Six drinks you'll politely choke back because it's Christmas

THE festive season is all about getting queasily shitfaced on drinks you would rightly turn your nose up at if it wasn’t Christmas. Like these:

Mulled wine

The heating of red wine should be confined to a chilly Alpine setting where the benefits are obvious, not a well-insulated middle-class home with the heating on full blast. At least it tastes quite nice, if you manage to sift far enough through the cinnamon sticks, orange peel, cloves and star anise clogging the glass to find the actual liquid.


If offered a milky, creamy, sweet drink made with egg yolks and dusted with nutmeg in summer you’d have no hesitation in refusing, but at Christmas you’ll be labelled a Grinch if you attempt to politely say no. Why is your mum trying to force feed you what is essentially alcoholic custard? She doesn’t know, and can only offer the illogical reason: ‘Because it’s Christmas!’

Pimped coffee

What is it with coffee shop chains trying to force giant, expensively pimped beverages on you as soon as December rolls around? Ah yes, it’s called capitalism. All you wanted was a small Americano and you’ve left with a grande mint-and-orange mocha, dusted with so much cinnamon you can’t sip it without choking on the dusty dryness. Should have had tea instead, they can’t f**k with that.

Fruit-infused gin

Flavoured gin is the gift de choix to give to someone you either don’t know or don’t really care about. That’s why your sister-in-law has gifted you a bottle of gooseberry gin and is expecting you to be thrilled about it. You gamely crack it open, and in half an hour you’ll either be smashed from the insanely high alcohol content or in a diabetic coma from the sugar.

Home-brewed anything

It seems weird that home-brewing is legal, given the potential lethality of your dad cooking up his own wine in a spare recycling bin, yet the government persist in allowing it. Whether you’re sampling Marmite IPA or some mysterious moonshine that could definitely make you go blind, be sure to never reflexively utter the words ‘Ooh, it’s quite nice’, or he’ll give you a two-litre bottle to take home.


A Baileys is a nice treat, but, given that nobody remembers it exists outside of December, you’re still drinking the same bottle that your mum bought from Asda in 2010. Is it possible for it to curdle? Are those lumpy bits meant to be in it? Just knock it back and chase it down with a glass of red wine. There are some things it’s best not to think about too much.

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The five hangovers of Twixmas, from best to please kill me

THE hinterland between Christmas and New Year punishes your body and mind in novel ways. These hangovers are why you’ll return to work not remotely refreshed: 

The Alcohol Hangover

Was it starting drinking at midday, or not stopping until 2am? Was it mixing sherry, prosecco, beer, red wine, brandy, eggnog, whisky, vodka and Baileys? Or was it just too much of one of them? Either way, all you want for Christmas is to die and for your body to be sealed in concrete to stop its extravagent toxicity harming future generations.

The Savoury Food Hangover 

Why couldn’t you stop at a handful of Twiglets? A couple of bowlfuls, even? Not to mention the slab of apple-smoked cheddar, wedge of stilton and mound of potatoes you nibbled straight from the fridge at midnight after a day of gorging? You wake feeling nauseous and yet somehow hungry. You’ll have to eat your way through it.

The Sugary Food Hangover 

Now the presents have all been unwrapped, there’s only one way to cushion your disappointment; a conveyor belt of delicious sugary treats. Tubs of Heroes, boxes of truffles, Yule log, candy canes, boxes of biscuits; your Marie Antoinette-level indulgence will sink you into a coma. Driving is not advised, and nor is trying to do up trousers.

The Too Much Telly Hangover

With nowhere to go and relatives demanding full explanations of your job/life/tattoos to avoid, the screen provides a much-needed escape. But discovering a new show snowballs into an 18-hour binge and it becomes easy to forget you do not exist solely to consume plot twists. Catatonic from over-consumption, you’ll have to interact with other humans to beat this one.

The Too Much Time With Family Hangover

When it comes to family, distance directly equates to tolerability. There is nothing more harmful to the body and mind to remember why you flushed your sister’s dolls down the toilet and stamped on your brother’s Lego. The most severe of all the hangovers, this can take months, or in some cases up to a year, to shift. If you can stand them by Easter you’re doing well.