Christmas is a time for giving, for receiving, for being thankful, and for enjoying time with family and friends.
However, many people will agree it is also a time for great food and drink.
While the turkey, trimmings, snacks and desserts are an important part of any festive get-together, having a great selection of drinks can add an extra dimension to the party and give guests something to savour.
Good Housekeeping has put together a list of some festive favourites, winter warmers and creative concoctions to try your hand at this Christmas.
Christmas pudding vodka
- 1 bottle vodka
- 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- Peel of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 25 (1oz) each currants, raisins and dried figs, halved if large
- Sterilise a large, 1.3 litre (two and half pint) bottle or glass container, either by running through a dishwasher cycle or washing in hot soapy water, rinsing, then drying on a baking tray in the oven for 20 mins at 150 degrees (130 degrees fan) mark 2.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl or jug and put into the sterilised container or bottle. Seal with a cork or screw cap.
- Leave for two weeks in a cool, dark place, turning the container occasionally to agitate the ingredients.
- Use a funnel lined with a coffee filter paper to decant the liquid into attractive sterilised bottles of your choice. Add a fresh piece of lemon and orange peel and a fresh cinnamon stick, then cap.
- Wrap up for Christmas and label with serving suggestions and a drink-by date. The vodka will keep for up to three months and is wonderful in cocktails, or served over ice with tonic and a slice of orange.
Very berry Christmas liqueur
- 750ml (one and a quarter pints) white or dark rum
- 425g (15oz) caster sugar
- 425g (15oz) mixed frozen berries eg. a mixture of blackberries, raspberries and redcurrants
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Put all ingredients into a large, clean bowl. Stir with a clean spoon; cover well with cling film. Leave to infuse for two to four weeks in a cool, dark place. When you remember, give the mixture a stir.
- Strain through a sieve lined with kitchen paper into a large, clean jug. Then use a funnel to decant into pretty sterilised bottles. The liqueur keeps for up to six months.
Orange and basil sparkler
- 1.5 tbsp Cointreau
- 1-2 drops Angostura aromatic bitters
- Chilled prosecco or sparkling wine
- A twist of orange zest
- Sprig of basil
- Half-fill six small tumblers with ice cubes, then add 1.5tbsp Cointreau to each glass, followed by 1-2 drops Angostura aromatic bitters.
- Top up with chilled Prosecco or sparkling wine, then garnish with a twist of orange zest and a sprig of basil.
Eggcellent egg nog
- 3 medium eggs
- 75g (3oz) caster sugar
- 50ml (2fl oz) brandy, optional
- 100ml (3.5fl oz) whole milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish
- Put the eggs into a large bowl. Add the sugar and beat together with an electric hand whisk until thick and moussey for around 5 mins. With the motor running, quickly add the brandy, if using, followed by the milk. Divide among 8 small glasses. Garnish with nutmeg and serve.
Spiced blackberry gin
- 300g (11oz) blackberries
- 300g (11oz) granulated sugar
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1 litre (one and three-quarter pints)
- Sterilise all equipment by washing well with hot soapy water, then transfer to an oven, preheated to 130 degrees (110 degrees fan) for 10 mins to dry.
- Wash blackberries and discard any bruised fruit. Place in a large, sterilised 2 litre (3.5 pints) Kilner jar, or divide between two sterilised 1 litre (one and three quarter pints) Kilner jars. Add sugar and cinnamon stick, and pour in gin. Reserve the gin bottles.
- Set aside in a cool, dark place for at least three weeks, turning every day to help the sugar dissolve.
- Strain through a sterilised sieve lined with clean muslin into the reserved, sterilised gin bottles or smaller sterilised bottles. To keep the liqueur clear, don’t press the fruit through the sieve. Discard cinnamon. Label and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Enjoy straight as a liqueur or put 25ml (1fl oz) into a small glass and top up with tonic water, ice and blackberry for a quick cocktail.
Good Housekeeping has a wide range of mouth-watering recipes for the festive period and beyond. For hints, tips and instructions, visit http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/.