If, like me, you’ll be indulging in a beverage or two this Christmas, Top 10 Films guide to some of our favourite drinks for that perfect movie night in might help.
The holidays can be hectic. But a movie night in with a little refreshment can relax the mind and the body. Here’s our recommendations for a tipple to enjoy a movie with this Christmas.
A tipple and a Christmas decoration – Pickering’s Gin Baubles
These are so much fun. And they taste great with tonic (and a slice of lemon and lime)!
Pickering’s, the Edinburgh distillery and purveyors of Christmas cheer, has crafted over a million gin-filled baubles. Gin fans across the country can now deck their trees with baubles of merry, marking the festive season with a fun twist – mixing up the traditions of gold, red and tinsel with a burst of gin-filled fun.
The original gin baubles are now ripe and ready for customers to bring the novelty back at Christmas – move over Christmas jumpers and sandwiches – Pickering’s Gin Baubles are the novelty tradition of Christmastime. The team of elves at the Edinburgh distillery have been working around the clock for the third year running to meet demand – with a bumper crop making their way to the USA and even Australia and New Zealand.
Available in a rainbow of colours, the gin-filled baubles come in pink, blue, purple, yellow, red and green with a rose gold screw lid and a silk red ribbon, sure to add a splash of Christmas joy to trees and households across the country.
First produced as a fun offering at a Christmas fair in 2014, the first proper production run in 2015 sold out in just a few days. The following year, Pickering’s Gin Baubles made headlines after selling out in just 82 seconds. The elves produced almost a million baubles last year to meet demand and the 2018 crop the biggest ever with over 1.2 million produced.
“We’ve always had a ‘make it yourself’ attitude to Pickering’s,” said Matthew Gammell, co-founder of Pickering’s Gin. “From setting up our distillery in the Edinburgh Vet School in 2013, to filling 20 thousand Pickering’s Gin Baubles a day on-site in 2017, everything we do is in the name of bringing our own brand of botanical engineering with a wink and a smile to fans of the spirit.
“As we go into our third year of selling our gin baubles, we’re thrilled to bring the Original and Best Gin Baubles to the UK and beyond.”
He adds, “We are constantly bowled over by the popularity of our gin baubles. Back in 2014, we sold a hundred as a bit of fun for our local Christmas fair and now we are sending boatloads across the Pond and even to Australia and New Zealand.
“By putting gin into a Christmas decoration, I think we really tapped into that fun, festive side of Christmas – they make people smile when they receive them and you can even have a party when you’re taking the tree down.”
Pickering’s Gin Baubles are available from Pickering’s, Selfridges, John Lewis, 31dover.com and over 200+ retailers across the country. The Gin Baubles are retailed in a gift pack containing six differently coloured plastic baubles, each containing 50ml of Pickering’s Gin (RRP: £30.00).
Agreeably British Gin
A new favourite – Pinkster and Tonic! For a refreshingly different G&T, garnish with a few raspberries and a sprig of mint.
A new era for Gin with Berkeley Square
What elevates Berkeley Square Gin above its competitors and lead the way in the luxury gin category is the way in which it is made. The meticulous master distiller first triple distils the base spirit using a small copper still before using the bouquet garni technique, taking the four hero ingredients – kaffir lime leaves, lavender, sage and basil – and delicately hand-wrapping them in a muslin cloth, before steeping the clothed parcel in the base spirit for 48 hours to infuse and impart the herbal flavours and essential oils. The blend of triple distillation and the distinctive infusion process results in a wonderfully delicate and smooth taste that can be enjoyed even sipped neat.
It makes a perfect gift for gin lovers because it tastes great and because it’s presented in an elegant bottle that’s like a keepsake in and of itself. Berkeley Square Gin evokes the timeless style and elegance associated with London’s most affluent area, Mayfair, through its design, craftsmanship and handmade detailing. The exquisite bottle is shaped like a glass decanter with a silver engraved stopper that has the mechanics to ensure it is always in union with the neck collar, allowing the product to stand proud in the most exclusive of bars.
The bottle’s most prominent feature is the iconic lion head knocker that can also be seen adorned on the majestic doors that surround Berkeley Square. Each lion head embellishment is hand polished and placed on each bottle as the ultimate finishing touch, channelling the craftsmanship and care that goes into making this luxurious quintessential British Gin.
Berkeley Square Gin appeals to those with a taste for the finest quality. It is best is best served on the rocks with a basil leaf or as a classic gin martini, letting the natural botanical flavours speak for themselves and allowing the smoothness and complexity of this refined, luxurious spirit to enthral those lucky enough to try it.
That’s just peachy – Jubel marries the sessionability of beer with the refreshment of fruit cider
Meet Jubel, the pioneering beer infusion range that’s making waves on the UK beer scene. Each of the two beers, cut with peach or elderflower, has been crafted to uniquely deliver the refreshment of a fruit cider with the sessionability of a crisp lager.
Jubel is for those who are sick of sweet ciders and bored of bland beers. It all started when university friends, Tom and Jesse, discovered a dangerously refreshing beer tradition on an alpine adventure, which swiftly became the beer style they wanted to drink that no one brewed. They sunk their savings into a big brew that flew at a festival so they escaped their corporate jobs to do it full-time.
Determined to brew the perfect drop, the lads spent a year learning the art of brewing lager. Created in Cornwall, the lager is brewed to be dry and when infused results in a light-bodied and well-balanced taste, which is unpasteurised to retain the freshness.
‘Alpine’: Beer cut with Peach: inspired by the Alps, their original brew combines the taste of crisp lager with freshly ripe peaches. The fruit is balanced with a clean, light-bodied lager to deliver a refreshing blend of zesty peach cut with some classic pilsner character.
‘Urban’: Beer cut with Elderflower: their pick of the bunch in a bid to brew a fresh beer fit for the city. Light-gold lager meets delicate elderflower, resulting in a floral complex that gives way to a subtle lager finish.
As well as being a completely unique, original style, both beers are also brewed to be gluten free and
The Jubel range is available at Sainsbury’s and elsewhere RRP: £1.80 per 330ml bottle
Bison Grass Vodka, Vodka made with milk and Russian Standard special editions
Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka (RRP £20, available at Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s) is one of the stand-outs for vodka drinkers this Christmas. Soft on the palette and extremely delicate in flavour, this rare bison grass formed spirit will be the perfect Christmas cocktail enhancer this winter season. Produced exclusively in a state-of-the art distillery in Poland, each bottle of Zubrowka Bison Grass has a handpicked blade of the rare Bison grass contained within it, this has been a tradition since the 16th century. With brand new traditional style bottling, it makes the perfect gift for any drinks cabinet. Impress your guests by serving it with cloudy apple juice and crushed ice.
If you’d like to stick with what you know, why not sample Russian Standard Vodka’s two limited edition bottles of their best-loved Russian Standard Original. They make for a great festive gift, offering vodka drinkers Pavlovo Pasad Limited Edition and Cloisonne Limited Edition, the same high-quality flavour but with two bottles all dressed up for Christmas in a colourful and Russian inspired design.
For something extra special, why not try Black Cow, the world’s smoothest vodka, this Christmas as it unveils a limited edition gold straw gift pack. The gift pack is available from Harvey Nichols and Amazon, with an RRP from £31.50. The gift pack features a 70cl bottle of Black Cow and a reusable 24 carat gold plated straw.
Whey has always been the waste dilemma within the dairy industry with excess volumes produced in the cheese making process. Black Cow takes this undervalued by-product and transforms it into a truly superior crystal clear vodka.
Black Cow is concerned about the world’s waste crisis, as the UK discards a staggering 8.5 billion plastic straws a year – that’s an average of approximately 130 straws per person per year. A plastic straw, which was manufactured from petroleum, shipped around the world, placed in your drink and then used for 10 minutes, will now exist for at least 100 years. This doesn’t seem right.
Black Cow is offering an alternative to the plastic straw, by including a 24 carat gold plated stainless steel straw in the gift pack.
Black Cow Founder, Paul Archard says, “Since Black Cow’s inception we have consciously tried to create a sustainable, green working culture. Sustainability is always a major factor in design decisions. We use reusable or biodegradable consumables where we can such as straws, vessels, napkins etc. We have photovoltaic cells on our barn roofs at our distillery home in Childhay which feed our electricity use and we are always looking to improve our carbon footprint being economical with resources.”
Unicorn Tears – say what!?!
Add a little gin-fun to your stockings this Christmas with Firebox’s Unicorn Tears gin range. Priced at £8.99, these liqueur miniatures with delight the sweet tooth and the gin lover in equal measure.
Introducing the design update and recrafted liquid for Ailsa Bay; the peated single malt whisky that has hacked the whisky making process to create a liquid that’s distilled with craft and refined by code.
This sweet smoke whisky is created by a team of distiller-scientists, whose mission it is to bring you the future of whisky using ground-breaking technology and precision distilling methods at one of the most technologically advanced distilleries in the world.
The distillery team use data points to adapt the flavour and apply modern engineering alongside the family’s traditional approach to whisky making, allowing them to create an incredible single malt that delivers a unique balance of smoke and sweetness. The result is a taste that is more mellow and complex.
As with the technology at the distillery, the liquid profile is constantly evolving, while staying true to its original, award-winning signature style. Ailsa Bay is the first whisky to have controlled measures of both sweet parts per million (SPPM) and phenol (peaty) parts per million (PPPM). This unique process is driven by exacting precision; using data points to adapt and control the nature of the liquid creating unimagined, perfectly-balanced flavour possibilities.
Stuart Watts, Distillery Manager at William Grant & Sons comments: “No other whisky is made with this much science. Using data points to adapt the flavour and applying modern engineering alongside our family’s traditional approach is truly innovative”.
Ailsa Bay’s new look takes its inspiration from the creativity of science, which reflects the boundary-pushing technology used at its state-of-the-art distillery situated at Girvan in Ayrshire. The generative art featured in the creative campaign is an abstract depiction of the data generated from the five stages of one of the most scientifically advanced whisky making processes in the world.
Ailsa Bay is available from Amazon, The Whisky Exchange and The Whisky Shop at an RRP of £60 and offers itself as the perfect alternative gift for the tech-lover in your life this Christmas.
Go wild (Turkey 101)
One of my favourite bourbon whisky brands.
A true American classic, Wild Turkey 101’s big, bold flavour is down to its high rye content. Less water is added during distillation, resulting in a fuller and more pure bourbon taste. Unique among its peers, Wild Turkey 101’s bold profile comes hand-in-hand with a smooth, rich aroma, something Jimmy Russell puts down to “Quality at all stages of its production.” It’s the ideal bourbon for a classic Old Fashioned cocktail, but is equally good neat or on the rocks.
It’s available at various retailers including Amazon with an RRP of £31.95
You crafty devil… beer lovers rejoice
Are you a beer fan? Do you known a family member or friend who likes artisan brands and unique flavours? If this answer is yes to either or both of these questions then look no further than the Crafty Brewing Co.’s Christmas gifts this year.
Brewed on-site in a micro-brewery in Surrey, this selection of hand crafted beers deliver an innovative twist on British beer and are certain to appeal to many taste buds this festive season.
The Crafty Brewing Co. set out to create flavourful, delicious, refreshing British beer, and these are certain to delight any hop head this Christmas. With the option to tailor make the perfect gift box – just mix and match the bottles to create the ultimate six pack. Whether it’s for a best mate, dad, girlfriend or neighbour – Crafty Beer is the perfect stocking filler!
Bestow your beloved with this pale-straw coloured beer. The robust, international flavours of Chinook and Sorachi Ace hops combine with Maris Otter and the body-builder Cara-Pils malts to form a smooth and complex drinking experience. With refreshment levels going through the roof, this beer can be enjoyed at all times of the day, making it the perfect Bucks Fizz alternative – it certainly it needs to be top of the Christmas list.
Style: Pale Ale / ABV: 4.2%
A true English ale made with classic English hops, grain and yeast along with crystal malt which contributes an enticing caramel flavour and colour, while the base malt and yeast provide a smooth body making it a warming choice this festive season. The Fuggles and First Gold hops deliver the characteristic flavour and nose of a quintessentially British ale. It was also awarded Gold medal at the SIBA awards (The Society of Independent Brewers). It’s a clear Christmas winner!
Style: Chestnut Ale / ABV: 4.0%
HEADY STEADY GO
Combining Willamette, Aurora and Motueka hops from the USA, Slovenia and New Zealand together with English and German grains, to give this beer a wonderful International flavour, so you can cheers to the world this Christmas! The hops are added before, during and after the boil, giving this beer an incredibly complex flavour – so an easy choice if you’re looking to impress a certain someone. Starting with a hint of herbal fruitiness, the beer finishes with an intense hoppy punch.
Style: American Pale Ale / ABV: 4.4%
HOP TIPPLE IPA
Another gold award-winning beer, this will be one of the hottest tipples to choose from. Mixing Maris Otter and Munich malts from Britain and Germany it provides a platform from which the Cascade and Chinook hops can truly shine out. Dry hopping adds a bold finish to this thoroughly thirst-quenching golden coloured beer, making it a joyful delight and one you won’t want to stop sipping.
Style: India Pale Ale / ABV: 4.2%
A graceful golden beer brewed with Amarillo, First Gold and Challenger hops from the UK and USA. Using three malts; English Maris Otter, German Munich and the favourite, Belgian Biscuit it gives this beer a wonderful toasty finish and a beautiful golden hue to really bring that festive grin on everybody’s face this year. This beer brings a wonderful balance of sweet floral notes and a subtle orange finish making it a favourite Christmas session beer.
Style: Golden Ale / ABV: 3.8%
Five Hop is the latest IPA beer from The Crafty Brewing Co. and is the younger, more potent brother of Hop Tipple. With Hop Tipple IPA made using four hops, the brewery has gone and added a fifth Hop from Ekuanot in the USA, giving the beer soft flavour notes of melon and lychee, and looks totally awesome in cask. It’s a slightly stronger beer than Hop Tipple with an ABV of 4.5% but deliciously mellow and refreshing when served from a chilled bottle (about eight degrees is perfect) – one to finish the Christmas day off nicely.
Style: Pale Ale / ABV: 4.5%