PUBLISHED: 15:03 24 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:13 20 February 2013
Festive drinks from the region's top beverage producers
Tis the season to be merry after all, says Sarah Cassells, who serves up a little festive feeling courtesy of our regions top beverage producers.
Festive preparations can be thirsty work. Fortunately, Norfolks drinks producers and cosy eateries have a host of ideas to help quench your thirst and stave off the winter chill. From flavoursome coffees and spicy juices, to boozy beverages with a Christmassy kick, we offer a pick of their seasonal drinks guaranteed to liven the festive table and warm every cockle.
Burgoynes spiced cider
Those who find mulled wine a bit heavy should try this light and refreshing alternative. Produced by the award-winning Norfolk Cider Company using locally-sourced apples, Burgoynes spiced cider is a unique blend of dry cider a naturally sugar-free drink matured in barrels fresh pressed apple juice, a splash of lemonade and cinnamon, nutmeg and clove for flavour. The result is a 3.5pc aromatic winter drink thats best served warm. Its at The Apple Shop, Wroxham Barns, for 3 a bottle, or order direct through the Norfolk Cider website.
The Apple Shop, Wroxham Barns,
01603 784876; www.norfolkcider.co.uk
Cinnamon hot chocolate and gingerbread latte
When the decorations go up at the Cherryleaf Coffee House, the seasonal coffees come out. Top of the tempting specialities is the cinnamon hot chocolate, a rich, velvety beverage made with steamed milk. Available from 2.30 it comes with optional whipped cream and cinnamon dusting. If thats not enough to tempt you in while Christmas shopping in the city, then how about a gingerbread latte? Made using the coffee houses own espresso blend, its a smooth and sweet drink with the option of whipped cream on top and freshly-ground nutmeg. Dont forget to add the mulled wine fruitcake or biscotti to your order.
Cherryleaf Coffee House, Norwich,
Ginger beer with chilli
Heres a little seasonal sparkle for more sober celebrations. Breckland Orchards ginger beer with chilli offers festive fizz without the boozy side effects. Made with Norfolk spring water, orange and lemon juice, drinkers enjoy a fruity taste first, followed by a hit of ginger and then a lovely tingle at the back of their throat. Lightly carbonated to create its sparkle, this Great Taste Award-winning drink is the perfect slightly spicy, accompaniment to canaps, and a refreshing complement to mince pies. The unique ginger beer is one of Breckland Orchards six natural juices available at cafs, gastropubs and farm shops across the region for 1.60.
Breckland Orchard, Watton, 07770 802988; www.brecklandorchard.co.uk
For a true Norfolk winter warmer opt for liquid homage to our home-grown hero. The hearty Nelsons Blood and more liqueur-like Lady Hamiltons Nip are unique blends of 100pc proof navy rum with herbs and spices, produced by secret recipe on the premises of The Lord Nelson in the naval captains village of Burnham Thorpe.
Sold by the tot in the pub, or to order and take away as gifts (9 for 25cl, 22 for 70cl), the drinks commemorate the legend that when Nelsons body was transported from Trafalgar to Gibraltar, it was pickled in a cask of rum. Hoping to inherit some of their heros traits, his crew would creep out at night to drink from the cask. The labels of both drinks have been redesigned to reflect their high-quality ingredients and heroic background cockle-rousing indeed!
The Lord Nelson, Burnham Thorpe,
01328 738241; www.nelsonslocal.co.uk
Norfolk mead and mulled wine
For classic Christmas drinks with a Norfolk twist, look to Broadland Wineries Belgars Mulled Wine and Norfolk Mead. The light, aromatic and spicy mulled wine is just 3.99 and can be enjoyed warm not boiling on its own or with additional fruits, cinnamon and lemons to make a traditional, warming infusion. The Norfolk Mead, meanwhile, is made with honey and offers a rich, sweet smoothness for 5.49. The Cawston company recommends mixing 2oz of the mead with oz cream, 1 oz white rum, oz dark rum and a spoon of honey and shaking over ice cubes to make the fabulously festive Norfolk Kiss cocktail. Both bottles can be bought from local Asda stores, many farm shops and direct from Broadland Wineries.
Broadland Wineries, Cawston, 01603 872474; www.broadland-wineries.com
Santas Hat cocktail
The perfect Christmas cocktail should be seasonally chic and just a little bit naughty and this ideal combination of grown-up fun can be found at Beluga in Norwich. Created by the bars mixologist using top-brand ingredients, the Santas Hat cocktail features Malibu rum, cranberry juice and grenadine with a sweet, snow-like dusting of flaked coconut along the glass rim and an optional candy cane to stir and savour. One of several glamorous cocktails on offer for 5.50, Santas Hat is best enjoyed under the twinkling chandelier-style lights while dressed in your party finery.
Beluga Eaterie & Bar, Norwich,
07545 697395; www.mybeluga.co.uk
Sherry cask whisky
Sherry has long been the quintessential Christmas tipple of a certain generation, but the English Whisky Company is bringing it back into vogue. This November it launches a new Chapter 10 sherry cask matured single malt. Only 660 bottles will be sold from the Roudham distillery and through specialist retailers for 49.99 and in gift packs. The initial aroma of this whisky is quite heavy with raisins and dried fruit a combination of Christmas pudding with wine gums, dates and a hint of marzipan and a delicate waft of aniseed; while the taste is full-bodied, dry and quite chewy with a fruity finish of citrus fruits and rosehip syrup.
The English Whisky Company, Roudham,
01953 717939; www.englishwhisky.co.uk
This titillating-titled, deliciously-dark beer is only brewed by Woodfordes at Christmas, making it an exclusively festive treat. Available online and from Woodfordes pubs, the beer is ruby in colour and enhanced by its sweet fruit flavours and hint of Christmas pudding. Tinsel Toes is a 4.4pc blend of pale, crystal and chocolate malt, supplemented with roast barley, Challenger hops bitterness and the delicate, lightly spiced aroma of Savinjski Golding altogether hugely drinkable. On tap from the beginning of December for around 3.20, it also comes in 18 and 36pt beer boxes.
Woodfordes, Woodbastwick, 01603 722218; www.woodfordes.co.uk