Thirsty Thursday (and the rest) has taken on a festive twist in London. Leighanne Bent picks out eight of the best Christmas cocktails you need to try this party season
Lead image courtesy of Bokan
1 Dirty Martini, Islington
Dirty Martini never do things by the half measure, especially around Christmas time. This year the team have added three merry mixes to their menu, and all are made with Absolut vodka. Whether you go for the Grinch’s Espresso Martini that’s made with homemade Christmas syrup or The Bellringer that’s topped off with a generous pour of bubbles, you’ll leave this place wishing they were on the menu all year round.
74 Upper Street N1 0NY; designmynight.com
2 Duck and Waffle, Bishopsgate
High enough for you to spot Santa and his sleigh, Duck and Waffle – plonked on level 40 of the Heron Tower – is renowned for its all encompassing views of London. For Christmas they’ve brought out a new 12 Drinks of Christmas menu and it’s got something for everyone. From Mulled Negronis and Festive Fizz to a creamy Milkybar Snowball that’s made with rum and distilled lemon, you won’t find a better place to admire London this December.
110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY; duckandwaffle.com
3 Bokan, Canary Wharf
If gin is your thing, you should throw on a jacket and make a dash for Bokan. This sky-level restaurant has created four winter warmer cocktails to keep you toasty this December and they’re all made with London-based gin, Sipsmith. We rate every single one but the Hot Gin & Gingerbread takes the biscuit. It’s a moreish mix of Sipsmith London dry gin, gingerbread syrup, and hot water that comes decorated with an edible gingerbread man.
40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs E14 9TP; bokan.co.uk
4 Quaglinos, Mayfair
Quaglinos released a thought-provoking menu called Science of Sustainability this year, highlighting issues such as deforestation; continuing to conjure creative cocktails, they’ve added a limited edition drink to their arsenal for the holidays. Bianco Natale! consists of Cointreau, Cacao white, yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice, egg white and chocolate bitters with a dark chocolate garnish – it’s classic, creamy and comforting.
16 Bury Street SW1Y 6AJ; designmynight.com
5 Bloomsbury Club and Bar, Bloomsbury
Bloomsbury Club and Bar is a smooth talking cocktail bar with lots of character and for the festive season they’ve teamed up with award-winning small batch Dingle Original Gin and Malt Whiskey to bring unexpected flavours of the season to life. Choose from All I want For Christmas, Baby It’s Cold Outside or The Dingle Jingle – that’s made with Dingle Gin, grapefruit juice, Kummel and homemade pine soda – for a real taste of Christmas.
16-22 Great Russell Street WC1B 3NN; designmynight.com
6 Aqua Shard, London Bridge
Aqua Shard have joined forces with Bompas & Parr to bring a huge interactive snow globe to their 31st floor restaurant for the month of December. Adorned with frosted foliage and filled with swirling specs of snow, you can win a Snowscape cocktail by catching a golden snowflake during certain parts of the day, but if you’re not lucky, you can always order this beautiful-looking drink, that’s made with Plantation 3* Rum, homemade coconut cordial and Becherovka liqueur, at the bar.
31st Floor, The Shard, 31 Saint Thomas Street SE1 9RY; designmynight.com
7 Dirty Bones, Kensington
You don’t have to spend a fortune on flight fares to get a taste of America, not with Dirty Bones around. This London restaurant is known for its NYC-inspired comfort food and for the month of December they’ve sprinkled their specials with some festive joy. Their vegan burger comes layered with hazelnut aioli and braised red cabbage marmalade, and it’s perfectly paired with their Fig Poppa that’s made with Bulleit bourbon, Pedro Ximinez sherry, cinnamon, figs, lime and Fee Brother’s plum bitters.
20 Kensington Church Street W8 4EP; designmynight.com
8 Aster, Victoria
We associate Christmas with 101 different things and curling up beside the fire is up there with the best of them. Aster have taken inspiration from those cosy nights in to create the Festive Fireside. One for the whisky lovers, this earthy cocktail is made with Laphroaig 10-year-old, Courvoisier, ginger syrup, Noilly prat and Napoleon Mandarine liqueur.
150 Victoria Street SW1E 5LB; aster-restaurant.com
For more information on Christmas cocktails in London, see DesignMyNight and follow @DesignMyNight on Facebook and Instagram