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Tips from the Wine Tipster on...


Deliciously stunning cocktails, mocktails and digestifs will shake up this year’s much-anticipated festivities, so Neil Phillips ‘The Wine Tipster’ is on hand with his latest Yuletide selections. As Jockey Club Catering’s resident wine expert, he recommends what wow-factor drinks to savour over Christmas and stylishly ring in the New Year.



You’ve got your bubbles carefully chosen and festive wines in order; now it’s time to put the icing on the Christmas cake with easy-to-make and serve cocktails, mocktails, mixed drinks and digestifs.


A touch a fizz always delivers, so reach for the bubbles! ‘La Favorite’ is an elegant and crowd-pleasing cocktail that pays tribute to one of Moët & Chandon’s most influential patrons, the Marquise of Pompadour. She’s recognised for helping to cement this Grand Marques’ champagne as a must-have drink at the palace of Versailles.


‘La Favorite’ features Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial Champagne, available from Tesco and Sainsburys (£46 - £54, or £27 as a multibuy). It also stars the marvelous Bénédictine D.O.M., arguably one of the finest liqueurs available that’s made to a secret recipe of French Benedictine monks dating back to 1510. Bénédictine is available from Morrisons and ASDA (£18-£19) and is equally as delicious when sipped neat.



75 ml Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial

10 ml Bénédictine D.O.M.

15 ml Lemon Juice

15 ml Honey Syrup


Method (video here)

Pour the Bénédictine D.O.M., lemon juice and honey syrup into a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice cubes, strain into a champagne flute and top with Rosé Impérial.


I love the quality and convenience of using Monin Miel Honey Syrup in this recipe. Available from Master of Malt (£7.81), it tastes wonderful and doesn’t solidify in an ice-filled cocktail shaker.











Another way to add extra-special spritz to every toast is with an ‘Aperol Spritz’. Aperol is an iconic drink from Italy that rivals the vibrant colour and sweetness of seasonal oranges nestled in mantelpiece stockings. When combined with a crisp Prosecco DOC wine to create an ‘Aperol Spritz’, sparks fly.


Ingredients (video here)

60 ml Aperol (2 parts)

90 ml Dry Prosecco DOC (3 parts)

30 ml Soda

Orange Slice



Fill a white wine glass with ice and pour in three parts of Prosecco DOC (9cl), two parts of Aperol (6cl) and a splash of soda (3cl). Garnish with an orange slice.


Aperol is available in retailers including Waitrose and Morrisons (£13-£16). If you prefer a sweeter and more fruitier twist, switch out the regular soda for Fever Tree Italian Blood Orange Soda available from Sainsburys and Tesco (£1.90).


If your guests prefer a drier-style spritz cocktail, then Select Aperitivo is a versatile Italian bitter that’s great in a variety of cocktails, including the ‘Venetian Spritz’. Made using the same quantities and method above, switch out the ‘two parts’ of Aperol for Select Aperitivo and garnish with a green olive in place of the orange slice.


Select Aperitivo is available from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange (£16.79 - £17.45).


Prosecco DOC wines are recommended for these recipes, and a top choice is gold-medal winning Ruggeri Argeo Prosecco DOC Brut available from The Great Wine Co. (£15.50, currently £12.20).



Always be ready for classic cocktail requests by having a quality Vermouth to hand. The complex flavours of this fortified wine add great depth to a wide range of cocktails like Manhattans, Martinis, Americanos and Negronis (vermouth also tastes great mixed with just tonic or soda).


Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino is a top bet, offering complex flavours and a classic bittersweet character. This award-winning Italian Vermouth is available in Waitrose (£15.50 for 50cl) and was voted ‘Top Trending’ and ‘Best Selling’ Vermouth for 2020 in the World's 100 Best Bars.





Gin tastes incredible in a huge variety of cocktails, including those featuring classically festive tastes and aromatics like sweet honey, earthy hazelnut, warming liquor, winter citrus fruits and tart cranberry. Whether you plan to mix up a true taste of Christmas, or a warming hot gin punch for a larger group, it’s one of the most versatile must-have spirits.


A quintessential London Dry Gin is always a great choice, and Beefeater Dry London Gin is one of my favourites. The botanicals are steeped for 24 hours prior to distillation resulting in a complex, yet perfectly balanced gin offering a remarkably clean flavour, bold juniper character and strong citrus notes. It’s widely available in supermarkets including ASDA, Tesco and Waitrose (£14 - £18).


If you’d like to add a Mediterranean twist to your festive creations, Léoube Mediterranean Gin is a great choice. Available from Daylesford (£50), this French gin is distilled with botanicals including olives and wild Mediterranean herbs to create a beautifully subtle taste.



The award-winning Glenfarclas 25 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is the perfect dram for savouring. Offering stunning Christmas cake aromas and a gorgeous dark chocolate taste, it’s rich, full of character and has an exceptionally long finish. This refined whisky is perfect as an after-dinner digestif – a delicious dessert in itself.


Glenfarclas 25 Year Old is available from The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt and Amathus (£215).




When it comes to flavour and style, non-alcoholic cocktails made using first-class ingredients are front runners.


If you’re looking to recreate a classic G&T or a stunning gin cocktail, Gordon’s Alcohol Free 0.0% is just the ticket. Available from ASDA and Sainsbury’s (£14 - £15), it’s made using the same finest distilled botanicals as the original Gordon’s London Dry Gin – giving a bold and juniper-led character.


For a sophisticated festive sparkler, Jukes Sparkling Pinot Noir is an esteemed no-alcohol alternative that delivers on both taste and bubbles. Designed by renowned wine expert Matthew Jukes using all-natural ingredients, it’s available in convenient 250 ml cans from Waitrose Cellar and Wine Delivered (£10.25 - £15 for a pack of four). It’s stunning on its own, and its delicate red cherry and raspberry flavours make it equally as spectacular in festive mocktails; simply add ice cubes and garnish with raspberries and pomegranate – delish!

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