Mulled wine is a Christmas classic, but if you’re after something sharper, London’s bars and restaurants are getting creative with new festive cocktails. The Resident checks out some of London’s best Christmas cocktails
Lead image: Lodge d’Argent
1 Duck and Waffle
London’s favourite 24-hour drinking and eating venue has just thrown out 12 new festive cocktails for late-night party goers. Head up to the 38th floor and indulge in some of London’s best bevs, created by the King of Cocktails himself, Rich Woods. Highlights from the special holiday drink menu include the Winter Spiced Champagne Cocktail with Bombay Sapphire gin and Champagne, which features a mince pie liqueur that excites the senses and warms the cockles as well as the Panettone Flip with cognac, walnuts, spices, panettone infusion and edible gold dust just to make it extra luxurious. These festive cocktails will keep you at Duck and Waffle all night long as you slowly make your way through the entire list!
38th Floor, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY; duckandwaffle.com
2 The Trading House
The Trading house is one of the City’s best-kept secrets. Their iconic venue is full of peculiar eccentricities and an impressive offering of signature cocktails. So what’s on the menu that feeds our festive appetite? Well there’s a choice between the Hot Sipsmith which is a combination Sipsmith Gin, Britvic tonic syrup, Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters, boiling water, garnished with pink grapefruit or the Hot Toddy which mixes Monkey Shoulder, Canton breakfast tea, honey, boiling water, garnished with a lemon wheel and a cinnamon stick…yum!
89-91 Gresham Street EC2V 7NQ; thetradinghouse.com
3 Forest Restaurant & Bar at Selfridges
For Christmas, the Forest Restaurant and Bar is transformed into a glittering party, set in an alpine forest. DJ’s will bring the party to life Thursday through to Sunday, ensuring guests are treated to the latest dance floor fillers. The outdoor Terrace Bar, with its own separate entrance, features cosy festive huts, perfect for sharing festive drinks. The drinks list includes a bespoke sharing cocktail menu, Magnums of Skinny Prosecco, Hot cider cocktails, Gluhwein, Forest’s famous Choctails and mulled red wine.
Selfridges Roof Top, 400 Oxford Street W1A 1AB; forest-restaurant.co.uk
4 100 Wardour St
If you’re in the mood for a stylish, yet relaxed cocktail destination, the top Soho venue, 100 Wardour St is the perfect place. With a selection of exclusive cocktails including the Nicholas Nightcap, The Grinch Who Stole The Fizz and a classic Hot House Mulled Wine to help celebrate the season, it’s simply irresistible!
100 Wardour Street, Soho W1F 0TN; 100wardourst.com
5 Lodge d’Argent
Lodge d’Argent returns to the rooftops of City restaurant Coq d’Argent, creating a magical winter wonderland inspired by the Little Red Riding Hood story. Rustic wooden walls, fur blankets, and a chic white, red and gold scheme will evoke the classic French fairy tale, providing the perfect festive backdrop for guests to enjoy Angel De Sousa’s specially curated list of winter warmer cocktails in collaboration with Hennessy Cognac.
1 Poultry EC2R 8EJ; coqdargent.co.uk
6 Street Feast’s Dinerama
Follow the twinkling Dinerama lights to Street Feast’s Shoreditch East Pole; start upstairs at The Zephyr Lounge and try the Winter Cup with cognac, triple sec, vermouth, lemon and ginger ale. Cross the bridge to their cosy alpine lodge, Dick’s Magic T-Bar, for roaring fires, frozen toffee vodka shots and mountain views, then settle in a snug corner and sip on a sweet and delicious Hot Wine. Finish your festive drinking downstairs by grabbing a Boozy Hot Chocolate from Pioneer Bar with cocoa, hot milk, mango vodka and cayenne pepper – Yule be glad you did. Dinerama is open every Thu-Sat from 5pm till late. Entry is free before 7pm, £3 after.
19 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch EC2A 3EJ; streetfeast.com/dinerama
Overlooking St Paul’s, Madison brings bundles of style, fun and a slice of modern Manhattan to London, all complemented by the views of the City skyline. Madison’s Winter Warmer menu completes the festive offering with an Apple Pie Martini or the Spiced Chocolate Cocktail to warm yourselves as you enjoy the popular winter terrace.
Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Paul’s EC4M 9AF; madisonlondon.net
8 Holborn Dining Room
A festive twist on a traditional sour, Holborn Dining Room’s Christmas Carol is made with Old Tom gin and fruity Bordeaux that adds rich, aromatic and highly seasonal flavours to this winter cocktail. The Christmas Carol comes served in a Champagne glass for added festive flair. Dutch Star is their seasonal spin on the classic British gin and tonic, with a little added Dutch attitude!
Holborn Dining Room, 252 High Holborn WC1V 7EN; holborndiningroom.com
9 Aqua Shard
Aqua shard has developed a special dessert and cocktail both with a charitable twist – 50% of the proceeds will go to Fauna & Flora International – that will be be served throughout the festive season. Additionally, an optional £1 added to every bill throughout November, December and January will be donated directly to Fauna & Flora International. Reminiscent of a festive mulled wine, an exclusive cocktail by Bar Manager Luca Missaglia blends white wine, pine, apple, bergamot with herbs and spices to make a liqueur then mixed with rum, all topped off with a pine cone and berries.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London Bridge SE1 9RY; aquashard.co.uk
The renowned New York Nordic restaurant, Aquavit, has just opened with a new, more relaxed, all-day dining concept. To celebrate the festive season, the team at Aquavit London have developed a list of Nordic cocktails, perfect for the winter months. From the menu, the Nordic Bramble incorporates gin with lemon, cloudberry liqueur and pomegranate syrup; the Laponia Old Fashioned sees pumpkin infused bourbon mixed with birch syrup and gingerbread; and the Bergen Bitter mixes orange and cinnamon aquavit with vermouth and chocolate bitters.
St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street SW1Y 4QQ; aquavitrestaurants.com
11 Dirty Bones
This Christmas, Dirty Bones are serving up the Mince Pie Bramble, which is the perfect cocktail to kick-start any Christmas celebration, and is served alongside a range of festive specials, such as Mac Baubles (Dirty Bones Mac & Cheese Balls with a sweet chilli cranberry sauce); Crispy Fried Chicken Dinner (with cranberry and caramelised red onion chutney, candied bacon and Christmas gravy); and Smashed Mince Pie (with white chocolate gelato and coconut snow).
Kensington, Carnaby & Shoreditch; dirty-bones.com
12 Sartoria’s Cortina d’Ampezzo terrace
Exclusively for the holiday season, Savile Row’s Sartoria has partnered with Campari to create a stunning winter terrace inspired by Italy’s premier ski resort, Cortina d’Ampezzo. The team at Sartoria’s beautiful Libare Bar have created a selection of seasonal cocktails including the Italian Affair which mixes Frangelico liqueur with Bacardi, coconut, lime and ginger; the Winter Daiquiri which is a quirky take on the classic, featuring Appleton Estate Rare Blend, cinnamon, apple, lime and vanilla syrup; and a selection of negronis, including the unusual Japanese Negroni which blends Campari with plum sake, lemon and sugar.
20 Savile Row, Mayfair W1S 3PR; sartoria-restaurant.co.uk
Orrery has teamed up with Hennessy to create a cosy Courchevel-inspired winter terrace, where guests can sample all-new hot cocktails, mince pies, and a specially created cognac cake dessert. Set against twinkling fairly lights, festive winter warmers include Hennessey Chocolate Delight (spiked hot chocolate) and Orrery XO (a concoction of Hennessy XO, angostura bitters, sugar cube, Moet Champagne and a lemon twist garnish).
55 Marylebone High Street W1U 5RB; orrery-restaurant.co.uk
14 The Distillery
Bankside’s gin and cocktail bar, The Distillery, are offering guests a Winter Spritz cocktail which has been designed by the bar’s mixologists, using their own homemade mulled wine – a concoction of red wine, pressed cloudy apple juice, freshly squeezed orange juice and seasonal spices – before topping up the glass with prosecco for a sparkling twist.
2-8 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark SE1 0UG; thedistillerybankside.co.uk
Skylon will be serving three ‘Festive Tails’ paired with equally festive appetizers. Available from 1-23 December and priced at £16, this Christmassy offering includes Festive Kiss paired with minced pie (a blend of Cognac Martell, Ratafia, cinnamon syrup and pear purée) and Treasure Island paired with pigs in blankets (Appleton rum, prucia liqueur, apple juice, angostura bitters, fresh lemongrass and caster sugar).
Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank SE1 8XX; skylon-restaurant.co.uk
16 Arabica Bar & Kitchen
In the heart of Borough Market, Arabica Bar & Kitchen are celebrating the holidays with a wonderful assortment of Levantine-inspired festive cocktails. Must try’s include Beirut Port (a fantastic concoction of Ruby Port, Cynar, lemon, maple syrup and cardamon bitters) and Bitter Trouth (an exquisite mixture of Cocchi Amaro, Campari, pimento, grapefruit, walnut bitters and raspberries).
3 Rochester Walk, Borough Market SE1 9AF; arabicabarandkitchen.com
17 German Gymnasium
German Gymnasium have transformed its terrace into a German Winter Market, in partnership with Lufthansa airline. As part of the offering, guests can warm up with a range of Christmassy cocktails, including Mulled Convair 340, which mixes red wine and dark rum with grenadine, oranges, lemons and an assortment of Christmassy spices and as a nod to the German airline, the First Classoffers a warming blend of rum and homemade falernum, with ginger soda and lime. Complete with winter market huts, fairy lights and snow, the Winter Market terrace at German Gymnasium is the perfect place to warm up this winter.
King’s Boulevard, Kings Cross N1C 4BU; germangymnasium.com
18 Butlers Wharf Chop House
As part of D&D London’s ‘Fairytales in the City’, Butlers Wharf Chop House are offering guests a festive bar snack and cocktail pairing. Until 1st January, guests can enjoy Three Little Pigs, a selection of festive pigs in blankets, whilst sipping on The Big Bad Wolf – a concoction sure to light a fire in the belly with Hennessy Fine, Chambord, Six Grapes Port, red wine and a dash of Angostura bitters.
36e Shad Thames, Southwark SE1 2YE; chophouse-restaurant.co.uk
19 Trattoria di Pococello at Cantina del Ponte
This year, Cantina del Ponte presents Trattoria di Pococello, a winter pop-up with Soho-made limocello, Pococello. Guests can snuggle up in the warmth of the restaurant or embrace the cold out on the terrace and savour three aromatic winter cocktails. Try Rolling in the groves (Pococello, William’s Dry GB gin, Belsazar Rosé Vermouth and a kick of Fernet Branco); Across the Adriatic (Pococello, Williams GB Gin and Amaro Montenegro) or the novel By the fireside (a hot serve of Pococello, Chase Marmalade Vodka, lemon juice and Cantina’s homemade orange marmalade). Who knew mulled limoncello was a thing?
36c Shad Thames, Southwark SE1 2YE; cantinadelponte.co.uk
Theo Randall at the InterContinental will be serving up an assortment of Italian-inspired winter cocktails. For each special, Theo has worked closely with the bar team to create seasonal Italian mixers, such as home-made roasted chestnut infused gin used in the Novembre cocktail. Other festive specials include the Christmas Dilemma (Antica Formula Carpano, Liquore Strega, Havana Club 7 year old rum and Chinotto Antica Distilleria Quaglia); and Holiday Postcards (Grappa di Nosiola and homemade Rosemary-coconut syrup).
InterContinental London Park Lane, 1 Hamilton Place, Mayfair W1J 7QY; theorandall.com
21 Il Bar, Bulgari Hotel
The first of the winter cocktails offered at Bulgari Hotel’s Il Bar is the Taste of Winter. This combines a rich blend of Rye Whisk, Nespolino, Angostura Bitters, Sake and Dom Benedictine, and comes garnished with dried orange slices and a burning cinnamon stick. The second festive tipple is the Devil’s Breathe cocktail is a sweet & spicy combination of Tequila, Amaretto, Blood Orange, Lime and comes with a theatrical smoking garnish.
Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge SW7 1DW; bulgarihotels.com
Finally, Buddha-Bar’s festive cocktail Bubble Wap contains strawberry & raspberry puree, rose liquor, elderflower liquor, a touch of Russian Standard vodka, topped with Champagne! Buddha Bar Restaurant offers a unique Asian inspired environment and dining experience in the heart of London’s famously decadent district.
145 Knightsbridge SW1X 7PA; buddhabarlondon.com
24 Bluebird Courtyard and Brora Cashmere’s Winter Pop-up
It’s officially Christmas in Chelsea as the famed Bluebird Courtyard has re-opened for the season! This year sees guests whisked into a merry, fairy-tale world worthy of any SW3 socialite; think twinkling fairy lights, a wealth of beautiful baubles, delicious cocktails and snug blankets courtesy of one of Britain’s most luxurious cashmere brands, Brora. Stay toasty with Bluebird’s Christmas cocktails including Hot Espresso Martini and Pimm’s Winter made with premium brand Belvedere Red Vodka, whilst the exclusive Brora Warmer cocktail has been specially designed for fashion fans, blended with Tanqueray No 10 gin, Denham Estate apple juice, fresh mint, cherry liqueur and aromatic bitters topped with sparkling wine.
350 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5UU; bluebird-restaurant.co.uk
Quaglino’s is an iconic restaurant hidden within the historic and stylish area of St James’. Their swanky Art Deco Bar features a limited edition Christmas cocktail, Odin, filled with Baron de Sigognac Whiskey, and Chandon Champagne, alongside an exclusive and delicious festive food menu created by Head Chef James Hulme.
16 Bury Street, St James’s SW1Y 6AJ; quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk
Make your own hot buttered gin
When it comes to comforting winter cocktails, this hot buttered gin drink is perfect for party season. It was created by Portobello Road Gin’s Master Blender Jake Burger, who says: ‘My top tip for hassle-free entertaining over the festive season is to pre-prepare a punch the day before guests arrive so you can enjoy the moment too,’ says Burger. ‘This delicious alternative to mulled wine can be mixed in advance and simply warmed up in a pan as and when required, before serving in your favourite glasses. The addition of juniper berries to the drink compliments the flavours of the perfectly.’ Find the recipe here