Here’s 16 Christmas gifts ideas for the drinks’ lover in your life (or for me)

Christmas gifts ideas 2017

Another year has flown and here I am with a handful of Christmas gifts ideas for drinks lovers. My choices are based on the simple scientific law that I’d want them myself. 


Christmas gifts: Books for drink lovers


I Love Champagne (RRP £12.99) is a fabulous guide by Davy Zyw subtitled “Fall in love with 50 of the world’s best champagnes” and it helps you do exactly that. There’s glossy sections on 50 champagne houses, food tips, history  and loads of other info too.  Fantastic.

I love The Wine Dine Dictionary (RRP £20) by Victoria Moore. The first section lists foods in an A-Z and offers brilliant wine pairings; then the role is reversed in part two, with the wines in an A-Z alongside suggested foods. It is a must-have for food and wine lovers. I’m very excited.

In Clean Cocktails (RRP £20) Beth Ritter Nydick and Tara Roscioli  share pages of colourful cocktails recipes, all with the emphasis on health. They use low-calorie spirits, fresh juices and natural sweeteners. Naughty but also good for you.

Doctor’s Orders (RRP £12.99, Hardie Grant)  by Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza is another book full of cocktail ideas to restore, refresh and revive.  Edwards and Tregenza have created  drinks such as Thirst Aid with gin and herbs and An Apple a Day with Cognac and Calvados.

The title of the book Ginspiration (RRP £9.99, DK.com) is a giveaway to what lies inside. There’s an A-Z of well-known gin brands, with lots of gin cocktail recipes and a guide to creating your own flavour-infused gin. A bit of gin DIY for you.

*Find these books on Amazon or good book stores.


Christmas gifts: Talking of gin

A couple of miniature sets to look out for. The Whitley Neill Small Batch Gin Selection (RRP £12.99, Amazon) includes 5cl of Whitley Neill Gin,  made with South African botanicals cape gooseberry and baobab and 5cl of Whitley Neill Quince Gin and Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Gin.

The City of London Distillery Gin Taster Selection Box (RRP £34.99, Amazon) has five 5cl tipples of premium small-batch artisan gins all handcrafted in the Square Mile’s first gin distillery for nearly 200 years.  It includes Christopher Wren Gin and City of London Old Tom Gin.

Or here’s a thing, dangle gin from your tree with a pack of Pickering’s Gin-filled Christmas baubles (£30 for 6, baubles.pickeringsgin.com).


Christmas gifts: Special treats

The One Fo(u)r Brut and Brut Rosé (£10 and £12 respectively, John Lewis) are festive, fizzy and fun; 20cl bottles bubble-packed with Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. Boozy Berries (£6.50, pinkstergin.com) is a jar of oh-so-punchy raspberries left over from making Pinkster gin. Pop them in a pudding or dip them in chocolate. The Prosecco Gift Set (£45, virginiahayward.com) is relaxation in a box and includes truffles from the Secret Truffletier, a bottle of prosecco and a Vineyard Candle.

 


Christmas gifts: FOR Serious wine people

In the Chapel Down Vine Lease Scheme (from £275) five vines can be leased from the Chapel Down Bacchus vineyard in Tenterden. People can follow the seasons by visiting their vines, enjoy an annual celebration lunch at the winery and take home a case of their own Tenterden Estate Bacchus wine complete with personalised wine labels. 

 The Coravin Mark 2 (£249, coravin.co.uk) is a grown-up gadget. The technology allows you to pour the right amount of wine you want without removing the cork. This keeps the wine fresh in the bottle for a long time. I guess you’ll love someone lots to buy them this … but they’ll keep rewarding you with wine.

 


Christmas gifts: Final thoughts and a special offer

Premium Champagne Stopper Avina Christmas giftIf the one you love enjoys lots of fizz and likes to keep some opened in the fridge, then the Premium Champagne Stopper (£11.42) from Avina could be perfect. The simple stopper clicks in to an opened  bottle to keep the bubbles as fresh as the day they were opened. If you use this code AVINA15F you’ll get  15% off on the Avina website.
A lifetime membership of
The Wine Society (thewinesociety.com, £40) is a snip and there’s a £20 credit towards the first order.  A subscription with online Your Sommelier (from £36 a month) is a great shout. Each month three French wines arrive from vineyards and there’s tasting notes and regional guides. 


Enjoy shopping. Xx

 

Ten Christmas fizz ideas (because we all love wine and bubbles)

Christmas fizz glass of bubbles
It’s time to brush up on the lyrics to those classic Christmas tunes; pop on the Christmas jumper and have a jolly good time with your chums, your workmates and your nearest and dearest. There’s no better way to add  sparkle to your festive fun than with some Christmas fizz.

Christmas fizz, glass of bubbles


Christmas fizz: Cava and Moscato

Camoli Moscato (£4.99, Aldi) The word “dolce” on the label means “sweet” – but don’t turn your nose up just yet. Pop this in the fridge and give it a humdinger of a good chill and at only 6% abv it’ll tingle your senses at the start of an evening without slam-dunking them into shock before all your pals arrive. Also a great tastebud tease with pudding.

Codorníu Cuvée Barcelona Brut (RRP £12.99 Sainsbury’s and Waitrose) Cava is made in the same way as champagne but with different grapes and has more flavour and complexity than prosecco. This has aromas of ripe red apples, ribboned with orange zest, and citrus flavours really zing. Hide it behind the tree and keep to yourself.


Christmas fizz: Champers under £20

Bissinger Champagne Premier Cru  (Lidl, £15.99) This is a shiver of fizz which is lovely as an aperitif.  Go on then, pour as the family arrives on Christmas Day. The grapes come from some of the best vineyards in the Champagne region and the winemakers have used them to make a Champers which is fruity, fresh and not too dry.

Les Pionniers Non-Vintage Champagne (The Co-op, £16.99)  This has just been named best non-vintage bubbly by Which?, beating brands including Lanson and Veuve Clicquot. Breathe in the aromas of pears and ripe red apples which fizz out of the glass with a zesty pippety-pop while also delivering a backbone shiver.

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 Extra Special Louis Bernard Vintage Champagne (Asda, £18, down from £30, until December 31) I love this vintage champers from Asda. It is one of the most mouthwatering supermarket vintages I’ve tried. Great price too for a bundle of citrus, tropical fruit and those familiar warming brioche aromas.

Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne (Tesco, £18)  If you like your champagne dry with no syrupy sweetness then this is the drink for you. Any drier and you’d be spitting dust. Don’t let the bubbles fool you, this is a hardcore, no-nonsense champagne packed with bold flavours.

J de Telmont Grande Réserve NV (Majestic, £19.99 or a bulk buy Mix Six Price of £13.32} This fizz leans towards fruity as opposed to complex flavours of  brioche and comforting warm bakeries. It’s a lovely Champagne though, crisp and refreshing.


If you enjoy prosecco, click here. You know you want to.

Christmas fizz: Champers over £20

Gimonnet-Gonet Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Or (£23.50, Your Sommelier) Your Sommelier is an independent online retailer which ships French wines over to the UK, including this family-owned Champers.  This is a blanc de blancs, which means it is a Champagne made entirely from chardonnay  – it was delicious with a couple of raspberries popped in the glass. Your Sommelier is running a special flash Christmas sale until December 21.

Jacquart Brut Rosé Mosaique (Sainsbury’s, £35) I took this along to a gathering of   girlie friends  – sometimes its rude not to share the love.  It’s a pink – and girls love pink sparkles. Well, not always, as they can be hyper sweet, but this one is dry and fresh with delicate bubbles which tinkle happily for a good while.

Champagne Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvée (www.spiritedwines.co.uk, £38)  This is a champers to savour, not to hurry, no matter how giddy you are wearing your party hat. There’s crisp flavours of apples and citrus with brisk and bright aromas of grapefruit and apples.

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Some of these reviews were first  published in the saturday extra magazine December 5, 2015

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express