Summer is well and truly over and the rainy Autumn has put paid to some late sunny weekends. Furthermore, the clocks have gone back and we’re on the last run in before Christmas. Those customers who favoured Gin during the summer months will surely be looking to fill their glasses with more Wintry flavours, so is it time to re-think the stock on your back bar?
Traditionally, we would expect the golden spirits like whisky, rum and brandy to fare well during the Autumn and Winter, but recent statistics show that the Gin boom is powerful enough to see off the opposition. According to a survey by the Independent, Gin was 40% more popular during the Christmas period in 2018 than it was the previous year. We’re not talking just Christmas week here – it’s the whole 12-week winter quarter! Also, in a recent report from William Grant and Sons (owner of Hendrick's), findings suggested that gin's "versatility" has influenced growth, and that the spirit is gathering pace all the time with new flavours. The report suggests that consumer attitudes to gin have changed for the better which will finally see its market share overtake vodka in 2020.
So, it’s unlikely that the clamouring for gin will subside, with around one new distillery per week opening in the UK alone last year with each one bringing new flavours, styles and infusions to the table. Gin has proved itself to be such a flexible spirit, so how can we bring Christmassy flavours to the cocktail menu and maintain the success over the festive period?
Some of the boutique gin distilleries have gone all out in time for Christmas with some truly seasonal flavours hitting the market. Edinburgh Christmas Gin is an almost honeyed, orangey, spiced winter warmer infused with nutmeg, frankincense and myrrh to add a fragrant almost biblical aroma. Portobello Road Gin has a generous slug of juniper, lemon, bitter orange and coriander and a sweet peppery finish, achieved by the use of liquorice and nutmeg. The Sacred Spirits Company have taken high quality grain spirit and infused an 8kg Christmas pudding in it for two months, before re-distilling it to produce a transparent, slightly bonkers pudding flavoured gin.
Inspired by these seasonal gifts, we’ve put our heads together to think of a few drink combinations to get those Gingle bells ringing over the coming weeks. Trust us, if you leave one of these beauties out for Father Christmas and his crew on Christmas night, he’ll be making sure you’re first on his route next time out!
Sloe gin fizz
The winter months are frosty and chilly, so let this fizzy, warming gin treat give you a little pick up!
- 15ml Plymouth gin
- 15ml Sloe gin
- 15ml lemon
- 5ml sugar
- Champagne, prosecco or cava, to top up
- Lemon to garnish
Put all the ingredients apart from the fizzy stuff in a shaker, shake over cubed ice for a good 10 seconds, then strain into a flute. Top with fizz, garnish with lemon and serve.
Bursting with cranberry flavour, this one will warm you up and toast Christmas all in one.
For Cranberry Syrup:
- 100g sugar
- 250ml water
- 150g cranberries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 16 cranberries
- 2cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
- 12.5ml cranberry syrup
- 1 dash cranberry bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 50ml ounces Plymouth Gin
- 12.5ml Amaro
- 3 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- Splash Tonic Water
- 3 whole cranberries and lime twist to garnish
For the syrup:
Combine sugar, water, cranberries, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until sugar dissolves and cranberries soften and pop. Mash cranberries slightly and cool. Strain keep sealed in the fridge.
For the cocktail:
Shake cranberries, ginger, and cranberry syrup in the bottom of a shaker until cranberries have popped. Fill shaker with ice. Add bitters, gin, amaro, and lime. Shake well until chilled. Strain into cocktail glass, top with splash of tonic, whole cranberries, and lime twist.
Elegant and fresh, this is for those who like their Christmas spices and fruits.
- 1 slice of orange, about 1cm thick
- 1 slice of lemon, about 2 cm thick
- 12 mint leaves
- 12.5ml Gin
- 12.5ml Cointreau
- Chilled sparkling wine
Sake citrus slices, mint, gin, and Cointreau. Shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a flute then top up with chilled fizz. Garnish with mint leaves.
Hanky Panky matches the distinctive character of Fernet Branca with gin and sweet vermouth to create a rich blend of flavours in this simple classic.
- 25ml Gin
- 25ml sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Fernet Branca
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of orange peel over the drink and use as garnish.