Delicious botanical drinks for a very merry Christmas
Our pick of the best alcoholic botanical drinks to enjoy over Christmas and New Year
Christmas is a great opportunity to buy and try a new tipple or two. Whether you want to add an extra tasty bottle to your festive drinks selection or need a great last-minute Secret Santa gift, our selection of boozy botanical drinks can help.
Botanicals lift and elevate flavour, and there is a whole host of delicious botanical drinks to choose from. In our list, we’ve included a dark Welsh rum with a seaweed twist, a British vermouth made with plants native to the South Downs, and an extra special gin distilled from 48 rare apple cultivars.
Browse the list and enjoy drinking something new and flavourful during the holidays. Here’s our pick of the best alcoholic botanical drinks for a very merry Christmas.
Here's our Christmas gift guide for gardening gift ideas
The best botanical drinks for a very Merry Christmas
Ketel One Botanicals
A fresh take on vodka. The Ketel One Botanicals range includes three flavours: Grapefruit & Rose, Cucumber & Mint and Peach & Orange Blossom. Starting with Ketel One vodka, they distil each botanical in batches to create a flavoured vodka that’s lower in ABV spirit but tastes crisp and sophisticated.
NcNean Organic Aged Botanical Spirit Set
Made in Scotland, NcNean has a sustainable ethos and an experimental approach to their distilling process. These botanical spirits are aged in different casks to add flavour. The bourbon has rich vanilla notes, the Mondino is bittersweet, and the Vermouth has an herbal complexity. The trio are made for mixing; either as a highball with a mixer or used in cocktails. You’ll find recipe ideas on their website. Beautifully packaged in an illustrated box, these would make a lovely gift or a stocking filler for someone special.
Brecon Botanicals Gin
Gin is usually what comes to mind when you think of a botanical spirit. Brecon Botanicals Gin from Penderyn Distillery in the Welsh hills has made our list because its tasty blend is a crowd pleaser. The traditional juniper flavour is mixed with coriander and cinnamon but when you add a mixer, more citrus flavours come through. Makes a very drinkable G&T and a delicious martini.
Emperical Spirits: The Plum I Suppose
Taking its name from a line in Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Rose Family’, The Plum I Suppose doesn’t associate itself with a particular spirit. It’s a sweet and floral blend of pilsner malt, pearl barley and koji, but uses dried plum kernels and marigolds for a botanical boost. Distilled in Copenhagen, this Danish drink exudes Scandinavian cool inside and out.
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Bardi Ddu Rum
- Buy now from Barti (£30)
Barti Ddu is a spiced spirit from Pembrokeshire made with Caribbean rum and hand-picked laver seaweed from the Pembrokeshire coast. The savoury, or umami notes from the seaweed compliments the other botanicals used to flavour the rum and it helps to make the spirit incredibly smooth. It’s brilliant when enjoyed neat over ice or, if you’re looking for a winter warmer, mixed with ginger beer.
Mad City Botanical Rum
Coconut, orange, roasted coffee beans, and a blend of rums from across the Caribbean, flavour this botanical rum. Passionate about using surplus ingredients, their rum is made from a natural by-product of the sugar industry, sugar cane molasses. It’s a smooth white rum with a more-ish depth of flavour that’s perfect for cocktails.
Chase Williams Elegant 48 Gin
Apple isn’t a botanical commonly associated with gin, but Chase have used 48 rare varieties of apple from their 200-year-old orchards to make their Williams Elegant 48 Gin. It’s not all apples though. Juniper makes an appearance, of course. As does elderflower, hops, citrus peel, a mix of wild botanicals from Chase's meadow and fresh water from their spring.
Highland Boundary Larch & Honeysuckle
- Buy now from Highland Boundary (£29)
Not a gin, or a vodka – although you drink it in a similar way to both – Highland Boundary describe themselves as a wild and modern Scottish spirit with a light, vanilla, and fruity aroma. They distil larch buds and handpicked honeysuckle flowers to create their unique spirit and it works when sipped over ice or topped with your favourite mixer.
No.1 Amber Lima Vermouth
- Buy now from The London Vermouth Company (£25)
Vermouth is one of the most traditional botanical spirits. Although originating in Europe, there are now a few small distillers in the UK taking an interest and creating a very British take on the European Aperitivo tradition such as The London Vermouth Company. Their No.1 Amber Limon Vermouth won a great taste award in 2021. It’s made with locally sourced botanicals including Kentish rhubarb and Surrey honey. It’s a little bitter and a little dry. If you know a budding mixologist, this is a gift for them.
Astley Bros Estate English Sweet Vermouth
Another British vermouth to try. This is a sweet ‘rosso’ style vermouth made by infusing 31 botanicals with English Pinot Noir grapes. Delicious in a Negroni, it has notes of orange, cacao, rosemary, and wormwood. Complex and aromatic, it's an indulgent bottle to have on the shelf, ready for when all the festivity moves you to make something a little bit special.
Don't miss our guide to the best gins with botanicals.
Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.
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