The best Christmas cocktails to order at Edinburgh's bars

From a festive grasshopper to an aged eggnog

Published 1st Dec 2021
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Remember when the only Christmas cocktail was a snowball?

These days, bars are way more inventive, when it comes to creating suitably festive drinks. We asked a few Edinburgh mixologists what their signature serves are this Christmas and Twixmas.

WHITE FOREST GATEAUThe Alchemist, 401-403 St James Square,

They’ve got a few festive cocktails at this new place, though they recommend this sweet number - a tribute to the German chocolate and cherry cake. It contains Ketel One Vodka, Briottet Maraschino, Chambord, Gifford Chocolate Cookie Syrup, cranberry juice and a frosted mountain of white chocolate foam.

White Forest Gateau

AGED EGGNOG at Lucky Liquor Co, 39a Queen Street,

This limited-edition drink contains milk, cream, eggs, spice, brandy and a blend of brandy and bourbon, and is always a seasonal sell out at this city centre bar, so get your skates on. Apparently, the eggnog was originally invented by monks in medieval times, as a sort of ale-based posset. These days, it might calm the nerves after a stressful Christmas shopping spree.

CHERRY MANHATTAN, Raging Bull, 161 Lothian Road,

This bar has gone sophisticated with this scarlet drink, which isn’t quite as sweet as some of the other festive cocktails. It’s a mix of the traditional Manhattan ingredient of bourbon, as well as maraschino liqueur, sweet vermouth, cherry bitter and a single maraschino cherry. NB It’s served in a Nick and Nora glass, which is named after the couple in the Dashiell Hammett book, The Thin Man.

Raging Bull's Cherry Manhattan

FESTIVE OLD FASHIONED, Hey Palu, 49 Bread Street,

Inspired by Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, this modern Italian bar will make you something festive to suit a sophisticate. Their Christmas take on a classic old-fashioned features Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Amaro Averna, tonka bean syrup and a dash of orange bitter, garnished with orange zest and a star anise. It’s available throughout December in the bar, and as one of their ready-to-drink Hey Palu at Home cocktails. No dancing in the Ross Fountain after one of these.

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CRANBERRY & CHESTNUTJohnnie Walker 1820 Rooftop Bar, 145 Princes Street,

Try this blend, which includes Johnnie Walker Red Label and Amer Picon, or their Orange & Caraway with Chase Potato Vodka, Godello and a few other secret ingredients. These are served at the rooftop bar, though if you visit the Explorers’ Bothy, they’re offering the Smoky Giggle Juice, with Lagavulin 16, Aelder Wild Elderberry Elixir, Guinness Reduction, Amaro and Lagavulin Ice Cream.

Lady Libertine

GRASSHOPPER, Lady Libertine, 25 West Register Street, Edinburgh,

The mixologists at Lady Libertine have updated their cocktail menu with some seasonal flavours, including their take on a classic Grasshopper. It contains Remy VSOP, menthe liquer, cacao, house bitters and vanilla cream, for a taste that, they say, is reminiscent of After Eights or Mint Aero.

ABERFELDY HOT TODDY, Forth Floor Bar, Harvey Nichols, 30-34 St Andrew Square,

The best Edinburgh restaurants and bars to try in the run up to Christmas

As well as hot buttered rum and mulled wine, this bar is offering this cocktail, which contains Aberfeldy 12-year-old-Single Malt, lemon, honey syrup, cloves and cocktails. If you buy a bottle of this whisky, you’ll be entered into a competition to win a trip for two to the distillery, and, even if you don’t win, you’ll get a voucher to try a hot toddy for £5, usually £9.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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