Let's be honest this year has been one full of anxiety and the unknown, but even though we still don't know how we'll be celebrating Christmas this year there are a few things about the festive season we can control - one of them being the drinks cabinet! 

Although I'm a huge huge cocktail fan and love a glass of red I don't drink that much usually, however this takes a turn when the festive season turns around and although I don't go overboard (I hate being drunk and I hate hangovers even more) I definitely enjoy a tipple far more frequently. Although some of my old favourites are still included I definitely have some Christmas specific drinkies that I return to every year and this little drinks guide is a mix of the two.

This isn't to say that this list should only be used as a personal indulgence list either as any of these bottles would make a fabulous present. In fact you'll see below that a few of them you can order to arrive perfectly gift wrapped, ready for giving.

PS - a few of these bottles were gifted to me and if they were they'll be marked with a *


I'm going to kick off by introducing you to a company that's new to me called Independent Wine. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Italian food and drink (and fashion and scenery and architecture and well... most things) so I was thrilled when these guys got in touch - finding a supplier of great Italian wine who offer super quick delivery and give you lots of information to help you choose bottles you'll love? I'm sold! I love the concept and the fact that there is so much knowledge given there on the site in a friendly non-pretencious manner, so I can learn while I'm picking bottles and not have to worry that I might have bought a wine I'm going to end up disliking. Oh and did I mention right now they're offering free next day delivery and free gift wrapping?! Now let's talk about the two bottles they kindly sent my way:

306 Biologico Nero d’Avola 2017 Sicilia DOC* £18.19 How much do I love thee, let me count the ways... Honestly it's been a long time since I've found a new wine that I like as much as this and let me tell you it would be perfect for a Christmas dinner bottle. Truth be told I've never been a huge lover of Nero d'Avola but this was clearly because I'd not met the right bottle and now I find one I click with I'll be trying more, but only after I've had my fill of this beauty.
It's a beautiful deeply berried red with pronounced spice and oaky, almost leathery notes which in my opinion makes it an ideal pairing for the aromatically spiced dishes that form a Christmas dinner with the fruity tang working with cranberry sauce to provide a balance to all those rich, decadent flavours. Honesty is the best policy however and you better believe I'll be drinking this with many different dishes, including nothing at all in front of a good movie.

Siddùra Erema 2016 | Cannonau di Sardegna DOC* £18.40 Another berry forward red, this time I feel a little crisper with less woodiness but still with those gorgeous warm black peppery notes that leave your tongue dancing with glee. Again this would be a perfect roast dinner accompaniment, but it was a lovely partner to cut the creaminess fatiness of a quick ciccetti I made with ricotta and cured meats on little toasts with a drizzle of truffle honey. 

The Tidal Rum £34.95 When you think of Christmas then brandy usually jumps to your mind, but we like taking inspiration from our American cousins with a nice hot buttered rum every now and again to warm the cockles. Sometimes though you're looking for something different to break up the barrage of festive decadence and that's where this delightful rum comes in - as an after dinner digestif to help settle the stomach and cleanse the palate. Just add a measure to glass with lots of ice, lime just and a good crack of black pepper and top with soda water then sip away! It's a very different taste to your usual golden rums, I think with more of a whiskey edge so it would be a perfect gift for a rum fan who would enjoy trying something more unique.

Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino Vermouth £14.95 I've long been a fan of a V&T (vermouth and tonic) but I used to feel a bit embarassed ordering it as it seemed so old fashioned, now however this delightful drink is making a big come back so I can now order it with glee almost everywhere! Rosso or red vermouth is my favourite being sweeter than its bianco sister and as I'm a self professed acolite of the wonderful Nigella Lawson it's a shock to no-one that as soon as I saw her making her 'Venetian' cocktail made from rosato or pink vermouth with pomegranate juice and ginger ale I just had to try it. I didn't have any pink so I used this wonderful and brilliantly priced red vermouth and it's become one of my absolute favourite drinks, so I highly recommend you try it yourself or use this in a lovely bitter sweet Americano.

Zymurgorium Original Manchester Sloe Gin* £24.99 In this house you just can't do Christmas without sloe gin, that delicious bitter yet syrupy concoction that is so often one of the first grown up drinks you get to try as a little one! Usually I try and hunt out some sloes in October to make my own batch or two but this year none were to be found so I went looking for a wonderful premade version and found it on one of my favourite gifting sites Prezzybox! They were lovely enough to send me this bottle and I'm definitely not missing my homemade version with this beaut in the drinks cabinet.

Luzardo Sour Cherry Gin* £30.95 I've talked about this lip smackingly delicious gin before on here and whipped up a few cocktails with it, but I think it's so perfect to give your festive G&T's a twist in both colour and taste that I couldn't resist including it here. And while you're at it, a big old jar of luxardo cherries will also add a special something to just about any drink be it boozy or virgin!

Bulleit Bourbon £28.00 (but currently £22 at Asda!) My all year round favourite every day bourbon for drinking with coke, as an old fashioned or in a myriad of cocktails, Bulleit is my go to. I just love the sweet, caramelly, smokey flavour and it comes in a sexy bottle too. Always a good gift, always a good drink, usually makes for a good evening.


Have a wonderful festive season friends, it might be an odd one but we can definitely still make it special even if we are limited when it comes to who we spend it with.

N xxx