Five local swaps for classic Christmas drinks!

Top five local swaps for classic Christmas drinks

There’s nothing like Christmas as a time to dust off old bottles from the back of the cupboard and rediscover our love for retro drinks that we’d never normally dream of passing our lips. We’ve been known to partake in the odd snowball and cream sherry over the season (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!), but have you thought about the smorgasbord of winter warmers that are made much closer to home? We explore five locally made tipples that could replace your festive favourites and are guaranteed to warm you heart, and your belly this Christmas…


1. Drop the dessert wine

Christmas is the time that many invest in a sweet treat for the dinner table. Dessert wines might be the go to, but did you know that just down the M5, the team at Burrow Hill Cider are doing incredible things with apples? If you take a risk and give this innovative cider a try, you’ll never turn back.

Ice Cider, Burrow Hill Cider, 11.5%, £16.99 (St Werburghs only)

Ice Cider is made by freezing the apple juice and removing the ice (which is the water). The remaining naturally concentrated juice is then fermented, taking over 100 apples to make just one bottle of Ice Cider. Full of aromas of baked apple and honey, brimming with a toffee apple taste and a crisp, refreshing finish?.

2. Upgrade your Port to porter

Ok, so this isn’t an obvious switch, but bear with us…if you love the spicy, dark fruit flavours of a good Port, this dark beer will be right up your street. People say that beers taste best, and freshest, close to source, and it doesn’t get much closer than the brilliant Arbor Ales in Easton.

RUM-D.R.C. Rum Porter Arbor Ales, 6.5%, £3.75

Brewed by Arbor Ales in collaboration with Good Chemistry, this rum porter takes its name from the Double Roasted Crystal malt used in the recipe. Full of caramel, dried fruit, coffee and chocolate flavours. Rum and raisin anyone?


3. Move over mulled wine

Barley Wood Orchard, just down the road in Wrington, is a firm staff favourite at Better Food. Simply because their ciders are so full of flavour, and so, so local to Bristol. Forget about mulled wine this season and mull your local cider. We recommend experimenting with your own blend of spices, starting off with cinnamon, star anise and cloves as a base. There is an argument that a cider this good shouldn’t be mulled, but we think that it makes the end result even more special.

Sparkling Medium Dry Cider, Barleywood Orchard, ABV varies by batch, £2.99

This medium dry sparkling cider is made from a selection of traditional bittersweet and sharp cider apples. It’s clean, crisp, fruity and easy drinking and great with food.


4. Love fizz, love local

Tired of Champagne and Prosecco this season? Lucky you! But seriously, if you’re looking for a light, refreshing and gently sparkling aperitif to start a meal or celebration you can’t get better than trying out this delicious mead from the new and innovative Wye Valley Meadery, based just across the Severn Bridge.

Honey & Rhubarb Sparkling Mead, Wye Valley Meadery, 5.5%, £3.50

Matt and Kit make mead with honey from their own bees in Chepstow. Delicious and a welcome reminder of summer.


5. What could be better than sloe gin?

When we considered alternatives to sloe gin, we quickly realised that it wasn’t really going to be possible to beat this British classic. So, don’t let us stand in the way of you and this winter favourite. But do think about where you can buy the best tasting and most local option. We love 6 O’Clock Gin for their commitment to producing the best tasting gins possible, just north of Bristol in Thornbury. They leave the sloes to soak in their signature London Dry Gin for 6 months – twice as long as most producers. And we think you will taste the difference.

Sloe Gin, 6 O’Clock Gin, 26%, £39.50

Generous quantities of hand-picked hedgerow sloes combined with a lengthy maturation process achieves a smooth, intensely rich and fruity flavour that retains some of that just-picked tartness.