Merry in a glass

India’s finest bar hands share their signature heart-warming cocktails to celebrate Christmas this season

By Madhulika Dash


Christmas and warm drinks have had a glove and hand marriage since ages. Even before Christmas became popular worldwide, having a grail of warm mulled wine or hot, balmy mead was a tradition that was followed across civilisation. It was understandable then that Christmas would make it a part of it. What adds to the charm of having a tipple or two during the season is that some of the spices (read: cinnamon) and drinks (hot beer) taste best during Christmas. This season, we get some of India’s finest bar hands to give you the tipple that can jazz up your spirit – and the party.


1 - Winter Wonderland
Creator: Yangdup Lama, Bartender-owner, Sidecar 


“If it is winters, then it has to be rum. For ages, rum has been one of the favourite tippler to warm up against a cold winter evening. This drink is an ode not only to the spirit of Christmas and uses the two ingredient most identified with Christmas, happiness and warm aromas: orange and ginger. In fact, this cocktail celebrates not only the different flavours play of pepper, ginger, rosemary and orange but also the marriage of sweet and bitter that gives this cocktail its interesting mouthfeel and warmth. 


2 - The Braveheart Penicillin
Creator: Rohan Matmary, Asst General Manager, BygBrewski


“This drink is my ode to the iconic feast treat, the suckling pig. Crafted especially for Christmas, this drink recreates the festive mouthfeel of the iconic dish with Sucking Pig washed scotch, complemented by seasonal staples ginger bite, citrus and maple syrup. What adds to the taste of the cocktail are the mix of the winter spices that reminds you of all things nice about a great holiday drink, sip-after-sip. 

3 - Bingo Senorita
Creator: Ganesh Kanyal, The Drunken Botanist 


“Drinks are like food, they change every year. This is something I have learnt from the kitchen team here at The Drunken Botanist. The Bingo Senorita was created not only as my ode to the festive season but as a salutation of the fabulous kitchen team and their spirit. Bingo Senorita is essentially the classic agave honey-grapefruit drink but with an interesting twist with cold press orange juice. So you get the same refreshing taste but with the freshness of a ripened orange.”


1.Chartreuse liquor15ml

2.Agave infused tequila45ml

3.Lime juice20ml

4.Orange cold press30ml

5.Cointreau7.5 ml

6.Lemon zest

7.Sugar to rim the glass 

Put some ice cubes in margarita to chill it. Once the glass is chilled, rim the glass with sugar and then add Cointreau and chartreuse liquor.Shake the infused tequila, lime juice and cold press orange juice in a shaker with ice. Pour on top of the chartreuse liquor as third layer in the glass.Make a garnish with lemon zest and serve.

Bartender’s hack # Infuse tequila with agave for min 72 hours. 

4 - Warm Blanket
Creator: Sanchayan Jana, Head Bartender, Big Fish Ventures


“Christmas for me is all about creating drinks that warm you instantly. In fact, it is the only time when I play with creating “hot” drinks with different spirits – with at least one classic and one modern – techniques and even combination. One such absolute favourite of mine is the dark rum-scotch warm blanket, served with a smash of hot water. And just to create that interesting festive freshness I have used the sweet tartness of lime with the tangy-bitterness of the orange zest. A drink to go perfectly with the plum cake.”



1.Scotch 30 ml

2.Dark rum 20 ml

3.Rosemary & clove syrup 10 ml

4.Orange zest 1 no

5.Lime wedge 1 no

6.Hot water 90 ml 


In a shaker, pour all the spirits one-after the other. Give it a little shake and pour it in a Irish Coffee mug that has been rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Top it up with hot water, and garnish with a burnt rosemary sprig. Serve warm. 

Creator: Vivek Negi, Bartender, Drinks Designer 


“Traditionally, every Christmas I would make a cocktail with port wine. After all, it is the season that allows you to indulge (and relish) the warm spices with the festive fruits. But recently on a visit I discovered how coffee was once a sorted drinks for winters, especially among the soldiers. It was called the elixir of happiness. A royal drink of the Ottoman Sultans and Sultanas, it was once the favourite “icebreaker” on the trade routes. The Lost & Found is an ode to that side of the history where having a drink was all about celebrating and enjoying the “spirit” of life – of course this one has a nostalgic twist of Diet Coke.”



1.Bourbon 60ml

2.Cold Brew Coffee 30ml

3.All spice syrup 20ml

4.Diet Coke to top up 


Add first 3 ingredients together and shake and pour into a tall glass. Top it up with Diet coke. 

6-Keto Eggnog 
Creator: Manish Chauhan, Head Bartender, Philtre Bistro 


“In many ways this Christmas classic falls under the same category of cinnamon. Much like the warm spice which though is available round the year is best enjoyed during winters, Christmas especially, no matter how many dishes it flavours, Eggnog too is best had during the holidays. My drink is in fact an ode to that art of making classic but with a healthier twist. So instead of milk, I have used nut milk but retained the same flavour play of the original. After all, what’s Christmas without a mug of Eggnog – or Keto Eggnog.”



1.Spiced Rum 60ml

2.Nut Milk 120ml

3.Stevia syrup 45ml

4.Egg Yolk 1nos

5.Egg white 1nos

6.Nutmeg Dust 


In a sauce pan, warm the milk. In a bowl, whisk stevia and egg yolk, whisk until pale yellow and thick then add nut Milk. Continue cooking over low flame until the mixture is thicken, don't overcook. Add in the spiced rum with the rest and top it up with egg white foam and nutmeg dust. Serve warm.