News is in that Champagne and Gin have replaced sherry and brandy as our favourite Christmas tipples! Researchers analysed thousands of conversations, comparing them to those in the 90s, to determine our eating and drinking preferences around Christmas time.
Even better news is there are a number of gins on the market that are particularly perfect for the festive season, either by chance or design. For me, these are the best of the bunch:
Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin
Sacred takes their 'great aunt Nellie's recipe' for a Christmas pud, steams it for 8 hours, then macerates it in grain spirit along with the mandatory juniper berries (it is a gin after all). This is then redistilled to yield a crystal clear spirit that tastes like, yup, Christmas pud! Can't get more festive than that.
Edinburgh Christmas Gin
Edinburgh took a different path in trying to incorporate the spirit of Christmas into their gin, and instead looked to the Three Wise Men for ginspiration. Distilled with Frankincense and Myrrh the gin has lots of rich spices, orange and nutmeg notes in a gin that coats the mouth thanks to the addition of myrrh (who knew?!?).
Whilst not listed as Christmas gins, there are two others I feel must be included in a list of festive options:
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's Bathtub Gin (Navy Strength)
The navy strength bit is important, as the higher ABV gin from the Ampleforth range is like Christmas in a glass. Plenty of festive spice on the nose with hints of vanilla and woody notes. On the palette it's juniper, cinnamon, spice, vanilla, with a hint of cardamom and fruit. Despite the high ABV it's a smooth, and dangerously drinkable tipple...
St George Terroir Gin
Quite simply, this gin smells like a Christmas tree! Inspired by a walk through a forest, the gin includes Douglas fir, laurel and sage among the botanicals. The fir and herbal notes accentuate the pine from the juniper to create a really unusual but beautifully balanced gin. I for one can't get enough of it, who doesn't love the smell of a real Christmas tree?
How do You Drink a Christmas Gin?
Keep it simple with a martini, or mix it with tonic to keep you refreshed while you're cooking Christmas dinner. Many of the producers above have touted the oh so fashionable negroni as a potential winner with their festive gins too, so if you're not afraid of a little campari action, get ginvolved!
For more Christmas ginspiration check out my '10 ways to incorporate gin into your Christmas day' post over on Gin Monkey!