Get into the holiday spirit with these…

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Get into the holiday spirit with these…

With the holidays fast approaching, there’s no better way to celebrate than by inviting your friends and family over to your own home for some good old-fashioned hospitality.  The sharing of food with friends is so much better if you’re coupling it with great drinks.

There’s a ton of cocktails that you can easily make yourself, to accompany each phase of the evening.

There are four types of drinks: the drink without food, the drink with food, the drink before food and the drink after food. The aperitif is the drink that is consumed before your meal. It is designed to propel your appetite into overdrive. Classic pre-dinner drinks can include champagne, vermouth, gin, calvados brandy, cognac, ouzo and dry sherry.

The digestif is the drink that is consumed after a meal. Once you’ve eaten a heavy meal, the digestif is designed to help you with digesting it. That’s where the after dinner drink comes in.

Classic post-dinner drinks include Grand Marnier, Schnapps, sweet brandy, port, drambuie, limoncello, amaro, kahlua, whiskey or a cocktail containing any of the above named.

Norman Goodfellows has put together a very easy guide for you here with our favourite recipe for each phase.

Arrival Drinks

As your guests start to arrive, there’s no better way to make them feel more welcome, than by serving them a delicious cocktail. A simple glass of bubbly will do the trick!


Get your guests appetites prepared for the delicious meal ahead. Serving a cocktail before dinner is both a nice gesture for your guests, but also serves a purpose. This is the before dinner drink which prepares the stomach for food and the palate for the delicious tastes it is about to enjoy. They can be served to guests at an elegant dinner party or enjoyed any night of the week at home.


Campari is the key to the Negroni, which is one of the best aperitifs you will find. It is a simple, sophisticated cocktail that is considered a classic and you will want to make sure you serve it at your dinner party.



  • Combine gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass.
  • Stir gently and garnish with an orange twist.
  • Tradition is to serve it straight up in a Martini glass but top it up with Prosecco for something a bit more celebratory.

After Dinner Drinks

Espresso Martini

The night is still young! Serve your guests an incredible Espresso Martini to complement the desert. The caffeine in the espresso will also perk them up after a heavy meal.

The Espresso martini is a very modern drink based on an old classic, with a clean clear hint of vodka, rich creamy flavours and a touch of delicious bitterness.



  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Add Smirnoff Espresso Vodka, Baileys, Fresh espresso coffee (cold) and honey to the shaker and give it a good shake!
  • Using a cocktail strainer, strain into a large martini glass.
  • Garnish with some loose coffee beans.


Supposedly, the digstif is the most important drink of the night as it’s designed to aid in the digestion of meal you’ve just been served.

So, after dinner and desert, retire to more comfortable seats and serve your guests a delicious Whisky cocktail to end off the night!

Whiskey Cocktails

Naturally it is the two most famous American whiskey cocktails that lead themselves to be on the digestif list – the Old Fashioned and Manhattan are rich nightcaps that work perfectly after the exertions of a meal.




  • Place the sugar cube (or 1/2 teaspoon loose sugar) in an Old-Fashioned glass.
  • Wet it down with 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and a short splash of soda water.
  • Crush the sugar.
  • Rotate the glass so that the sugar grains and bitters give it a lining.
  • Add a large ice cube.
  • Pour in the rye (or bourbon).
  • Serve with a stirring rod.




  • Fill a short glass 2/3 full with ice.
  • Add bitters, vermouth, and bourbon.
  • Add cherry (and crush it against the side of the glass with a spoon).
  • Stir.

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