019 (blog on my highlights coming between Christmas and New Year).

“shut up and give us the recipe” – you

Jeez…. Ok…  One more thing though…  I’ve reviewed the gin…  Find the link to the review here —> Review

  • Chamomile Tea – a cup of
  • 30ml Pothecary Cinnamon Twist Winter 2019 Gin
  • Demerara Sugar – to taste

This one is super easy…

Make the tea;
Add the gin;
Add the sugar till it tastes AMAZING.

That’s it.

Day 3 – Makar Mulberry Aged Gin and Irn Bru Spiced Ginger Crimbo Juice

I think it’s important to open up this one up with a suggestion to be open minded…  It’s also important to remind you that the intention here is to put together festive themed drinks that are tasty, inexpensive and easy to make…  Whats easier than putting ice, gin and Irn-Bru into a glass and drinking it?

Nothing…  That’s what.

Now the reason I chose this is because I wanted to do something that was next level simple that required no tet making, no mulling, no shaking…  No skill.  

The reason for this SPECIFIC combo is I love Makar Mulberry and had to include it here somewhere.  I think oftentimes the aged gins are overlooked by gin fans as they veer off a bit too far over onto the “whisky” territory.  I find this one is juuuuuuuuuuust right. 

Normally I enjoy this in a negroni or with ginger ale…  When I saw the Irn-Bru festive special was a ginger flavoured one I figured I’d get a bottle and try it with the Makar and see how it fares…  Truth is I really liked it. There’s a pleasant sweetness with that underlying spicey woodiness…  

Please don’t write this one off without trying it.

I used a high-ball glass…

  • 20-30ml Makar Mulberry Aged Gin
  • 100ml Irn-Bru Spiced Ginger Crimbo Juice
  • Ice

It’s fairly self explanatory to be honest…

Add the ice to the glass;
Add the gin;
Top up with the Irn-Bru;
Give it a teeny mix;
Drink

Garnish this with a twist of orange peel…  Lovely.

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Day 4 – Mulled Sipsmith Sloe Gin

Last year I had wanted to mull gin…  All through the festive period I wanted to do it but never did…  This drink was literally a dream come true… I think it’sa cracking alternative to mulled wine.  It’s warm, it’s a little fruity and it has that festive feel from the spices… It’s spectacular.

What I will say is that I took this recipe (more or less) from the Sipsmith cocktail book – Sip.  I added more apple juice for the very simple reason… With the 100ml suggested it didn’t feel like a particularly long drink…  You still catch the gin and get the effect from the spices… It’s a personal preference I suppose so play about with it and see what you think.

  • 50ml Sloe Gin (I used Sipsmith)
  • 150ml Cloud Apple Juice
  • 1 Sachet of Mulling Spices

Add the apple juice and spice pack to a pot;
Simmer for about 10 minutes;
Add the gin;
Serve

Garnish-wise I used an orange slice.

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Day 5 – Negroni Prosecco Cocktail – Hrafn Winter [Gifted]

First off this gin was gifted to me by the gents at Hrafn…  Formalities concluded this is mighty fine and awfully swanky drink.

This drink was suggested by Sipping and Styling – Pam Lorimer (you can catch her social media right here —> Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blog…  You should 100% check her out as her cocktails are UNREAL!)

Essentially this is a negroni with some prosecco…  This will be an awesome alternative to a Bucks Fizz on Christmas morning…  If you’re so inclined!

  • 25ml gin (I used the new Hrafn Winter)
  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml Vermouth (I used Cocchi)
  • 50ml Orange Juice
  • 100-150ml Prosecco

This is super easy…  

Add your gin, Campari, vermouth and OJ to a glass (I used a large wine glass);
Carefully add the prosecco;
Give it a super gentle little stir;
Serve.

I garnished it with a slightly overdone, dehydrated orange slice!

Note:  A full review of the gin is in the works!

 

Day 6 – Mulled Esker Honey Spiced

If you haven’t tried Esker Honey Spiced then you’re seriously missing out.  Its amazing and goes incredibly well in a little cocktail like this…

When I started thinking about non-sloe gins to mull this was the first one I considered…  I then made a sample batch and loved it. Some of the cocktails on this list aren’t perfect…  This one is… To me.

Please try this.

  • 30-50ml Esker Honey Spiced
  • 100-150ml Cloudy Apple Juice
  • 1-2 Packets Mulling Spices
  • Squirt of Honey

Heat the apple juice and mulling spices in a pot;
Add the gin;
Add honey to taste;
Serve

I garished this wee dood with a cinnamon stick.

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Day 7 – Eden Mill Peppermint Bark Hot Chocolate

Peppermint bark is a blessing from our pals across the pond.  Basically, for those that don’t know, it’s usually something white chocolatey and some kind of candy cane/pepperminty guy combo…  It’s really quite tasty.

So I decided to try and replicate that in, what is quite probably the most calorific drink you’ll ever encounter!

  • 50ml Eden Mill Candy Cane Christmas Gin
  • 250ml Milk
  • 60-80g White Chocolate (this is a lot.  Add in bits to suit your personal taste)

Heat the milk and chocolate in a pan;
Melt the chocolate;
Add gin;
Serve.

There’s always the option to garnish with some crushed candy canes…  It’s called “having a theme”.

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Day 8 –  It’s Not Terry’s Cocktail – Sipsmith Orange and Cacao

My sister is absolutely nuts for a White Russian just now.  I’d never had one. I looked it up to see what she was making such a fuss over and thought to myself – “that actually sounds decent”.

I then realised it could be altered to use gin and I wanted to try and make a chocolate orange one…  So I did.

I’ll be totally honest with you and say this one isn’t quite there yet…  It’s better than it was when I first pulled it out my brain… And it is really nice…  But it still needs work.

  • 30ml Sipsmith Orange and Cacao Gin
  • 10ml Chocolate Creme Liqueur
  • 5ml Blue Curacao (its the only orangey liqueur I had!)
  • 30ml Cream

Add the gin, chocolate creme and Curacao to a glass with ice;
Pour the cream in over a spoon;
Using a bar spoon or a little straw give the liquid a spin once or twice slowly round the glass;
Serve.

I garnished this with some grated chocolate orange…  Obviously!

Now… This one bothered me as it definitely wasn’t quite right…  It was nice but not quite right so I’ve been having a think about it and have now revised it to the following:

  • 30ml Gin (still Sipsmith Orange and Cacao)
  • 6ml Chocolate Creme Liqueur
  • 20g Orange Marmalade
  • 30ml Double Cream

Add the gin, chocolate liqueur and marmalade to a shaker with some ice;
Shake till the marmalade mixes in;
Strain into a tumbler with some ice;
Pour the cream off a spoon as evenly as possible over the top;
Using your bar spoon/straw lightly stir the drink (hug the wall of the glass with the spoon/straw when you do) this gives it a slightly “streaked” effect with the cream;
Serve

Agai15 you can garnish this guy with grated chocolate orange.


Day 9 – Mulled Misty Isle

I think this one was fairly obviously really wasn’t it?  The actual botanicals are “soaked in the rich, Italian Amarone red wine prior to distilling”…  I absolutely HAD to mull this…  However, I wanted to make it a wee touch different from the two other mulled gins I’ve fired in here so you didn’t just think I was being lazy*.

  • 30-50ml Gin (I used the Misty Isle Mulled Gin)
  • 150ml Orange Juice
  • 1-2 Packets Mulling Spices

Add orange juice and mulling spices to a pan;
Heat until sufficiently mulled- roughly 10 minutes;
Remove spice packets;
Add gin;
Serve. 

I garnished this with an orange slice AND cinnamon! YEAH CHRISTMAS!

Day 10 – Matchmade GinNog

Heading back across the pond to our American pals…  They love a bit of the egg nog, don’t they? When I looked at it it looked awful similar to our Gin Milk Punch…  Didn’t want to replicate so I considered a British twist on the whole thing… Now when I think of Christmas sweets the first thing I think of (other than chocolate orange) is the mint Matchmakers…  So, mint chocolate… So here you go lads… My mint chocolate egg nog with gin….

  • 50ml Gin (I used Pentland Hills)
  • 50ml Double Cream
  • 15ml Chocolate Creme Liqueur
  • Minty Sugar Syrup*
  • Whole Egg

Chuck the whole gosh darn lot into a shaker with some ice;
Shake…  Vigorously;
Serve.

I garnished with some grated chocolate and mint leaves…  Could probably throw a Matchmaker in there too… Probably be nice.

*to make the minty sugar syrup I pretty much took sugar syrup and added mint leaves and left them overnight… Easy.


Day 11 – Jack Frost Cocktail

I found this cocktail by absolute chance and its by someone called The Blond Cook (recipe link here).

I enjoyed the winter aesthetic of the drink, the ease of making it but also the fact that it is very clearly summer flavours…  That “confusion” really appealed to me and meant I had something really different in here… But still keeping it all very very simple.

To make about 6 servings (I reduced the recipe down for a single glass as I was on my lonesome and essentially quartered it…  I had a BIG glass though to be fair!)

  • Ice
  • 1 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • ½ Cup Blue Curacao
  • ½ Cup Gin (I used the Brentingby x Gin To My Tonic Collab Gin)
  • ½ Cup Coconut Milk
  • Wee bit of Honey
  • Wee bit of Coconut

Add all the ingredients to a blender;
Use the honey to coat the rim of your glass(es);
Apply the coconut to the rims;
Blend to the desired consistency;
Serve in the coconut rimmed glasses.

Admittedly this looks a lot swankier than anything I’ve come up with….  It is nice though!

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Click here for the original recipe from the Blond Chef —> Recipe

 

Day 12 – Christmas Negroni (Hot and Cold)

Last year I saw Matt Burton (aka The Gin Shelf) posting about his Christmas Gin and I decided I wanted a bit of that…  So this year I made myself some and absolutely had to include it (recipe for the gin here) in the 12 Gins of Christmas.

And, as an ode to my friend Matt, I put it into a negroni.

The bitterness of the Campari is wonderfully complemented by the sweetness of this gin…  Its a wonderful negroni with a festive twist… It’s like someone put a Muppets Christmas Carol into a glass (we all know it’s one of the ultimate Festive movies…  After It’s A Wonderful Life… Obviously).

The negroni, for those unfamiliar, is very very simple to put together…

  • 25ml Gin (In this case I have used the Christmas Gin)
  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml Vermouth

Add all the ingredients to a glass with ice;
Stir until chilled;
Enjoy

I tend to garnish my negroni with an orange slice either fresh or dehydrated…  With this one you could also chuck in some cinnamon if you wanted to go totally mental.

 

I also wanted to bring something a little unusual to the negroni table and add another twist on it…  By heating it.

  • 25ml Gin
  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml Vermouth
  • 50-100ml Orange Juice

Add the orange juice to a microwaveable cup and stick it in to warm it up – roughly 90 seconds;
Add the remaining ingredients and enjoy!!

Click here to go to Matt’s recipe for the gin itself to try it for yourself —> Recipe


If you try any of my concoctions I’d love to hear what you think…  I really thought about what types of drinks I wanted to do and what gins would be good options.  Please know that you can use any gin for any of these drinks (the exception probably being the Pothecary Tea cocktail)…  But I wanted to give you a specific gin option that I though would really suit the drink and hopefully raise it up and hit you about the face with festive deliciousness.

I genuinely would love to know if you’ve tried any of the drinks I’ve listed…  Some are of my own devise and others are either suggestions from those far better informed than I or, in the case of the Jack Frost one, just something I came across and wanted to taste and share with you lovely lot.

I sincerely hope you liked anything you tried and if there’s feedback to make them better then I’d love your pointers…  As I think I’ve mentioned a few times I’m really new to cocktails so have a lot to learn and I’m always open to being educated!

 

Go get following my social media in order to maintain some sparkle all through the year and not just at Christmas… 

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

 

I wish you all the very best for Christmas and New Year and hope you hang about because I have my top gins of 2019 coming your way in the next week or so!!!

 

Cheers
Nic x

 

Taking inspiration from the Marvel movies this is the secret hidden bit at the end of the blog…  Want more Christmas do ya?? Greedy! That’s ok though cos your old pal Nic will sort you out with the easiest cocktail to make thats ever graced the planet!

Now…  This is actually really lovely and is literally Christmas in a cup.  The reason I haven’t included it in the 12 Gins Of Christmas and have added it as a bonus is because its a gin liqueur…  DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE ME!

Last Christmas I picked up a Gingerbread Gin Liqueur for the ladies night I was having as I wanted something most people would enjoy (gin fans or not) so this was one of the items I picked up.

The thing thats good about the one I got was that it literally tastes of gingerbread…  It’s quite extraordinary… The one I got was the Asda sparkly one… Firstly for the reason outlined above…  Secondly when I picked it up there wasn’t anywhere else near me that did a non-glittery one.. And thirdly Shut up.

It’s very simple…

50ml Gingerbread Gin Liqueur
100ml Hot Water

Put both in a cup or other drinking receptacle that can take hot drinks;
Mix;
Serve

Anyway I’m of to do Christmas now…  See you all soon

Nic xxx

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