Christmas is pretty much the only day of the year where ingesting a constant stream of different types of alcohol isn’t actually frowned upon.
But what types of booze should you be drinking and at what point during the day? With dinner? With some cheese? With your stocking? With the Christmas specials on TV?
Here’s our guide to making sure you never have an empty glass in your hand.
Christmas morning – Bubbles
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some sparkle in your glass, but if popping the cork feels a bit wrong first thing in the morning, soften the blow with some OJ for the old festive favourite Buck’s Fizz – perfect for greeting guests as you eye up the presents they’re bringing in from the car.
If you find yourself nursing a headache from some overdone Christmas Eve celebrations, perhaps the more appropriate pick-me-up would be a Bloody Mary. But make it that bit special by really going to town on all the trimmings – we’re thinking pickles, olives, and see if you can *borrow* a prawn from the prawn cocktail and a blanket from the pigs in blankets.
And if you simply can’t decide between the two, then don’t get too excited when you hear Bloody Buck’s Fizz because it isn’t actually a mix of the two (we’re not sure tomato juice and champagne would be a great combo anyway). It’s with a squeeze of blood orange instead of standard orange orange, and makes a delicious little twist.
Post-walk – Hot toddy
If one of your Christmas traditions is going for a brisk walk, you’ll know there’s nothing nicer than returning home to a winter warmer to get you back up to normal temperature.
The possibilities are endless with this one – you could add whiskey to some heated apple juice, or vodka with warmed cranberry juice, and finish them off with some cinnamon and honey.
Pre-dinner – Festive aperitif
If you’re partial to a gin and tonic (who isn’t?) then this is as good a time as any to whip one up. It’s light enough to be enjoyed at this hour and its refreshingness – especially with a slice of lime – will get your palate all excited for the impending delicious-smelling lunch which is starting to waft in from the kitchen. Or for something different, why not try mixing with ginger ale instead – the benefits of ginger for digestion know no bounds, so it should help get your stomach in tip top working order.
You may fancy going Italiano instead and get the Campari and Aperol out. Your options then could be a classic Negroni (equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari with a sliver of orange peel) or an Aperol Spritz (with some leftover prosecco from breakfast – if you have any – and a big slice of orange).
Try to resist the nibbles, though – you don’t want to be scolded that “you’re going to spoil your lunch” again.
The main event – Not just a time for wine
People get very stressed about what to pair their main with but luckily, if you’re a traditionalist having turkey, the bird goes well with white or red – but not all whites or reds. The fundamental rule seems to be match the weight of your main (in terms of richness, not actual weight) with the body of your wine – so a hearty bird like turkey works well with medium-full bodied vino.
If you fancy trying something a bit different this year, why not reach for a good British ale? IPAs can be as complex in flavour as wine and being full bodied, the same rules apply. Also since oven roasted food goes through a similar process to roasted malts used in amber or darker coloured beer, they’re also a great match for your dinner. Or even a dry crisp cider to cut through all the stodge would do the trick if that’s more to your taste.
After dinner – Cheeky coffee
Your stomach will probably be stretched out more than you knew was physically possible by this point so it’s time to balance all that sweet Christmas dessert with some bitterness.
A nice rich coffee with a splash of Disaronno, amaretto or Cointreau will sort you out nicely while still retaining a socially acceptable level of tipsiness.
A nap might be advisable some time around now though.
Cheese on your plate – something sweet in your glass
If you resurface and feel those inevitable yet fairly inexplicable hunger pangs, it means a cheese board is calling.
A glass of sweet and sharp sherry or port make the perfect combo with your savoury selection – and you should probably throw some fruit in there to attempt to make up for the lack of anything particularly healthy in your body at this point.
Into the eve – Time to go darker
As the day starts to wind down and the darkness draws in, so should the colour of your drink.
For some, a neat whisky or cognac will probably be calling – or, classier still, why not mix the whisky with some of that vermouth from earlier and some bitters for a Manhattan. A coffee liqueur also makes a sweet nightcap and can be transformed into a delicious White Russian with the help of some vodka and milk or cream. Perhaps an espresso Martini would do it for you instead if you’re feeling like ending the day on a sassy cosmopolitan note.
Enjoy with a few choccies as you fall asleep, happy and full, in front of the telly.