Yemi’s Food Stories: Christmas drinks to impress your guests
Last updated Nov 24, 2023
Black forest martini

Yemi Adelekan is a food writer and blogger who was a semi-finalist in last year’s BBC TV’s Masterchef  competition. Every Saturday Yemi will be writing on the Stray Ferret about her love of the district’s food  and sharing cooking tips – please get in touch with her if you want her to review a restaurant, visit your farm, taste the produce you sell or even share a recipe.


Christmas is a very special time, so it’s an excuse to go all-out in the kitchen.

The Christmas Day meal, of course, takes centre stage and can be stressful for many of us. We often over-estimate what we need and end up with overstocked fridges, cluttered worktops, and eventually a lot of waste.

The secret to reducing the stress over this period is planning — and festive drinks are no exception to the rule.

By asking what people like to drink in advance, you can prepare your Christmas cocktails ahead of time and reduce any unnecessary stress (which can instead be channelled into tending to the turkey!)

Winter hero

One delicious festive cocktail is the winter hero and, luckily, it’s simple and easy to make.

The ingredients are:

  • 50ml vodka
  • 100ml ginger ale
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • A sprig of fresh thyme and orange slice to garnish

To make this, simply stir all ingredients in a wine glass with ice and add the garnish.


Not every alcohol-free person wants to be relegated to water, so I’ve added something a little more special for those who are spending their Christmas sober.

To begin, you need to make a simple syrup. These are easy to make and can be stored in your fridge for up to a week in advance.

To make it, add equal parts of water and sugar to a pot and bring to a gentle simmer. You can get creative with the flavours here; my favourites include mint and lemon, or strawberry and pomegranate.

Simmer for a few minutes until the fruits soften. Then, turn the heat off and leave to infuse for as long as possible.

Finally, pass through a fine sieve and store your syrup ready for the mocktails.

Serve over ice with sparkling water and garnish with fresh fruit and a sprig of herbs.

Black forest martini

No matter how much we’ve eaten, we always seem to find room for pudding on Christmas Day.

For an elaborate drink to accompany your dessert, I’d recommend giving a black forest martini a try.  To make it, you will need:

  • x20ml vodka
  • 20ml espresso liqueur
  • 15ml Martini Rosso
  • 3 dashes of chocolate bitters

Simply stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a cherry and enjoy!

Hibiscus tea

Warm hibiscus tea is another alcohol-free option that is perfect after a heavy meal.

To make this, add dried hibiscus flowers to a pan and add water to it before bringing to a boil. Allow to simmer until the colour seeps out.

You can add spices, like cloves or star anise, but hibiscus also pairs well with citrus, like lemon or lime. Sweeten with honey or agave and serve warm with slices of fresh oranges.

Christmas drinks can be prepped in advance and help you to take a back seat on the day.

You might even get to tell them if you like yours shaken or stirred.

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