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Toasts of Christmas past: London’s best bars for retro festive drinks

Laura Richards

Retro festive drinks are getting a modern twist in London bars, and these five tipples are as unmissable as the Queen’s Speech...

Merry mulled wine at Mr Fogg’s Tavern, £6.50

Andy Parsons

This cosy Covent Garden pub flogs ten litres of its mulled wine a day. Why is it so damn addictive? They’ve updated a historic recipe from the Savoy. It’s kept carefully at temperature and a variety of spices – from classic cloves to cassia bark – provide more depth than in the kind of stewed toddy you get served down the market.

Mr Fogg’s Tavern, 58 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4EA.

Snowball Flight at Original Sin, £14 for three

snowball flight, original sin

For many, breaking out that yellow-and-red bottle of Warninks advocaat is the equivalent of turning on the Christmas lights. Get in the mood over not one, but three takes on the snowball. This Stokey bar is putting three spins on the classic (usually advocaat, lemonade and lime). Try the Snowflake – a cava-topped advocaat tipple – for a flurry of festive excitement.

Original Sin, 129 Stoke Newington High St, N16 0PH.        

Bloody Good Egg Nog at Mark’s Bar, £13.50

You know what’s going to make that good old-fashioned combo of cream, sugar and eggs even more mouth-watering? Booze! Visit Mark’s Bar where they slosh in a Somerset cider brandy, dark rum and Pedro Ximenez sherry to your tipple for more oomph than Santa’s reindeer-powered sleigh. Don’t question the calorie count – treat it as Christmas pud and ask for seconds.

Mark’s Bar, 66-70 Brewer St, W1F 9UP. 

Sloe Royale at Canova Hall, £9

sloe royale at Canova Hall

So you forgot to go foraging for sloe berries in autumn? (Yeah, us too.) Don’t worry, you can get your Christmas sloe gin fix without the DIY. This Brixton bar is sexing up gin distilled at its sister bar Martello Hall by adding sloe gin and topping with frizzante wine (’tis the season for sparkle, after all). This sloe take on a kir royale is basically about as retro as festive drinking gets.

Canova Hall, 250 Ferndale Rd, SW9 8BQ. 

Mulled Rosé at Renegade London Wine, £6

mulled rosé, renegade

This east London winery produces rosé then mulls the hell out of it. The process is like millennial wassailing – instead of gathering apples and singing in the orchards, Asian pears are foraged from an ex-council estate nearby, which are then poached in this sweet mix. Rosy rosé cheeks without the outdoor frolicking is the Christmas gift you deserve. 

Renegade London Wine, Arch 12, Gales Gardens, E2 0EJ. 

Find more winter tipples in our guide to London’s best hot cocktails

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