Like it or not, the festive season is well and truly upon us. While you mightn’t have started thinking ahead to what you’ll be pouring on the big day, we’re sure your diaries will have already started filling up with Christmas parties – because who doesn’t want to celebrate at this time of year?
Unlike wines you would serve for a sit-down Christmas lunch, you’ll need a different set of criteria when selecting those to crack open for a party.
It wouldn’t be a party without bubbly. Make sure you’ve got all your bases covered and have a selection of Champagne and sparkling ready to go. If you’re a traditionalist, Champagne Jacquart’s Brut Mosaïque is a delicious drop – incredibly soft, and elegant bubbles are brought to life with notes of grapefruit, rich orchard fruit and just a touch of minerality. Closer to home, Hattingley Valley’s Classic Reserve – a blend of vintage wines – is a prime example of great English fizz, and is a flawless accompaniment to any party. For something different, why not try a drop from one of Italy’s finest prosecco producers, Ruggeri – the Quartese Valdobbiadene is a surprisingly intense and bright bubbly.
A great rule for pleasing your guests is to avoid wines that stray too far either side of the ‘middle’ – look for wines that are pleasant and quaffable without being too weird and wonderful (guaranteed to alienate people), too tannic, rich, acidic, light or alcoholic. Remember, the wines here are the supporting act, not the star of the show, and need to match the lively, sparkly festive mood as well as the style of food being served. Some of our go-to crowd pleasers include Ramón Bilbao Lalomba Rosado or Umani Ronchi Centiove Organic Pecorino.
Embrace the spirit of Christmas and sharing, and make sure you’ve got some large format wines on offer. Nothing quite makes a statement like a magnum of Malbec or Jeroboam of fizz, and with these voluptuous bottles on show, you’ll ensure no glass is left empty at the party. To help you navigate the world of super-sized wines, here are 10 of our favourites:
El Esteco Don David Malbec
Château Bertinat Lartigue St-Emilion
Now you’ve got the wine sorted, it’s time to turn your attention to spirits. One of the earliest forms of the cocktail, a great punch is always a crowd pleaser. Here are three of our favourite recipes that will have customers coming back for more.
Pink Poinsettia Punch - serves 6
A refreshing party punch with a sneaky pepper kick.
- 150ml Pink Pepper Gin
- 300ml Rubicon Pomegranate Juice
- 200ml Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice
- 100ml Lemon juice
- 75ml Cointreau
- Top with Ginger Ale
- Sliced Orange / Lemon & Cranberries if available
Pour all ingredients into a punch bowl stir with ice and garnishes, ladle into punch cups and it’s party time!
Hot Rum Punch - serves 4
Word on the street is that this was one of Mozart’s favourite drinks.
- 100ml Plantation Original Dark Rum
- 100ml H by Hine VSOP Cognac
- 50ml Fino, Bella Luna
- 30ml Sugar Syrup
- 75ml Lime Juice
- Hot Water
- Cloves pierced through an orange slice
Pour all ingredients into a heat-proof punch bowl and stir well. Ladle into heat-proof mugs and serve with the orange slice and cloves.
Eggnog Punch - serves 4
Ditch that store-bought stuff. Roll your sleeves up and get your nog on. Your classic holiday staple.
- 100ml Konik’s Tail
- 75ml Giffard Madagascan Vanilla
- 25ml Monin Cinnamon Syrup
- 400ml Milk
- Grenadine Syrup
- Cocktail Cherries
- Grated Nutmeg
Pour Konik’s Tail, Madagascan Vanilla, cinnamon syrup and milk into a punch bowl and stir well. Allow to chill in a refrigerator. Ladle over an iced-filled glass then drizzle grenadine and serve with a cocktail cherry and a dusting of nutmeg.