The Best Festive Bottled Cocktails – Tested By Us

As bars remain shuttered, bottled cocktails have become our Christmas drink of choice.

Bottled cocktails have emerged as high quality contenders for the New Night In during these strickened times, with master mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, among those releasing sups from his famous bars to take home.

The popularity and increasing visibility of these tipples on supermarket shelves has proved that the freshness and flavour profiles of cocktails can be savoured in bottled form. And the festive take on this trend is quickly gaining traction as we adjust to the tiered lifestyle we’re leading from our living rooms.

All the complexity of ingredients found behind some of the best bars in London and beyond are now available to pour from home – here are some of the seasonal sups to try this Christmas, as sampled by the HuffPost UK team.

The Rudolph’s Rouge, The Drinks Drop


My presumptions about ready-made cocktails are that they’re weak, sugary, and not very alcoholic. This was very much not the case with this festive offering, which contained six cocktails in pouches, delivered in a trendy-looking box.

I try Rudolph’s Rouge, the only cold cocktail of the lot, which is gin-based with Champagne syrup, and needs freezing for 30 minutes before pouring into a chilled glass – all very easy. The drink is good, but super strong. A bit strong to drink on its own, to be honest, so I add tonic (which also makes it last longer).

The alcohol content of these cocktails range from 14-22%, and they definitely match up to it. The mulled sangria, which you leave in hot water for just 60 seconds, is delicious though also wincingly strong. Or maybe I’m just a wuss.

For a drink at home, £7.50 is a little on the pricey side, in my opinion, but now we can’t go out, perhaps it’s worth spending your money on. -Amy Packham, life editor

£7.50 per bottled cocktail from The Drinks Drop

The Mince Pie Negroni from Tayēr


Imagine the spicy sweetness of a mince pie with the bitterness of a Negroni – just the right amount of festive for the year we’ve had and a brilliant twist for those as partial to a Negroni as I am.

This cocktail contains a punchy mix of Tayēr x Hepple Gin, Martini Rosso, Noilly Prat Original Dry Vermouth and ēe Mince Mix. Buy it as part of a Christmas gift box with three 100ml bottles of different cocktails, alongside a Pine Martini and Gingerbread Old Fashioned. Or on its own in a 300ml bottle – if you’re likely to want more than one, I suggest you go for the latter. Tayer is currently operating as an online off licence, but is usually a bar -Brogan Driscoll, life editor

£30 for three bottled cocktails from Tayer + elemen

Chocolate Orange Negroni, The Umbrella Project

Adam Bloodworth

Let me tell you, my mouth has never been forcibly pulled in so many different flavour directions as by this chocolate orange martini. I know, I know: chocolate oranges are a bit like marmite: some love them, some hate them. But I’m partial to throwing a couple in the shopping trolley when they’re going for £1 – and I’m definitely partial to this chocolate orange bottled cocktail made by The Sun Tavern, the pub near me which is a part of The Umbrella Project group.

You get to try two different cocktails when you order a festive kit for £30 – and two bottles of each choice. The Three Kings has actual frankincense and myrrh in, although I find it hard to decipher these flavours, so I’d swerve and go for the Buttered Brandy, instead, which isn’t so sweet and has a crisp freshness that cheerfully lifts the butter-washed cognac. A well-balanced and joyous drink.

The buttered brandy’s also served with warm water – read the cute little serving instructions on the bottle – making it long-lasting and bang-for-buck too. I sipped mine for nearly an hour, but admit I gorged on the chocolate orange negroni in about one minute flat. -Adam Bloodworth, features writer

£30 for four bottled cocktails from The Umbrella Project

Winter Rum Punch, Calooh Callay

Calooh Callay Rum Punch
Huffpost UK
Calooh Callay Rum Punch

It feels a life ago that I last went to a bar, let alone a bar in the centre of town, to drink cocktails, which strike me as a drink of celebration, not consolation. But maybe being stuck out in tier four and zone four in the run up to a Christmas unlike any other is just the sort of social emergency that calls for high spirits.

Certainly, my mood lifts with the arrival of a box from this Shoreditch stalwart, hand-mixed and hand-delivered by the lovely Goda – with three fresh mince pies nestling in a brown paper bag next to a lovely big bottle, tied up with red ribbon and a cinnamon stick that doubles up as a festive cocktail stirrer.

And this punch definitely packs some, as it should, mixing Havana 7, Bacardi, Skipper and Amaro, alongside pineapple and lemon sherbet. If that sounds summery, don’t worry. It has a lovely fruity warmth that’s just what we need in these dark days. The box also contains two mini bottles of Jägermeister (should that be your mixer) and two Havana Club tin cans for the Instagram serving. A nice touch, though I prefer a glass. And a party to go with my punch. Ho hum.

Free next day delivery within M25 for orders of £30 and over from Calooh Callay (48 hour nationwide delivery Mon to Fri, £6.50; Saturday, £11).

Maple-Salted Nogroni, Adam Handling’s Eve Bar

I recently decided to give my body a bit of a break from booze, so I’m excited to try a non-alcoholic cocktail from Adam Handling’s Eve Bar. The beverage that arrives on my doorstep is a Maple-Salted Nogroni (see what they did there?) in a stylish brown glass bottle. The perk of this cocktail, which serves six, is that it’s ready-made. All you have to do is pour it into a glass with ice – and enjoy.

The cocktail contains Æcorn Aromatic, Æcorn Bitter, Seedlip Spice 94, maple and salt. I’m going to front up this review by making clear I’m more of a fruity cocktail kind of gal, so the negroni might be a bit too much for me. Sadly, I’m correct – this non-alcoholic drink tastes like smoke, medicine and cola. One sip is enough. My partner also tries it and doesn’t manage more than a swig either.

There are cocktails in the range that I’m sure would be absolutely delicious: the boozier No ‘X’ in Espresso coffee martini, for example. But with great regret it’s a thumbs down from me on the nogroni. Come Christmas, I’ll be sticking to ginger ale. -Natasha Hinde, life writer

£20 for a 500ml bottle of maple-salted nogroni from Adam Handling’s Hame.

Hot Buttered Rum, Nightjar

Ash Percival

A disclaimer: cocktails aren’t really my thing. Either too sweet, full of ice or not long enough. Give me a glass (read: bottle) of crisp, dry wine any day of the week.

So, it’s a nice surprise to try something that isn’t two of those three things. I’ve never had a hot cocktail before, and I’ll admit, this one doesn’t look the most appealing or smell particularly amazing when I take its top off. However, after a quick blast in the microwave (or mîcrocwhavé, if you’re Nigella Lawson), it takes on a whole new life.

It’s rich, velvety and buttery thanks to the walnut butter and roasted chestnuts, while the apple and rhubarb gave it a lovely fruity flavour. The alcohol gives you that lovely warm glow, and it would be the perfect drink for an outdoor Christmas gathering, if you’re able to store it in a flask. My only criticism would be that it might be rather sweet to drink too much of – but that’s also probably a matter of personal taste. -Ash Percival, entertainment editor

£45 as part of the Nightjar Christmas Collection, which also features a champagne cocktail and an aperitivo punch

Cointreau Christmas Margarita, Mr Fogg’s

HuffPost UK

This festive cocktail certainly packs a punch, but it reminds me of happier times sipping Margaritas by a pool pre-pandemic, rather than Christmas. It comes in a pouch containing two servings, alongside a cinnamon and sugar mix to decorate the rim of a glass. The AquaRiva Blanco tequila is definitely the dominant flavour with the Cointreau orange liqueur slightly lost.

It’s a nice flavour though, with a smoky aftertaste. But at £19.50, I’d rather buy a bottle of tequila and mix my own. Call me Scrooge, but the small bag of bon-bons, Christmas hats and cracker jokes that have been added to pad out the packaging feel a little surplus to requirement. -Rachel Moss, life reporter

£19.50 for a two person service, direct from Mr Fogg’s.