Merry Gin-mas everybody: 12 tips for a tipsy holiday!

He’s been getting ready since January and his big moment is coming soon. The Jolly Old Elf (AKA Santa Claus) is already preparing to sprinkle holiday cheer around the world from his festive fleet of flying reindeer.

Christmas is almost here and we’re all looking forward to welcoming Santa down the chimney as we celebrate all that is good in the world.

So, in the spirit of Christmas, we thought we’d help you to get the party going.
Here are our 12 tips for a tipsy Christmas to ensure that all your (gin-based) dreams come true. Read on to find out more about how gin can help to renew the festive spirit for 2021. We’ll drink to that! Christmas Eve cocktails: get the party started with a festive gin Cosmo!

Christmas Cosmos…

Every house is different and has a different tradition. In our house, we always start the holiday off with a Gin Cosmopolitan. This cranberry classic is easy to make, has a hefty kick and it looks really Christmassy! It’s the perfect drink to get the party started! Luckily, it’s really simple to make and only requires a few readily available ingredients. So, this Christmas, ditch the vodka and head into a winter wonderland of gin. Starting with a Christmas Eve Cosmo!

Something special for Santa: he’ll love these boozy sloe gin mince pies!

Don’t forget to look after the jolly old elf! He always remembers who’s been naughty or nice. But you can get in his good books every year by leaving him something tasty to nibble on as he slides down your chimney to deliver his presents.  In America, it’s generally milk and cookies. In Spain it’s Turron. And in the UK (at least in our house) he seems to enjoy mince pies and a little dram of whiskey.  But rumour has it that he’s also partial to a drop of gin.  We reckon if you really want to be remembered by the man himself, make sure you stand out from the crowd. 

Here’s an easy recipe for some sloe ginfused mince pies, which we think he’ll love. Packed with our favourite Christmas spirit, these are absolutely delicious. And we think he might enjoy washing them down with a little glass of something special.  How about treating him to a glass of Himbrimi gin, made for sipping. It might be a nice transition from whiskey. Apparently, he’s also partial to a little gin liqueur. Here’s a little Christmas gin that we think might already be on his list – Tarquins Figgy Pudding gin

A Cocktail Christmas: 5 “must have” bartending tools for the festive season

Most of the year, if we need a fancy cocktail mixed up, we go to the nearest pub or bar and prevail upon the skills of an expert mixologist who has studied and practiced his art for many years. Not all of us are that lucky. That’s why it can be a bit challenging when we suddenly become head bartender at home over Christmas. But like everything in life, the more prepared you are the better.

And we all know that without the right tools, simple things can become quite complicated. Christmas can be a real test of our bartending skills. That’s why we recommend that your festive bartending kit contains the following five essential tools for a  flawless fiesta of festive cocktails! Don’t forget to visit our website to download our recent guide to the Top 10 bartending tools to make drinks like a rockstar. Until then, here are your bartender basics.

  1. A clean cutting board (so you don’t ruin the sideboard!)
  2. A sharp paring knife (to slice and dice all those garnishes)
  3. A cocktail shaker (a jam jar with a lid will work just as well)
  4. A muddling spoon (to get every last bit of flavour from your ingredients)
  5. A cocktail strainer (to keep your cocktails clear and free of floaty things!)

Christmas advent calendars: your daily dose of Vitamin Gin

Gin advent calendars are a real thing and we don’t understand why it’s taken this long to invent them. Why spend an entire month getting excited about individual chocolates when you could swap them for gin? There are now a multitude of ways in which we can access gin over the coming months. Some people will be going for gin-filled Christmas baubles. Others will be seeking out gin filled Christmas crackers. But they’re both for one day only. To make sure the spirit of Christmas lasts right up until the big day itself, we recommend Aldi’s gin advent calendar.

Packed full of a fabulous selection of 24 x miniature Haysmith’s gins, there is something for everybody in this lineup. From a traditional London Dry to rhubarb and ginger, from sloe gin to raspberry and redcurrant and from Seville orange and Persian lime to spiced plum and clementine, there really is something for everyone. This will brighten up your holidays for sure. Once again, Aldi leads the way for delicious, great value gins. 

Drink to your health: can the hair of the dog cure your Christmas hangover?

We all know that Christmas is a time for general gin-related shenanigans, festive fun and general frivolity. But, just in case you haven’t been as moderate over the party season as you should have been, fear not.  Here’s a proper article from the folks at Harvard who take a science-based look at the best way to rebound from a holiday hangover. Of course, the best course of action is not to drink so much that you get a hangover in the first place. But just in case that festive spirit gets the better of you, have a little read of this article on the best science-based hangover cures to get you back on track for a big Christmas rebound, just when you need it the most!

Christmas treats: no tricks!

By now, you will have already been deluged with Christmas offers as marketers try different ways to tempt you to put their products in your Christmas stocking. But don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of tat out there and prices at Christmas do not always reflect what’s inside your package. So, don’t fork out £10 for 5 chocolate truffles with a picture of a Christmas tree on the front.  Here are a few Christmas themed presents that will make your loved ones smile without breaking the bank:

  • Marks and Spencer Snow Globe – snow globes have become the must have gin treat for the last few Christmases.  We think this one from M&S is one of the best.  But they won’t last forever
  • Gin and tonic truffles – everybody loves a bit of chocolate, especially at Christmas.  But these days a foil-wrapped chocolate Santa just doesn’t cut it any more.  Here’s a fab recipe for some G&T truffles you can make at home. Guaranteed to give you the best of both worlds this Christmas
  • Gin tours – we spend our lives drinking gin and talking gin. But to really immerse yourselves in this great drink of ours, talk to the experts.  There are dozens of great gin tours now available from small batch artisans to big distillers.  You can either book one at your local gin distillery or check out our list of bespoke gin experiences.  Just book your slot online and turn up.
  • Make your own gin at home – there’s no longer any need to make your gin in the bathtub. Check out this neat little gin-making kit and create your own personalised gin from the comfort of your own kitchen. Taste is a very personal thing, and this kit gives you the chance to mix up the perfect blend and turn plain old vodka into your own, magical gin in as little as 36 hours.

Christmas gin liqueurs: boost your bubbly this Christmas

These days, there are a raft of gin liqueurs available that are perfect for the holiday season. In the end, what you like most is all a matter of personal taste. But the range is increasing every day, so we’re now spoiled for choice. They range from novelty flavours (such as peppermint candy cane and mint humbug) all the way through to more traditional Christmas flavours such as orange, cranberry and even ginger.  But you might want to check out the range from jam makers Tiptree, who have a delightful range of liqueurs made from English fruit. 

The range includes raspberry, strawberry, damson, rhubarb and quince. Sweet, comforting and full of the taste and smell of Christmas, there’ll be a bottle of this in my kitchen this year. Remember, these are not gins, but gin liqueurs. This generally means they are thicker, sweeter and lower in alcohol than proper gin. They make a nice change if you’re looking for something different from your traditional sherry or port.

They also work really well as a cocktail ingredient or even to add a little flavour to a standard G&T. And a little drop in the bottom of a glass of bubbly can change the game forever. We’ve heard that Santa is a bit partial to a little glass alongside his mince pies. It’s the perfect Christmas combo! 

Gin-filled baubles: will they survive to Christmas?

We wait all year for Christmas to come around again. And we all love the idea of gathering the family around to decorate our trees with tinsel, glitter and shiny baubles. But what if those baubles were filled with gin? Well your dreams have come true.  These days, you can buy gin-filled baubles from all your favourite brands. From personal experience, I can confirm that this simple idea really adds the festive element that we all desire at this time of year. And if you prefer, you can always opt for refillable balls that you can top up with your personal favourites.

We’ve had enough of cheap chocolates and tacky trinkets. They do nothing for us.  Gin baubles, on the other hand, is an idea we love.  Once again, they’re going fast, so make sure you get them while you can. 

Indoor fireworks: light your Christmas pudding with Navy Strength gin

For those of us who like a little Christmas pudding, there’s nothing like the thrill (and nervousness) surrounding the lighting of the pudding and the precarious march toward the table desperately hoping that the flaming blue brandy will not spill onto the kitchen floor and burn the house down. As anybody who’s tried to light their own Christmas pudding, it can be a bit tricky to get the thing to burn.

So, here’s an idea. Switch from brandy to Navy Strength gin. We recommend Winchester Distillery’s Navy Strength gin. With a higher proof of 57% ABV, it is much easier to light. But remember to be careful. Top tip: warm the gin up slightly in a saucepan before pouring it on to the pudding and lighting it. The fumes help it to catch light and the show can begin. 

The King of Gin: splash the cash on the world’s most expensive gin

If you’re really into the ultimate gin for Christmas, you could really splash out.  If you’ve won the lottery and have the cash to splash, you could try a bottle of the world’s most expensive gin. Why not treat yourself to a bottle of Morus LXIV.  This English gin is distilled from the leaves of a single ancient Mulberry tree and is made in very small batches.  It takes more than two years to produce this little beauty and it’s packaged in a beautiful hand made white porcelain jar with a matching stirrup cup with a hand embossed leather hide. 

If you’re still feeling generous, I still have some room in my Christmas stocking. Just saying.  There’s still some stock left at Harvey Nicholsfor  around £4000 for a bottle, I’ve never tried it (and at that price I probably never will) But for the person who has everything, this could be the perfect gift.  Maybe next year, Santa?

Go crackers this Christmas: a Christmas tradition to get your party off with a bang

Non-Brits might be a bit confused by the concept of Christmas crackers. Traditionally, these Christmas surprises appear at the Christmas table. They’re basically paper-covered cardboard tubes colorfully wrapped in the shape of a giant bonbon. The idea is that you and the person next to you each pull on the ends of the cracker until it breaks, with a small bang. Inside, tradition dictates that there is a colorful paper crown that you wear at the table; a very bad joke that you read out at the table (to accompanying groans!); and some sort of gift that can range from a bottle opener (in the cheaper ones) to diamonds (in the very expensive ones!).

Somewhere in between, they invented the best ones of all – gin Christmas crackers. And now everybody’s doing them. So, to help you decide which one’s best for you, here’s a handy guide to the best gin Christmas crackers for 2021. A few non-gin ones seem to have snuck into the list. But they are rum and Bailey’s, so what’s not to like!

Gorgeous gin glasses: look good, taste good, feel good

Why is it that gin tastes different in different glasses? We’re not exactly sure if it’s psychological or real, but it always seems to taste better from a pretty glass. While most gin brands offer branded glasses for sale, not everybody wants a big logo on the side of their copa. There are some stunning branded gin glasses out there (think Silent Pool for example).

But for those who’d rather not become a brand advocate, there are some stunning gin glasses available on Amazon (and elsewhere) that will help you to stand out from the crowd. We love these beautiful hand-painted copa glasses. But for a little extra sophistication, check out these little beauties – classic style in an elegant gin glass. Plenty of room in the stocking for a couple of these. Just saying…

Merry Gin-mas everyone!

Make the most of your time with friends, family and loved ones this Christmas. And thanks for all your support in 2021!  Here’s to a brighter, gin-filled 2022!

The Barcelona Gin team

Steve, Marta, Jason (and Ruddles!)


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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Fill your stocking: the 5 gins of Christmas

Well, it’s almost here. The festive lights have been strung out across the streets of Barcelona. London is bedecked in all its Christmas splendour. Cities, towns and villages across the world are about to celebrate Christmas in what are the strangest of circumstances.
Who would have thought this time last year, that an unknown virus would turn our world upside down. Hopefully, most of us will find a way of spending these precious days with the ones we love the most. But many of us won’t be able to.
The thing about Christmas is that it goes on, whatever the circumstances and wherever you are. The festive spirit cannot be beaten and (in one way or another), I’m sure we’ll all be raising a glass of Christmas cheer. Whether it’s toasting the ones closest to us, or raising a glass to absent friends, nothing will stop us from celebrating the best festival of the year.
If you’re a gin lover, you’ll probably be looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. Something different. Something seasonal. So, we thought we’d make it easy for you by sharing some of the festive gins that we think might add a little Christmas sparkle to your celebrations. Check our 5 gins of Christmas out and let us know what you think.

M&S Snow Globe: 20% ABV

The M&S Snow Globe is fast becoming a Christmas classic. This gorgeous bottle contains a blizzard of 23 karat gold leaf flakes which fall gently through the gin to give the effect of falling snow. But this year, they’ve given their globe an upgrade – it’s now illuminated. Yes, that’s correct. The team at M&S have added an LED light which brings the scene to life in the most delightful way.

So, we know the packaging is going to knock you out, but what does it taste like? Well there are two types available this year. We’ve tried the clementine version, which comes in at a modest 20% ABV, (typical for a gin liqueur) and it’s pretty good. Sweet, thick and syrupy, it has a subtle warmth from the alcohol and a lovely, sweet orange flavour. It’s not just fancy packaging – this liqueur is surprisingly nice. It could be the perfect tipple for the Christmas season.

The perfect pour:

  1. Serve neat in a liqueur glass or pour straight over ice in a brandy snifter.
  2. Alternatively, try it long with ice and premium tonic and a slice of orange or cinnamon.
  3. For the full festive treatment, pour just a little into a champagne flute and top up with some delicious Christmas cava.
5 gins of Christmas

Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger: 43% ABV

This gorgeous, winter gin will give you a glow that’s warmer than a log fire. The sweetness of the rhubarb combines with the pepperiness of the ginger to create a gorgeous drink which will make you smile on even the coldest winter day. When those logs are crackling in the grate and it’s dark outside, this is the perfect way to beat those winter blues. Comforting, warm, sweet, fruity and spicy all in one go, Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger (paid link) gin is definitely one you want safely stored in your gin bar to be taken out and enjoyed when the time is right. Some people find this a bit sweet for their tastes, but I love it – especially with lashings of ginger beer to top it up. The guys at Whitley Neil don’t usually get it wrong. This is truly the spirit of Christmas.

The perfect pour:

  1. Fill a large copa glass with large ice cubes.
  2. Pour in a decent measure of gin and fill it to the top with Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
  3. Garnish it with a slice of lemon or a sprig of rosemary.
  4. Throw another log on the fire, sit back and sip.
5 gins of Christmas

Sacred Christmas Pudding gin: 40% ABV

We know everyone has their own tastes and preferences and that’s good – each to their own. We certainly aren’t here to judge. But we’ll go on the record by saying that we’re not big fans of confectionery based gins. That’s why you won’t see many reviews of Candy Cane gin, Chocolate Orange gin, Kola Kubes gin or other crazy, sweet gin-based concoctions.

But we are big fans of truly creative combinations that stand on their own two feet without being diminished with Tizer top-ups or cans of cream soda. We put Sacred Christmas gin (paid link) firmly into that category. Over the years, the guys at Sacred have built a solid reputation for unusual, well priced creative gin styles and we can highly recommend them at any time of year. So, this Christmas, why not treat yourself to a bottle of Sacred Christmas Pudding gin.

Made from distilling real Christmas Puddings steamed for 8 hours according to Great Aunt Nellie’s Victorian recipe (yes, really!) this gin is brimming with familiar Christmas smells. Think raisins, candied peel and a cake-like feel that will take you right back to Christmas lunch, whenever you drink it. This rich and unusual drink works best on its own but also combines well with a G&T, Martini or a Negroni.

The perfect pour:

  1. Best served in a small glass, straight out of the freezer after a meal. Seemples!
5 gins of Christmas

Two Birds Winter Fruits: 37.5% ABV

Sweet, fruity and built around the aromas of winter, this is a beautifully unusual Christmas gin, made with style and panache by the guys at Two Birds. In addition to those lovely Christmas notes on the nose, there’s also plenty of juniper to be found here, reminding you that this is a real gin, not simply a sweet gin liqueur. With its natural sweetness balanced by the warming spices, this is most definitely one for pouring in front of a warm fire, while settling back in your favourite chair.

The perfect pour:

  1. Pour 50ml of Two Birds Winter Fruits gin into a highball glass.
  2. Fill the glass up with large ice cubes, an orange slice and a cinnamon stick to bring out those winter aromas.
  3. Top it up with ginger ale for an extra blast of warmth and you’ve got the perfect fireplace drink.
5 gins of Christmas

Haysmith’s Spiced Plum and Clementine: 37.5% ABV

Haysmith’s Spiced Plum and Clementine gin is one of my personal favourites and the gin buyers at Aldi rarely let us down.

This full strength gin is packed with winter flavours such as plum and clementine.

The result, a gorgeous mixing gin, clean, refreshing and with a warm, rich fruitiness. The ripe plum flavour shines right through this intriguing blend of warm winter spice before succumbing to a seasonal blast of fresh clementine. This gin is delicious at any time of year, but fits the winter season nicely. A full strength gin, in a really pretty bottle, this clocks in at 37.5% ABV. But the good news is that you can check out with one from Aldi for less than £15.

Definitely stick one of these of your Santa’s list this year – it goes perfectly with his favourite mince pies. Don’t give any to Rudolph though – he’s driving!

The perfect pour:

  1. Serve in a copa glass, filled with large ice cubes
  2. Fill to the rim with Fevertree Indian Tonic Water
  3. Or if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, pair it with ginger beer or Fevertree Clementine tonic water
  4. Garnish with a slice of orange or a cinnamon stick and you’re all set to get into the Christmas spirit.
5 gins of Christmas

Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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