Sit a-while and listen to our tales of drinks pairing perfection, and learn how you too could eat and drink your way to merriment this Christmas.
Festive meals can be a bit stressful to plan. Cooking for a large group of folk when you’re not used to doing it seems like a big task, and after you add in all the special side dishes and deserts, cheese boards and post-dinner boardgame snacks, it’s beginning to look a lot like a nightmare. The last thing you want is to have to think about what drinks to pair with what on top of all that.
Or, maybe you’re a grateful guest, looking for the ideal selection of booze to bring with you.
“Just bring something to drink!” you were told. But what??
Relax. It’s not that deep. Let us do the choosing for you, so that all you have to do is memorise a few deets from below and pour with confidence. An instant home sommelier and general all-round Christmas winner.
The Door-Opener, Festive-Greeter and Merriment-Beginner
Nothing feels better than opening the door with a glass of something fizzy and fancy for your newly-arriving guests. It’s about the only time we feel anything close to how we imagine it feels to be Nigella Lawson.
If you’re looking for something a little different (and a little more budget-friendly) then I heartily recommend choosing Little Pomona — First Waltz.
Yes, it’s a cider, but we promise you’ve never tried a cider like this one before. It’s a wild-fermented pét-nat (naturally fizzy, basically) cider, made with Ellis Bitter, Dabinett, cryo-conditioned Egremont Russet apples and perry pears and aged in bourbon barrels, giving it a beautiful aromatic lightness and peachy complexity. It is a joy. Serve in champagne flutes cool, but not too cold.
Starters: Here We Go
If you’re not having smoked salmon or prawn cocktail or a delicious veggie option made with asparagus — what on earth are you having? It is the law to be eating one of the above as your starter for Christmas dinner, and to put your paper cracker hat on before you eat it.
With seafood or a light vegetable starter, we’d normally recommend a dry white wine to lift and brighten like a squeeze of lemon juice, and to cut through any lingering creaminess in your chosen sauces (be they hollandaise, marie rose or mayo — no judgements).
We all agree that Mikaël Bouges — French Clara is Corto’s white wine of the year. A fresh, natural, minerally Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, it’s got a super-delightful aroma of bright berries; raspberries, maybe? Cranberries? Could be.
The Main Event
Whether you’re having turkey or goose, nut roast or wild mushroom wellington, beef, pork or salt-baked cod, we’re gonna be honest — it’s impossible to really pair a drink perfectly with a meal that has so many different elements.
What we suggest is choosing a star flavour from your meal and picking a drink to suit it.
Pair the best bits of Christmas dinner (roast potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce) with Judith Beck – Ink, an Austrian red with surprising subtle acidity and spicy tannins. It’s light body means it goes down easy, and won’t lay heavily on white meat, poultry and veg.
Are you having pudding? We’ll have pudding if you’re having pudding.
Everybody say “Ooh!” because the Christmas pud is being carried to the table, alight, regal, majestic.
We’d choose De Dolle Brouwerij — Stille Nacht for its festive spice and moreish sweetness to pair here. Belgian beer is often a perfect match for food, and Stille Nacht, while on the sweet side, has enough prickly, estery spice to sharpen it up.
Cheese, biscuits, Quality Street, Scrabble
Honestly you need some barleywine in that glass you’ve got there. Pass it over.
Rivington — Barley Wine 2021 is a beautiful accompaniment to an evening of snacks, cheese, sofa naps and board games. Forget Port (sorry Port.)
This is the very same barley wine as we’ve been enjoying pouring on tap the past week or so, presented in a beaut 750ml wax-dipped bottle, and we wholeheartledly love it.
Buy the Pack
Grab everything on this list in a super-convenient pack!
1 x Little Pomona — First Waltz
1 x Mikaël Bouges — French Clara
1 x Judith Beck — Ink
1 x De Dolle Brouwerij — Stille Nacht
1 x Rivington — Barley Wine 2021
All for £66 — a £16 saving on our regular take-out prices. WOW.
If you’re looking for something really special to celebrate with around the table, we are taking pre-orders for Marie Courtin — Efflorescence, a truly special biodynamic champagne.
Naturally grown, made with as little intervention as possible, no sulphites added. A gorgeous representation of what natural champagne can really be. It is £60 per bottle, and we think it’s worth every penny. Let us know if you want some and we’ll get it ordered for you.
Serve with oysters, smoked salmon blinis or in the bath.