Looking for some Christmas cheer? Guide to the UK's best festive cocktails

Bored of mulled wine? How about something a bit different?

Updated: 

The five festive cocktails at Dirty Martini

Christmas is the busiest time of year, with shopping, socialising and family top of the agenda.

It's also a good time to press pause on the diet and indulge yourself with your favourite foods and drink.

However, if mulled wine or cider leaves you uninspired, perhaps you'd prefer a special Christmas cocktail from one of the UK's top bars and restaurants.

Some of the nation's top mixologists have put on their thinking hats and made some creative, festive concoctions to help you get merry this Christmas.

Here is AOL UK's guide to the top tipples in town.

- Dirty Martini (Cardiff, Leeds, London and Manchester)

Sleek cocktail bar chain Dirty Martini offers more than just its namesake drink and is famous for its generous happy hour. This Christmas, the 10 locations will be serving five festive creations at £9 each. The Bellringer (Amaretto Disaronno, cranberry juice, blood orange syrup, topped with Prosecco), Dirty Grinch (Havana 3yr Rum, Briottet Crème de Cacao, Crème de Menthe, Butterscotch Schnapps, double cream, dark chocolate pencils and fresh mint leaves, garnished with After Eight), Christmas Cheer (Bols Genever and Tanqueray Gin, Cherry Heering liqueur, homemade raspberry syrup, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, pomegranate juice and orange bitters), Mince Chai (Bold London Spirit, Bitter Truth Pimento Dram, gingerbread syrup, chai tea syrup, pressed apple juice, egg white, citric acid and Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters) and Quince & Walnut Old Fashioned (Jim Beam Bourbon over ice with Manzanilla Sherry, Mandarin Napoleon liqueur, quince jelly, muddled walnuts, Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters and Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters).

Dirty Martini, various locations in Cardiff, Leeds, London and Manchester.

A Candy Cane Cosmo at The Hill

- The Hill (Glasgow)

This stylish bar in the West End of Glasgow has created a festive menu of five different cocktails. They range in price from £5.10-£7.50 and are on sale until Christmas Eve. The choices include Sloe Gin Fizz (Sloe Gin, Tanqueray Gin, Lemon Juice topped with Prosecco); Candy Cane Cosmo (Vodka, Peppermint Schnapps and Cranberry & Lime Juice); Cranberry Mojito (Captain Morgan Rum, Cranberry Juice, Fresh Mint and Lime topped with Soda water); Raspberry Freeze (Stoli Raspberry Vodka, Grenadine, Peppermint Schnapps and Milk) and Snow Cap (Coffee, Frangelico, Stoli Vanilla Vodka and Cream).

The Hill, 94 Byres Road, Glasgow, G12 8TB. Tel: 0141 339 8558.

Christmas cocktails at Carters Bar at The Busby

- Carters Bar (Glasgow)

Contemporary bar in Glasgow's The Busby Hotel has created a Christmas cocktail menu ranged from £5-£7.95. Creations include White Christmas (Copperdog Whisky, Mozart white chocolate liqueur, gingerbread flavouring, milk and cream and Christmas dust); Busby Blitzen (Copperdog Whisky, Disaronno Amaretto, cranberry juice, sugar and glazed cherry); The Candy Cane (Mozart white chocolate, crème de menthe, peppermint syrup & cream, grenadine and candy cane); Bah Humbug (Black Sambuca, Kahlua, Vanilla cream and black pepper); The Grinch (Midori, Ketel One Vodka, lemon juice, sugar syrup and a glazed cherry garnish) and Rudolph's Remedy (Disaronno amaretto, cinnamon, nutmeg paste, blasted with hot water layered with cream and Christmas spices).

The Busby Hotel & Carters Restaurant, 1 Field Road, Clarkston, Glasgow. G76 8RX. Tel: 0141 644 2661.

- Copper Blossom (Edinburgh)

Elegant restaurant and bar located just a few seconds from Edinburgh's famous Princes Street. Their winter specials are available by the goblet (£7.50) or pitcher (£15). The menu includes Almond & Cherry Storm (Amaretto, Cherry Liqueur, Apple, Lemon & Soda), Winter Kiss (Sloe Gin, Creme De Lychee, Apple, Blackberry, Lemon & Soda) and Frosty Morning (Beefeater Gin, Creme De Bois, Pineapple, Lemon, Cinnamon & Soda).

Copper Blossom, Basement 107, George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3ES. Tel: 0131 297 2630.

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A Snowball Martini (left) and a Gingerbread Martini at Missoula (right)

- Missoula (Birmingham)

Trendy bar and restaurant Missoula is located in Birmingham's Arcadian complex and is open late with DJs on weekends for party animals. The venue's mixologists have created festive twists on the iconic Martini for Christmas, ranging in price from £9.95-£11.45. The special winter menu includes Snowball Martini (Ciroc French Vanilla Vodka, Baileys Chocolat Luxe Liqueur, shaken with Coconut Syrup, Milk and Cream); Humbug Martini (Ciroc Red Berry Vodka and Malibu Rum with Orgeat Syrup, Coconut Cream and Gomme); Mistle-sloe Martini (Gordon's Sloe Gin and Courvoisier V.S. cognac, shaken with spice syrup, Cranberry Juice and Passiom Fruit Puree) or the Gingerbread Martini (Smirnoff Red Vodka and Kahlua, shaken with gingerbread Syrup, Espresso Coffee and Gomme). If you're in the mood to share, there is also the Giant Candy Cane Martini (Smirnoff Red Vodka and Strawberry Liqueur mixed with Peppermint Cordial, Sweet & Sour Mix, Vanilla Syrup and Cranberry Juice).

Missoula, Unit E1-E5, The Arcadian, Birmingham, B5 4TD. Tel: 0121 666 7427.

- The Edgbaston (Birmingham)

Boutique hotel and cocktail lounge The Edgbaston is offering seven amazing creations across their three cocktail lounges, ranging in price from £9 to £12.50. The festive cocktail menu includes The Snowball (Prosecco, Pandan and Coconut Ice Cream); Christmas Kiss (Wyborowa Vodka, Cranberry & Redcurrant, Strawberry, Chestnut, Rosemary and Fresh Lemon); Baby,It's Cold Outside (Monkey 47 Sloe Gin, Malbec, Poppy, Chocolate and Vanilla); Lapland 75 (Monkey 47 Gin, Champagne, Blood Orange and Fresh Lemon); Golden Delicious (Lot 40 Canadian Whisky, Seedlip Spice, Apple, Ginger and Maple); Grumpy Old Bastard (Redbreast 12, Walnut, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Caramel and Acorn) and After 5 (Green Spot Irish Single Malt, Cotswolds Irish Cream, Almond, Mint and Truffle).

The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge, 18 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3DU. Tel: 0121 454 5212.

After 5 at The Edgbaston

- Angelica (Leeds)

International dining destination Angelica boasts a wraparound terrace and sweeping views of the Leeds skyline. With a late license until 2am, Angelica is a versatile venue which transforms from daytime cafe to evening cocktail bar. Their winter menu launched on 1 December and includes four cocktails, along with Mulled Brandy Cider, ranging in price from £8-£11. Naughty Or Spice (Tanqueray Gin, Xante, Campari, Martini Rosso, Spiced Gomme Barnish and Star Anis), Rudolph Tipsy Spritzer (Aperol, Cinnamon Syrup, Prosecco, Soda), Jingle Juice (Tanqueray Gin, Lemon, Apple Juice, Gingerbread Syrup, Angustora Bitters) and Sleigh Bellini (Midori, Cointreau, Prosecco and Edible Glitter).

Angelica, Level 6, Trinity Leeds 70 Boar Lane, Leeds LS1 6HW. Tel: 0113 897 0099.

- Brick & Liquor (London)

These twin neighbourhood cocktail bars with Manhattan-esque service serve unique cocktails alongside sharing food plates. This Christmas, their staff have created a delicious concoction for those with a sweet tooth. The Marshmallow Martini (Absolut Vodka, Café Cartron, Vanilla Carton, milk and cream, finished with toasted s'mores and a melted hazelnut chocolate garnish).

Brick & Liquor (two branches), 47 Balham Hill, Clapham, London, SW12 9DR. Tel: 07503 992 985 or 82 Mitcham Road, Tooting, London, SW17 9NG. Tel: 07984 426 842.

The Marshmallow Martini at Brick & Liquor

- The Alchemist (multiple locations)

English bar and restaurant chain The Alchemist are certainly living up to their name with some very experimental and boozy Winter Cocktails. The special menu includes Winter Old Fashioned (Wild Turkey 101, Winter Sugars, Bitters), Mulled Negroni (Campari, Wine, Mulling Syrup and Red Fruit), Pud (Aperol, Appleton Estate, Grand Marnier, Chambord), Xmas Trifle (Aperol, Appleton Estate, White Chocolate Cream, topped with Fizz) and Snow Joke (Vodka, Green Apple Liqueur, White Chocolate Cream). Winter menu available at all venues except their Oxford branch.

The Alchemist, various locations in Alderley Edge, Birmingham, Chester, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

- Canova Hall and Martello Hall (London)

Sisters bars in East and South London are offering a special festive cocktail. Canova Hall is a sleek Brixton bar, restaurant and hot desking space serving pizza, bottomless brunches and late-night DJs. Meanwhile, its sister bar Martello Hall is located in Hackney and features a bar, distillery, cocktail club, wood pizza oven and hot desking. Their Christmas creation is the Sloe Royale (Sloe Gin, Chilled Frizzante with sloe berries).

Canova Hall, 250 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London SW9 8BQ. Tel: 020 7733 8356. Martello Hall, 137 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 3RH. Tel: 020 3889 6173.

Sloe Royale at Canova Hall and Martello Hall

- Skylon (London)

Stunning riverside dining and drinking destination Skylon is located in the Royal Festival Hall by the Thames. Their bartenders have found inspiration in the night sky, with each cocktail based on the eight planets of the Solar System. Drinks range from £12.50-£14.50 and are on sale until 31 January 2018. Mars (Campari, Ciroc infused hibiscus, Martini Rosso), Jupiter (Tanqueray 10, Staibano creamy Limoncello, Mulled Wine reduction), Mercury (Ciroc infused thyme, Masticha, Lemongrass, Sherbet Prosecco), Uranus (Ciroc, Passion Fruit and Chilly Syrup), Venus (Ciroc, truffle oil, cacao blanco, Prosecco), Saturn (Zacapa 23 infused caramel, Liquor 43, Angostura bitter), Neptune (Ciroc, Blue Caracao infused pineapple, lemon grass sugar syrup) and Earth (J.W Blue label, Hennessey fine cognac, red and dry vermouth, angostura bitter).

Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX. Tel: 020 7654 7800.

The Skylon's Night Sky winter menu has been inspired by the planets of the Solar System

- Revolution Bars (various locations)

Popular vodka bars Revolution have created a festive menu for all their locations. If you don't like vodka, don't worry there's a Christmassy gin concoction, as well as plenty of offerings from their regular menu. Prices and offers vary across the locations. The Christmas menu features Rudolph Frappe (Ketel One vodka and Raspberry Revolution Handcrafted Flavour blended with strawberries, cherry syrup, pineapple juice and lime. With squirty cream and a cherry on top); Gingerbread Man-Tini (Ketel One vodka with Kahlúa, Vanilla Liqueur and Dulce de Leche, served with squirty cream and gingerbread men), Merry Kissmas (Ketel One Vodka, Vanilla Liqueur and Pineapple Juice with Cranberry, Lime and Strawberry Jam, topped with Raspberry Sherbert and Love Hearts); G&Tree (Tanqueray London Dry Gin and Fever-Tree Tonic Water with Orange, Cloves and a sprig of Rosemary.) and Big Buck's Fizz (Freixenet Prosecco and orange juice with Ketel One vodka, apricot syrup and Peach Revolution Handcrafted Flavour).

Revolution, locations across Scotland, Wales, North East, North West, Midlands, South East, South West and London.

A Rudolph Frappe (left) and Merry Kissmas (right) at Revolution

- Benedicts Of Belfast (Belfast)

Lavish bar in boutique hotel Benedicts of Belfast, located in the heart of the city's Golden Mile. Their Christmas drinks menu is strictly for party animals with six festive shooters, costing just £3.50 each. The menu includes Candy Cane (Creme de Menthe, grenadine and cream); Starry Night (Cinnamon vodka, red and blue aftershock); Rudolph's Nose (Strawberry liqueur, cream, sugar rim); Christmas Pudding (Butter scotch schnapps, black raspberry liqueur, Baileys); After Eight (Tia Maria, Creme de Menthe, Baileys) and Benedicts' Chocolate Orange (Tia Maria, Cointreau, Baileys).

Benedicts of Belfast, 7-21 Bradbury Place, Belfast BT7 1RQ. Tel: 028 9059 1999.

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