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Christmas is a time for mixologists to show off and knock up some special festive cocktails. We're talking wintry spices like cinnamon and star anise, warming whiskies and smooth spirits.
Here are our favourites from around London...
If you're out shopping in central London, take a load off your feet and head to Jason Atherton's Social Wine & Tapas for a little glass of 'Social Sangria' – Spanish red wine infused with cinnamon, ginger and macerated fruits. Or, for something a bit fancier, try the 'Snap, Apple and Pop' with Pommeau de Normandie (apple Calvados) topped with bubbles – what better way to forget the crowds? Top tip: order a plate of jamon, too...
Possibly the cosiest of cocktail bars in London – think leather sofas, carpets, grandfather clocks and mahogany – Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone has created the Seymour's Porter. The cocktail is made from dark Porter beer, Cognac, ginger, cocoa nibs, liquorice and egg. Apparently in the 18th century, travellers would drink ale fortified with cognac... the egg was to give them energy for long journeys (nowadays the egg will help you cope with London Transport).
Dirty Bones (Soho and Kensington), aka the place that brought you the mac and cheese burger has created a Christmas cocktail that we couldn't ignore – the Dirty Santa is a fine mix of vodka, fresh ginger, blueberries, tropical liqueur and cinnamon-infused maple syrup. Don't miss their super festive Mac Baubles (mac and cheese balls with a sweet chilli cranberry sauce)!
Plum & Rum Old Fashioned at SkyLounge EC3N 4AF
For amazing views over Tower Bridge and The Shard, go to the Double Tree Hilton hotel on Pepys Street and take the lift to the SkyLounge. After 5pm on Wednesdays to Saturdays you can head to the roof bar, snuggle up with a blanket, tuck in to a plate of mini meatballs or sliders, and enjoy a winter drink of your choice.
Their festive tipples include hot apple cider, Treehouse punch (rum, thyme tea, lemon juice and cider), or our favourite, the Plum & Rum Old Fashioned – made with rum, homemade plum purée and plum bitters.
One of our favourite haunts for delicious, seasonal lunches and dinners, Anna Hansen's The Modern Pantry has opened in Finsbury Square and is serving up an historical cocktail.
The Sherry Cobbler was first mentioned in the London Telegraph in 1883 – and was the first cocktail to be drunk with a straw!
It's a blend of Manzanilla sherry, black cardamom, saffron and clementine sugar.
Drake and Morgan bars always offer an extensive cocktail list. Their Christmas addition, Naughty & Nice, is rum, hot chocolate and maple syrup with a marshmallow garnish. It's probably not something you'd have to start the night, but for an afternoon treat, this sweet and warming concoction is sure to hit the spot.
Try at home