Add a few new bottles to your Christmas drinks cabinet

Think of Christmas drinks and of course you think of Champagne, Prosecco and mulled wine, but Christmas is also a time to get stuck in to some new, fun flavours and rustle up one or two more surprising cocktails for your guests.

There are so many new ingredients out there to add to your drinks cabinet staples: alongside the relentless march of new gins onto the market, Campari has come back into fashion with a vengence, alongside Spritzes which are now go-to summer drinks as much as Pimms. But these beverages are not just for days spent in the sunshine: red and pink drinks also make cocktails more festive.

For instance, a fun new vermouth turning heads is Regal Rogue, an Australian aromatic drink which uses Semillon wine blended with Shiraz and botanicals including pepperberry, wattleseed, thyme, orange, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. It’s also a beautiful colour, and goes extremely well with whisky or bourbon, gin and campari for a Negroni with a twist, or alternatively try it with sloe gin and lemon for a beautifully balanced winter cocktail.

Closer to home, Ryan Chetiyawardana of White Lyan in London, and formerly the world-renowned Bramble Bar in Edinburgh, is a recognized master when it comes to flavour combinations. Happily he has produced a line of inventive bottled cockails which are a world away from frozen magaritas in a bag.

These include his Spotless Martini, cleverly combined with olive and lemon peel distillates, a Candlelit Manhattan, a Bonfire Old Fashioned featuring a smoky lapsang souchong tea, and our favourite, the Rainy Day Spritz, which combines raspberry eau de vie, crisp vermouth and bitter rhubarb liqueur. This is such a versatile addition to your Christmas drinks cabinet: you can drink it neat, with soda, or mix it with white wine or Prosecco, or, if you prefer to add a little fruit, pink grapefruit juice and lime is makes a fantastic combination with this pretty pinky-orange liqueur.

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