English Christmas Traditions (and some cocktail recipes)

As an ex-pat living in the U.S. for the last 10 years I have a somewhat different perspective on Christmas. It may surprise you to know that the British do not celebrate Thanksgiving and that Christmas is a much bigger deal to us Brits than it is on this side of the pond.

When i arrived I was surprised that Christmas only lasted a day and that many people were back to work on the 26th December. In Britain most offices and some factories close on
Christmas Eve and don’t re-open until the day after New Year. If you’re lucky and Christmas Day falls on a Friday or a Monday, as it does this year, that could mean nine days off work!

In many British Commonwealth countries the day after Christmas Day is called Boxing Day. Traditionally this was the day that domestic servants – who had waited on their masters on Christmas day – were given “boxes” or gifts and allowed to have “Christmas” with their families. In Britain Boxing Day is now the equivalent of Black Friday, when all of the best retail sales happen.

A traditional British Christmas Lunch looks a lot like a Thanksgiving Day lunch here – Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, maybe some peas and corn. After lunch it’s required to listen to “The Queens Speech” on the BBC and then probably watch a (really) old James Bond film.

But let’s be honest, none of that really interests you – what you really want is my Christmas cocktail recipes!

Here’s are a few of my favorites…

French 75

1 tablespoon of Fresh Basil
Juice from half a fresh Lime
1 Tablespoon of Sugar

Chop fresh basil and mix with sugar and half a cup of water in cocktail shaker. Once sugar has dissolved add ice. Add a double shot of gin and fresh lime juice from half a lime. Shake everything together and sieve in to a cocktail glass. Top off with Prosecco to taste. Makes one – but who’s only going to drink one?

Simon’s Moscow Mule

Fresh Mint
Lime Juice to taste
Simple Syrup or Sugar
Quality Vodka
Ginger Beer (not ginger ale)

In a cocktail shaker mull fresh mint – I know the purist would disagree with adding mint but it’s a refreshing twist. Add lime juice and sugar or simple syrup. Continue to mull. Combine with vodka (I suggest Tito’s but that’s just me) and ice. Shake well and strain in to a copper mug – if you don’t have a copper mug then a glass will do. Top off with a good quality ginger beer (Goslings, Fever Tree, Cock and Bull or Fentiman’s). Makes one.

Blueberry Lemonade

Fresh Blueberries
Blueberry Vodka
Juice from half a fresh lime
Sprig of Rosemary

Mull blueberries in to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, Blueberry Vodka and squeeze in half a fresh lime. Shake together and strain in to a glass. Top off with Sprite or 7-Up and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Malt Whisky

Pour two fingers of malt whisky. In Gaelic this is “uisce beatha” or water of life.

That’s it!

Don’t you dare add ice, water or God forbid ginger ale.

Uisce beatha should never be adulterated!!


I hope to see many of you before the big day and if I do please remind me to buy you a drink!

As always, when you are ready to turn your attention back to the liquidity of your business, your initial no obligation consultation with me (Simon Ellett), is just a phone call away at (440)-385-6737!