Christmas party drinks: 10 ideas for tipples if you’re having people round

Christmas One Foot in the Grapes

If you’re inviting friends round for a quiet celebration, or you’re planning one of those “stand in the kitchen and ignore the sofa” parties, then you’ll be looking for ideas for Christmas party drinks. Here’s a selection.


Christmas party drinks: Nice and easy wines

Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir (£4.49, Aldi, 12.5% abv) I poured this red in a wine tasting and it went down a treat. It has bright jammy fruit, is easy-drinking and look at the price. Taste the Difference Bordeaux Rosé (£7, Sainsbury, 12.5% abv) A lovely pink. Made from merlot, it has a nose full of red fruits, fresh and dried strawberries and a hint of tropical fruit. Fruity White (£5, Spar, 13% abv) Ignore Spar wines at your peril, they’ve brought out a new range (more on that in the New Year). This is a simple South African white, billed as “smooth and mellow”, made from chenin blanc. It’s a kitchen party pourer.


Christmas party drinks:  Festive fizzlers

Martini Prosecco (£10.78, Asda – though I’ve seen it on rollback for £7, 11.5% abv) is a pretty prosecco and as it has Martini branding it might be overlooked in that prosecco “space”. It has uncomplicated aromas of apple and pear and a good citrus kick in the mouth.  

Borgo Molino (£ £9.99, The Co-op, 11% abv) You can buy this wine in a gift pack for £14.99, with truffles, to take along as a gift for your hosts. This is a dry prosecco with notes of green apple and a citrus bite, together with bubbles a-plenty.


Christmas party drinks:  Belting beers

Hobgoblin IPA (four for £6 in Asda, also sold in Morrisons, the Co-op) is a new launch. I’m told IPA drinkers nowadays are more likely “to be female and younger” though if younger than me, I don’t know. It’s a copper-coloured brew created from English hops Fuggles and Goldings.

Meantime Chocolate Porter (£23 for 12, meantimebrewing.com, or £1.99 each, Waitrose) is a dark beer with four different roasted malts, matured with real chocolate. There’s definitely chocolate on the nose! This robust beer will work well with party-time spicy dishes such as a chilli.


Christmas party drinks:  Christmas spirit

Monkey Shoulder (£27 at Tesco, widely available elsewhere) The name “monkey shoulder” refers to a time when maltmen turned barley by hand, causing their arm to tire and hang down like a monkey’s. It’s a blend of three single malt whiskies and has notes of vanilla, orange and a spicy bite. Check out party cocktail recipes at monkeyshoulder.com

Ramsbury Vodka (£34.55, masterofmalt.com) A super-special gold medal-winning single estate vodka. Ramsbury grow the wheat on their chalk downs in Wiltshire, combine it with water from their land, and distill. The nose is rich with vanilla, it has a creaminess and a good weight. Ice is all it needs, perhaps a slither of orange peel.


Christmas party drinks:  A creamy flourish

Amarula Christmas party drinks

Amarula (RRP £12.50, widely available) This isn’t as “gunky” as some of the more familiar creams and is just as tasty over a drop of ice. The base spirit is made from the fruit of the Marula tree in South Africa. Check out amarula.com for recipes. Oh, and Amarula has formed a trust to support the African elephant via educational and environmental projects.  

FIRST PUBLISHED IN OVER 30 TRINITY MIRROR REGIONAL NEWSPAPERS INCLUDING:

Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News –
Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales
–  Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle 
– Teesside Gazette – Birmingham Mail –
Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio: A new Co-op wine selected by votes!

A few months ago I voted for something close to my heart.  No, not a general election, or even Brexit (though obviously I voted in those and my heart sinks at the memory) …. but for a wine.

I cast my vote for the style, look and feel of a new wine to be created by members of the Co-operative Society.  Six months later, this democratically designed wine has appeared on the shelves.

People were asked to vote for the grape (the choices were chardonnay, pinot grigio and a chardonnay-viognier blend) and later its name and then the label design.

Pioneer Pinot Grigio
Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio

The Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio (£6.99, 12% abv) is now born. The name Pioneer was selected as a reference to the pioneers of the co-operative movement; and the bear label because it references the Californian wine, as the bear appears on California state’s flag.

What of the wine? It has light aromas of pear, lychee and apple, with more of the same to taste. It is lacking intensity in flavour or acidity to make a memorable impact when you taste, but hey, it’s pleasant enough.  

Joseph Turner, wine buyer at the Co-op said: “Listening to the aspirations and passions of our members and finding ways to meet their needs has always been at the heart of Co-op and I believe the first member wine launch takes this to the next level. Being Co-op is all about working co-operatively as a better way of doing business and I am absolutely thrilled that over 3,000 members were actively involved in helping to shape this product.”


Win a case of Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio

The Co-op is marking the launch of the new wine with a special competition. Pop down to your local Co-op, pick up a bottle, take a Pioneer selfie (that’s you and the bottle of wine!) and share on Twitter using #CoopJoinIn. Terms and conditions here.
Competition closes November 9, 2017