Put down that mulled wine. We can do better than that in Manchester this Christmas.
From cocktails served in a chocolate reindeer to Nutella espresso martinis and maple margaritas, here’s where and what to drink to push the boat out in true festive style.
Head to 20 Stories in Spinningfields where you’ll find the festive-themed winter garden domes have returned to the rooftop terrace.
On the drinks menu are tipples perfect for this time of year, including the signature Fortified Tepache (£9), made with seasonally spiced Tepache, Patron Silver and Don Julio reposado and the festive Let’s Get Figgie With It (£10), a combination of Belvedere Vodka, apple, fig cordial and cardamom.
If you’re not in the mood for booze, there’s always the aptly named Snowconut, a zingy combination of coconut syrup, lime juice, fresh mint and soda water. Whatever your tipple, it’ll taste an absolute treat as you look down on the twinkling lights of the city below.
Open every day throughout the festive period, hidden drinking den Bar Barton is the pop-up bar on Barton Square, filling the space left by Be at One.
There are 2 for 1 cocktails until 10pm every day with festive drinks including Chocolatini, (£10) with Absolut Vanilla, Cointreau, Cacao, caramel and hazelnut, the Maple Margarita, (£9) with Olmeca tequila, maple syrup, apple and lime, and Yuzu Tart (£9.25) made with Beefeater gin, yuzu, sake and lemon tart syrup.
There are also mulled wine mugs (£3.50), hot chocolates (£3) and a party atmosphere with doors open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights until the new year. Enjoy it while you can.
This intimate bar on South King Street, which is a favourite with industry insiders, has just launched a new seasonal cocktail menu.
Drinks includes the cosy-sounding Campfire Old Fashioned (£10), made with Four Roses Bourbon, Belgrove Hazelnut Rum, demerara, orange bitters and smoked and toasted marshmallow and the White Walker Sour (£10.50), a combination of Johnnie Walker Red Label Whiskey, Velvet Falernum, Tiki Bitters, winter spice syrup and egg white.
They also have three hot serve specials (£8) running throughout December – the Hot & Sour Whisky, the Sipsmith Gin & Gingerbread and the Hot Pina Colada featuring Manchester based rum Diablesse mixed with Koko Kanu, coconut cream, pineapple juice and lime, finished off with a desiccated coconut rim.
As befitting a bar dedicated to cocktails, Dirty Martini on the corner of Deansgate and Peter Street, has created a special menu devoted to Christmas cocktails, which are all priced £9.50 (£6.50 when pre-ordered).
These include The Heartwarmer with Beefeater Blood Orange gin, peach schnapps, blood orange and Prosecco; Santa Baby with Absolut Blue vodka, Bold London Spirit, Pimento Dram, blood orange, pomegranate, egg white and citrus and Christmas Fairytale made with Martell VS cognac, crème de cacao, gingerbread, cream, egg white and chocolate bitter.
If you want to get creative, you can book a Christmas Cocktail Making Masterclass at £30 per person, where you can have a go creating one of the festive concoctions while tucking into festive sharing platter.
This stylish bar in St Peter’s Square is just steps away from the tram stop, so handy on freezing nights when you want to escape the cold.
Warm the cockles with one of their newly created festive cocktails, which include Christmas Cheer (£8.95), a combination of Tanqueray No TEN gin, cherry syrup, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, pomegranate juice and grapefruit bitters, and Minced Pie (£9.95), made with Belsazar Red vermouth, Talisker, winter spice, apple juice, egg white and cherry bitters.
Or there’s always the famous Bailey’s Reindeer, (£9.95), a tasty mix of Baileys, Bulleit Bourbon, single cream, chocolate bitters and mint leaves served in a chocolate reindeer no less.
Albert’s Schloss is great fun throughout the year, but this Peter Street bar really comes into its own during the winter months with its alpine touches and warming fires.
There are also plenty of decadent cocktails to choose from on its winter menu, such as Brandy Snap (£9.50), made with Grey Goose Pear vodka, Martell cognac, William Fox Demerara, apple, lemon, bitters and dehydrated pear and Black Cherry Kaiser (£9), made with Monkey 47 gin, Manifest, San Morlacco Cherry, black cherry, apple, lemon and cherry drizzle.
There are also the beautifully indulgent Hot Schokolades, which you can choose to have boozy or not. You won’t be short on entertainment while you sip, as there’s live music every day of the week, including the Baby Grand Slam on Wednesdays and live jazz on Sundays.
The Oast House
Apart from the twinkling Curious Teepee that’s once again resumed its position in front of Spinningfields’ The Oast House, there’s a host of seasonal showstoppers to help you get in the festive spirit, such as the Nutella Espresso Martini (£7.95), which combines the chocolate and hazelnut treat with Jameson’s Stout and Frangelico liqueur and Black Forest Mojito with hints of berry and Goslings Black Seal Rum, topped off with a maraschino cherry.
There are also House Warmers from £5.50, including the Unicorn Hot Chocolate with a Baileys kick. This year, The Oast House has also joined forces with Cash for Kids in their annual Mission Christmas campaign to ensure every child in Manchester has a present to open on Christmas Day.
They’re encouraging people to drop off toys at the gingerbread house, proudly designed and constructed by The Oast House’s team. You can also swap a toy in exchange for a sweet treat from Zara Cakes.
As well as finding flat-capped Thomas Shelby lookalikes in the Peter Street bar that pays homage to Peaky Blinders, you’ll find an extensive list of cocktails including signature drinks inspired by the BBC series.
These cold and miserable nights call In the Cut (£9.50), made with Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, strawberry liqueur and syrup, lime and Guinness and Alfie’s Bread (£9.50), with Jack Daniel’s Honey, Jagermeister, lemon, strawberries, and angostura bitters.
Look out for the 2 for £10 cocktails list between 4pm and 7pm Monday to Friday and all day on Sundays.
Over on Hardman Boulevard, not far from where the bridge connects New Bailey to Spinningfields, you’ll find the temporary eight-person igloos dominating the entrance to The Refinery.
It’s not only the sparkling décor, which includes electric heaters, sheepskin throws and hot water bottles, that’s inspired by nordic lights, but the cocktail menu, too.
Each of the specially crafted cocktails uses Martin Miller’s Gin as its base, and then combined with winter spice and aromatic tonic for the Spiced G&T (single £6.75, double £8.95); Campari, merlot, white peach and jasmine soda for the Whirled Trip (£8.95), and sloe gin, Crème de Mure, lemon juice, tonic and shimmer syrup for the Northern Lights, (£9.95). Be sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment.