Christmas is the only time of year it’s acceptable to drink cocktails every week night and live on a diet exclusively of Quality Street and things wrapped in pastry. We’re not complaining and with the wealth of festive tipples London is spoiling us with this winter, we say embrace it. From gingerbread espresso martinis to Bailey’s-infused shakes and gin-soaked drinks if you’re after something a (little) lighter, here are the best Christmas cocktails you’re sure to find in London. Looks like the Christmas tree isn’t the only thing that’s getting lit this year…
Head to the Skylight Rooftop bar for all things nice, sugar and spice this season, where you’ll find the Fentiman’s life-size Pink Gingerbread House. Decorated with icing, candy canes and a cosy interior complete with edible sweet filled walls – we wonder how often they’re going to have to replenish that – the house can fit groups of up to eight for a festive night out with a difference. Choose from a menu of festive cocktails and wait for the sugar high to set in.
Fashion and the festive season come together at London’s iconic Aqua Shard, where designer Holly Fulton has designed a unique Christmas tree. The British designer, known for her love of all things Art Deco, has taken inspiration from the playful aesthetic of legend Busby Berkeley’s musicals from the Roaring Twenties. Tuck into the limited edition white chocolate mousse with Veuve Clicquot Champagne jelly and spice wine sorbet. Ok, it’s more of a dessert but it comes in a cocktail glass. Plus, 50% of sales will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Where: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Nothing says Christmas like a prison-themed bar. Alcotraz, the bar where you pay to get locked up but can bring your own bottle of booze for the barmen to work their magic on, will be putting a seasonal twist on all tipples this festive period. We recommend a bottle of Aperol to go with your orange jumpsuit.
If you’ve yet to experience Gordon Ramsay pub, The York & Albany’s gingerbread pop-up, you are in for a treat. The hidden hut that looks like a gingerbread house straight from a fairytale will be serving up Christmas treats and festive cocktails. Favourites include a Chambord mulled wine, a Grey Goose ‘Gingerbread Espresso Martini’ and a Bombay Sapphire ‘Slim Santa’. We’ll take all three, please.
Beat the chill on London’s famous Madison terrace with a warm cup of vin brulé – that’s the Italian take on mulled wine. Cosy up beneath faux fur blankets and heaters while charming fairy lights hang over head. For a real festive treat book into one of their Little Lodges or sip Belvedere cocktails on the edge of the London skyline amongst pretty illuminated lights.
Where: Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Pauls, London, EC4M 9AF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Mansion House (0.2 miles)
Sky Garden has been given a festive makeover by Moët & Chandon, which means you can sip Champagne in a frozen garden 155 metres above London. If cocktails are more your thing, try the boozy hot chocolate, the Sweet Temptation made from Hennessy fine, Disaronno, cinnamon syrup, chocolate and shortbread and the Go Truffle Hunting made from Drambuie, Frangelico, fresh lemon, homemade honey-truffle syrup, egg white and chocolate bitters. There’ll be a whole host of festive savoury and sweet treats to soak it all up with, too.
Where: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF, UK
Nearest station: Monument (0.2 miles)
Failed to get your ski trip booked this winter? Head to Coq d’Argent’s Lodge d’Argent for après ski without even leaving the city. The winter pop-up of French alp-inspired chalets is back and this year you can tuck into alpine winter warmers (like Raclette cheese, new potatoes & dry cured ham gratin) and sip on a dedicated list of Hennessy cocktails.
Booze meets breakfast in the London Cocktail Club’s nostalgic festive drink. Bringing together a milkshake-like concoction of Bailey’s Irish Cream, vodka and Coco Pops. One for the Instagram feed if nothing else.
If you’re into your food hearty, your beats old school and your drinks heady, make your way to Dirty Bones this Christmas. They’ve added a festive section to their drinks menu which includes the likes of this ‘Vixen’ – a Christmas-spiced remix on the classic Cosmopolitan, served straight up and the Winter Negroni – a classic serve with a hint of festive spice and sass. Fun and lively, it’s the perfect place for a pre-Christmas friends get-together.
Taste Festival isn’t all about the food, there will also be a host of premium drinks brands on hand to ensure you’re just the right side of merry, including Tanqueray No. TEN Gin, Ketel One Vodka and Johnnie Walker Whisky.
There’s something for everyone so if you’re a espresso martini fan head to the Ketel One Kitchen Disco Bar, if you’re into your whisky the Highball Bar is your place and if gin is your tipple of choice, take part in the Tanqueray botanicals sensory tasting experience.
21st – 24th November
Fragrance fans will want to snap themselves beneath the huge St Pancras Christmas tree this year as it’s been created in partnership with beauty brand Lancome. And it’s been adorned with a whopping 1,500 bottles of ‘La Vie Est Belle’ perfume. To celebrate, Searcy’s bar at St Pancras (home to Europe’s longest champagne bar) have created a cocktail with tops notes recreated by William Pear Liqueur and Creme De Mure – adding sweetness – the perfume’s heart notes of Orange Blossom come through a Orange Blossom Water, which is sprayed into the drink, and directly on top to showcase the fragrant aroma from the first sip. This is all topped off with Searcys own brand of Cuvée Brut Champagne and garnished with a rose petal. We don’t know which to ‘gram first, the tree or the drink.