When the turkey and trimmings are finished and the plates are cleared, comes the toughest question of the Christmas festivities; "Any room for pudding?"
Whether it’s traditional Christmas pudding or a mince pie, we've the drinks that we suggest you try and find room for!
The mince pie is a uniquely British 'sweetmeat' served at Christmastime, and can be traced back to the arrival of spices and dried fruits from the Middle East in the 13th Century. These three drinks go particularly well with the dried fruit, spices and buttery pastry:
SAUTERNES, RESERVE AOC, DULONG - £10.95
A delicious sweet wine packed full of flavours like orange peel and apricot jam. It's not overtly sticky and will cut through the pastry.
GONZALEZ BYASS NECTAR PEDRO XIMENEZ SHERRY - £11.95
Sweet and velvety smooth, wine writer Fiona Beckett recommends sweet sherry as a safe and "traditional mince pie pairing, but a good one"!
EINSTÖK DOPPELBOCK CHRISTMAS ALE - £12.45 (for 6)
Fiona again suggests a Christmas Ale isn't just to partner with cold meats - the malted barley, robust aroma and long, mellow finish here goes well with the mincemeat.
The Christmas pudding also has medieval heritage, first appearing as plum pudding, traditionally aged for many months ahead of the festive feast. It is often pictured being flamed with brandy and ceremoniously brought to the table à la Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol…but we say the booze in your glass is more important - enjoy these with your Christmas pud:
SOMERSET APPLE CIDER BRANDYS - £13.95 - £35.45
The half bottle format will give you a little taste of this home-grown classic and then won't then sit in the cupboard for a year. The smooth spicy notes of Somerset's brandies go perfectly with the pudding, and you could add a splash to your brandy sauce. Dry and fruity enough to cut through the heavy Christmas pudding, and also acts as a digestive aid.
MORELLO CHERRY BRANDY LIQUEUR - £11.95
For those with a sweeter tooth, a little sip of Morello Cherry Liqueur is just gorgeous with the sweet dark fruits of a pudding. At just 19% alcohol (similar to Port) it will not push you over the edge either.
GRAND MARNIER - £25.95
Wines and liqueurs with either a touch of orange or apricot work well with Christmas puddings. The light, fresh contrast works beautifully with the rich stickiness.
OTHER AFTER DINNER OPTIONS
Once the table is cleared and Her Majesty has spoken to the nation, a little after-dinner drink is in order. A nibble of cheese and a glass of Port may be the ideal snack at this point, but these three post dinner drinks offer something deliciously different:
PATRÓN XO CAFE TEQUILA LIQUEUR - £26.50
A sweetened coffee liqueur with a tequila base. This will wake you up with a smooth caffeine kick and the strong tequila is an effective digestive.
RUBIS CHOCOLATE WINE - £9.85
Swap the port for an award-winning chocolate fortified wine. Rich and fruity - indulge further by pouring over ice cream.
MOZART WHITE CHOCOLATE VANILLA CREAM LIQUEUR - £28.95
Swap out the sickly cream liqueurs for Mozart's White Chocolate and vanilla variety, with 60 percent less fat and significantly less alcohol (at only 15 percent) than other Irish Creams. Smooth and velvety, this liqueur is indulgent yet light.