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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gin gifts

Gin presents: 5 stocking stuffers under £20

Santa has been following your every move all year long. He already knows who’s been naughty or nice and the great reckoning is about to begin. What gin presents could be in the offing?

I’m working on the assumption that all of our members have been nice this year and deserve a little gin happiness in their Christmas stockings. Gone are the days when we would all turn down pages of the Argos catalogue in the hope that our parents would pick up the book and take the hint. These days, we have to be a bit more assertive in our Christmas selections. And with the gin revolution now in full flow, we thought we’d give you (and Santa) a little ginspiration for gin presents in 2020. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for someone you love, there’s plenty of good gin stuff for Santa to pack into his sack for you this year.

So, here’s part one of the Barcelona gin presents Christmas list. Today, we’ll concentrate on gin presents that might just end up in your stocking on Christmas Eve. And if you’re lucky enough to be on the “good” list, then please don’t forget to say thanks – Santa is partial to a drop of gin along with his mince pies. Nothing for the reindeers, on the other hand. They’re driving.

PS: At the time of publication, everything on this list was available for under £20. Our next gin presents list will be raising the budget a little more!

1. Boozy gin baubles: gin presents filled with Christmas spirit

We know these are a bit obvious, but these days no gin lover should put up their Christmas tree without a decent selection of gin baubles spread out across the branches. There are a whole load of different ways to load your tree with gin and apparently baubles are now all the rage. Some baubles come empty and you can fill them as you please. Others come already filled to the brim with gin, so you’ll need to choose the right product if you’re going to get what you want.

We think this 12 pack of refillable gin baubles could be just the thing to get that Christmas spirit flowing. The pack includes 12 refillable booze balls, a sheet of Christmas gin stickers to decorate them with and (crucially) a small plastic funnel so that you don’t spill any gin when you’re filling them up. They’ve thought of everything – and since you’re filling them yourself, you’ll never be disappointed.

Each bauble is big enough to hold a decent slug of gin (90ml). The trick is making them last until Christmas. But since these are refillable, it doesn’t really matter – when one’s empty you can always fill it up again!

Nobody will ever know.

2. Gin art: turn your empty bottles into little glass lights

If you’re an avid gin collector, you’ll already know just how easy it is to empty a bottle of gin. But what do you do with the bottles once you’re done with them? With so many stunning bottles around now (many of which could almost be works of art in themselves) why consign them to the recycling bin and have them ground down when you could always recycle them yourself into something delightful.

These lovely (and easy) gin lights will turn any empty, clear bottle into a stunning bar feature. Simply feed the micro thin wire into the bottle of your choice, put the plastic cork in the top and switch on. They’ll twinkle and shine for ages, adding a touch of gin style to anybody’s Christmas decorations. They’re also great outdoors for barbecues when the weather gets a bit warmer. They look gorgeous shimmering from inside a bottle of Silent Pool, they’ll dazzle you from behind the glass of an empty Gin Mare bottle and they’ll add some sparkle once you’re all done with your Drumshambo Gunpowder gin.

But we’re sure you’ll have a wide selection of your own empty bottles to choose from come the end of the year. Whatever works best for you…

A really simple idea that will light up the room with festive sparkle for Christmas and beyond.

3. GIN: The Manual

We all love our gin – I guess if we didn’t we’d all be on a different site right now. But how much do we all know about the drink we love? Introducing GIN: The Manual. This fabulous book, written by award-winning drinks writer Dave Broom is the perfect book to bring you up to speed quickly with the things you need to know about the drink you love.

In 224 fun, fact-packed pages, he takes you on a journey through the world of gin, starting with a fascinating look into its (often dark) history. He also provides simple, details of the production process, introduces the most common flavour profiles, takes a look at the world of mixers and offers some easy recipes for classic gin cocktails.

Then, there’s a whole section on gins of the world including ratings, botanicals, flavour camps and pairing/cocktail recommendations. He then round this all off with a selection of gin-based cocktail recipes. Basically, this book will make you look like an expert in minutes – and if you read it properly and follow the advice, you’ll be a gin pro before you know it. This is the perfect stocking filler for gin lovers who want to learn more, but in a fun and enjoyable format.

4. Metal gin straws: ban the plastic

With climate change on the tip of everybody’s tongues and recycling finally becoming a standard part of 21st century life, most of us understand the vital importance of recycling our waste. And this year, the spotlight shone brightly on the scourge of plastic straws. The UK alone uses (and throws away) more than 8.5 billion plastic straws each year – and we barely give it a second thought. But now we know the truth.

Once we throw them away, plastic straws break down into ever smaller particles, releasing toxic chemicals into the soil, water and air. These chemicals are harmful to animals, plants, people and the environment. In fact, shockingly, over one million seabirds and more than 100,000 mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. But there’s an easy solution.

If straws are your thing and you can’t make your favourite cocktail without them, then check out these reusable, plastic free, eco-friendly metal drinking straws from AUNEK. This 16 piece stainless steel set includes straight metal straws and bendy metal straws in both large and small versions.

These stainless steel straws are the perfect solution to the gin drinker’s eco challenge. They even come with 4 cleaning brushes. Perfect for your G&T, cocktail, or fruit smoothie, these straws will not only do good, but they’ll make you feel good as well. One less thing to feel guilty about this Christmas.

5. Gin truffles: gin presents with a lemon twist

So, for the ultimate sweet gin indulgence, how about a gorgeous mix of PRESTAT London Gin Truffles. These guys were officially appointed chocolate makers to the Queen way back in 1909 – and we know that Her Maj is partial to a gin and tonic. But we weren’t aware of her other apparent love – chocolate. PRESTAT of London have taken a rich dark chocolate ganache, flavoured it with gin and infused it with lemon and juniper berries before enrobing it in creamy white chocolate.

The regal green and gold box features instantly recognisable London icons such as Big Ben and the Tower of London’s Beefeaters, so you’ll be in no doubt about where they’re from. But the real kicker here is that these delectable truffles have been made as a tribute to a London gin and lemon fizz cocktail – with a secret ingredient that gives these chocolates a gentle gin “fizz”.

Note: please check allergy advice before purchasing this product


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