We all enjoy a festive tipple at Christmas, even the non-alcoholic kind, but this time of year is all about going the extra mile. 'Tis the season for indulgence, which is why it's not only your drink itself that should go above and beyond normality, but the way it's presented.
Whether you're hosting a Christmas party with all your friends or just enjoying a relaxed yuletide with your nearest and dearest, if you want to impress your guests this season there are some viral festive cocktails you'll want to try - and believe us when we say, they're real showstoppers.
To up your home bar game this Christmas, we've asked some mixologists and cocktail aficionados to talk us through how to master these extravagant aperitifs at home. From choosing the perfect glass to customizing your garnish, here's what you need to know.
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What's better than a crisp, cold vodka tonic? One served in a glass that looks like a snow globe, of course. It's a small gesture, but this holiday hosting tip makes all the difference when it comes to serving the drinks. The genius idea comes courtesy of foodie blogger Meg Quinn (@ainttooproudtomeg) who shares her wonderful food and drink concoctions on her Instagram, and it's been a real hit across social media.
To start, grab a freezer-safe tumbler-style drinking glass and add about an inch of water to the bottom. 'It is of utmost importance to not use any delicate glass as it will break when the liquid expands when frozen,' says Adhel Martínez, drinks expert and brand ambassador at Las Californias Gin. 'I highly recommend stemless wine glasses that are sturdy, and bonus points for plastic drinkware!'
Next, you'll need a sprig of rosemary. Choose a nice, full cutting with a bushy shape as this will act as the Christmas tree inside your glass. Turn this upside down and place it in the water in the middle of the glass. This part can be tricky, so Meg recommends tying the rosemary with a string and taping it up the sides of your glass if you're struggling to keep it upright.
All that's left to do is freeze your glasses inside your freezer. You'll want to place them on a tray of some kind so that they don't stick to your freezer shelf, and make sure they're level so that your rosemary doesn't topple over. 'I recommend freezing the glasses ahead of time,' notes Adhel. 'You can even get creative and use fruit infused water or tea to add an extra layer of flavor!' As he reminds us, ensure you freeze your glasses the day before you plan to host and this off your Christmas checklist in plenty of time.
Once frozen, you'll be left with a miniature frozen landscape inside your glass which now makes the perfect foundation for your gin and tonic or vodka soda, or simply a sparkling water which makes such a magical touch at your Christmas party. 'Anytime a host goes the extra mile to create an experience is impressive, the magic is in the little details,' notes Adhel. 'Creating the illusion of a festive Snow Globe is a great example of how you can elevate an experience with a little bit of creativity.'
If you fancy trying this presentation trick with a drink that looks and tastes a little more festive, Paul Feinstein - author of the new book Italy Cocktails (available on Amazon) - suggests a dry Negroni Sbagliato. 'Use one ounce of Luxardo Bianco Bitters, one ounce of Prosecco, and one ounce of Carpano Dry Vermouth,' he says/ 'This drink will provide the necessary bubbles for the snow globe effect, but also give drinkers a beautiful, bittersweet cocktail to enjoy.'
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If you fancy going even further, why not add a Christmas ornament shot to your glass? Yes, you heard that right. This genius trick was shared by Maria Roberts on Instagram (@mariaroberts) and it's a simple way to jazz up your festive drinks with minimal effort. You can add it to your snow globe glass, or just use it as a separate idea when serving the next round of drinks.
All that's needed for this idea are some hollow food-grade ornaments which can you purchase from Amazon. These plastic decorations unscrew so that you can add your own cocktail measurement which can then be poured into the glass for a bit of DIY mixology at the Christmas table. 'This is the perfect type of ornament for this cocktail since it's universally recognized as a symbol of holiday festivities,' notes Adhel. 'I would pay extra attention to the sturdiness of the ornament to avoid any breakage, though.'
Maria uses a cosmopolitan mix with cranberry and rosemary garnish inside the glass, but you can customize both the cocktail and the garnish to suit your taste. To serve, simply balance the boozy ornament on the top of your prepared drinking glass and let your guests pour the mixture over ice. 'The sky is the limit when it comes to batching cocktails,' Adhel says. 'I'm particularly fond of a pomegranate martini with a little edible glitter for that extra pizzazz!'
For a slightly different take on the presentation, Paul recommends using Cosmopolitan drinking glasses so that the ornament fits within the glass itself. 'This glass has a triangular shape with a wide mouth and a narrow, yet stubby neck that is more stable than a martini glass or champagne coupe,' he says. 'It's also a very chic way to present the ornaments.'
As for the drinks themselves, he suggests trying the Rossini for something for red and festive. 'This combines four fresh muddled strawberries with four ounces of prosecco, half an ounce of lemon juice, and one teaspoon of sugar' he says. 'For a green variation, try the Improved Last Word, which mixes one ounce of Luxardo London Dry Gin with one ounce of Luxardo Liquore Sant'Antonio, one ounce of fresh lime juice, and half an ounce of Luxardo Maraschino Originale.'
These festive-themed drink ideas might be small details, but they certainly won't go unnoticed at your Christmas get-together, and attention to presentation is something people who love entertaining always do in their home. As Paul notes: 'These drinks ideas are quite simple but anyone can look like an experienced and sophisticated mixologist this season!'
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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