Gintime’s Top Party Tips

We love the reindeers and the robins, the snow and the sparkle and we particularly love the presents and treats. But let’s be honest the best thing about Christmas is that it’s Party Time. Whether you’re having a few friends over for drinks or hosting a big bash, serving stylish gin cocktails and food to match is the best way to impress your mates. So here are a few tips to make your party unforgettable.


Gintime recommends these two Christmassy looking cocktails because they are really easy to make for a crowd. Just prepare the basic ingredients in glasses and top up with soda water and champagne as guests come through the door. There are lots more party drinks in the cocktail finder section of this site. And don’t forget to check out ‘At Home with Plymouth Gin’ a new step by step online guide to mixing cocktails at home – at

Mix Hint: A standard bottle of gin provides 20 servings.

Cocktail 1: Cherry Cooler

The ideal red and green Christmas cocktail.

Glass: Tall

  • 1 shot gin
  • 1 shot cherry brandy
  • 2 shots freshly squeezed lime juice
  • soda water
  • 1 tsp sugar

Mix the above ingredients together over ice, adding soda water to taste. Serve in a tall glass and decorate with a wedge of lime.

Cocktail 2: Sloe MotionCocktail 2: Sloe Motion

Berries are very Christmassy and sloe gin, made from the berries of the hawthorn, adds a seasonal plum pudding taste to the classic champagne serve.

Glass: Flute

  • Garnish: Lemon zest and cucumber cross
  • 3/4 shot Sloe Gin

Pour sloe gin into glasses then top up with champagne or good sparkling wine.

Snackette 1: Smoked Salmon Bites

Smoked salmon always goes down a treat and the good thing about the party season is that you’ll often find supermarkets offering great deals. This recipe is a little bit special and it’s colourful too.

  • 2 large packets of smoked salmon
  • 2 lbs butter
  • 2 large bunches fresh dill or 2 jars of dried dill
  • 2 loaves sliced brown bread

Chop dill finely leaving some aside for decoration. Mix in with butter until soft and then spread each slice of bread. Cover bread with smoked salmon pieces and then cut into squares. Arrange on large plates and sprinkle with dill.

Snackette 2: Benedictine Spread

This mix comes from Kentucky and was made popular at Benedict’s restaurant in Louisville.

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • dash green food colouring

Pare, grate and drain cucumber. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Spread on crackers or oatcakes. Or thin with sour cream to make a dip for vegetables. Double or treble quantities for larger numbers.


It’s amazing how much better winter skins look with a bit of colour. So put in pink light bulbs and pretend it’s the beach.

Dress Code

In fashion right now anything goes so you can make your own rules. But we all need cheering up at this time of the year so ban black and tell your guests it’s got to be colour – the brighter the better.


Since Christmas is the only time of the year when you can listen to Slade without blowing your credibility you might as well go for it. Party mix compilations come into their own here but beware, you’ll hardly ever find one where you’ll want to listen to every song. So it’s best to create your own. Forget about being cool and have a laugh. That means everything including Tom Jones, Prince, sing along anthems and one hit wonders. Good sites for themed party music are:

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