One of the best things about the weather getting colder is huddling in cosy corners in your thickest jumper, sipping a warm cider and snacking on festive treats.
It can sometimes be a mission to find the sort of comfort drink you’re after though, so on the suggestion of a friend I’ve put together a rudimentary list of places that will fulfill all of your winter boozing needs.
Of course the first mention has to go to Bristol’s main Christmas Market in Broadmead, which runs until early January and in addition to its covered food village (hog roasts, German sausages and a Yorkshire pudding wrap are among the choices) there is also a Jägerbarn and beer garden – complete with various mulled wine and boozy hot chocolate options.
In a similar vein, the Apres Bar is back in Millennium Square Bristol, serving mulled wine & cider as well as draft beers in an Alpine style bar just by the ice rink, food stalls and fairground rides.
If you don’t fancy drinking al fresco, the ultimate winter destination has to be The Rummer, where you can enjoy a mulled wine in front of their roaring fire (they also do a fine line in whisky and rum cocktails if you fancy something a bit stronger).
You can also find some tasty mulled wine at The Library on Cheltenham Road (they also do a red wine flight if you’re not into hot booze), The Old Bookshop in Bedminster and Corks at Cargo, who are serving mulled wine with a dash of port (£4) Friday-Sunday every weekend in the lead up to Christmas.
As for other mulled cider, your first stop should be at the Bristol Cider Shop, who in addition to their usual extensive selection of local ciders, cider brandy and cheese toasties (!) are also doing a damn fine mulled cider (£3) with cider brandy in, yum!
The Apple should also be on your mulled cider hit list – also boasting a ridiculous range of ciders & cider cocktails, they are doing mulled ciders (£4) straight up or with your choice of spirit in, whether it be rum, amaretto or Cointreau.
Hot spiced cider can also be found at a range of local boozers and bars, including…
- The Pipe & Slippers
- The Volunteer Tavern
- The Prince of Wales
- The Bank Tavern
- The Three Tuns
- The Hillgrove
- The Golden Guinea
Not a fan of mulled cider or wine? Here are some other creative booze options to warm your cockles on frostier evenings…
In addition to the cocktails and mulled wine I mentioned before, The Rummer are also doing a Brandy Blazer during the winter months, a special cocktail made from Cognac which involves a bit of flambé action!
Head over to the snug neighbourhood bar Bristol Spirit in Whitehall for a warm mulled gin or vodka, or you could opt for their True Romance sloe vodka (also available online if you want a tipple at home) or one of their special cocktails.
Alternatively, you can head to St Michael’s Hill and nab a mulled G&T at Bristol’s very own micro gin distillery, Psychompomp, who as well as this also have their new winter gin available for tasting, alongside some festive events and cocktails.
You can also get a hot G&T at No.1 Harbourside in the centre, who are also doing mulled cider and Hot Toddys – perfect for if you feel a touch of the sniffles coming on. Sister bar The Old Market Assembly will be serving warm cocktails throughout the winter months too.
Playground Coffee are doing a very exciting winter cocktail menu, including Aztec Spicy Hot Chocolate (mezcal, hot chocolate & chilli), Not Just Baileys Hot Chocolate (Baileys, Amaretto, Teelings Irish Whiskey & chocolate), Hot Toddys and Irish Coffees, alongside other cocktail classics and a warm winter special called Architects & Kings (Campari, Wild Turkey Rye, coffee & Angostura Bitters) – phwoar!
Or nab yourself a ‘Mary Berry’ (Somerset 3yr old cider brandy, sweet vermouth, Aperol & a dash of Angostura bitters) from Bertha’s in Wapping Wharf . They describe it as like sitting by an open fire, which sounds good to me.
Hyde & Co. aren’t missing out on the festive action either – their Christmassy cocktail is their take on a classic Snow Ball: Martell VS Cognac, spiced sugar syrup, cream, Pimento Dram & a whole egg, shaken hard & served long, finished with lemonade.
If hot booze isn’t your thing, another option could be heading to The Hare in Bedminster for their whisky celebration for St Andrews weekend (30 Nov-3 Dec), or the winter beer festival from 8-11 December.
Trying to steer clear of alcohol? No probs, there are still plenty of exciting winter warmers for you to work your way through.
My longstanding favourite has the be The Drink That Shall Not Be Named (inspired by a well-known drink from Harry Potter, hence the cryptic name) from At The Well on Stokes Croft, which is like warm liquid Wether’s Originals – super sweet and super tasty!
Moving on to chocolate – we’re lucky enough to have not one but two dedicated chocolate cafes in Bristol, so these should be top of your list for an indulgent hot chocolate.
Bar Chocolat in Clifton has a range of hot chocolates in addition to their vast menu of all things chocolate related, and you can also choose to have marshmallows, sprinkles or more chocolate on top of your drink (accompanied by chocolate cake, naturally).
I was also recently introduced to arguably the best hot chocolate of my life at Swoon on Park St – they may specialise in top notch gelato, but their hot chocolate is silky smooth and delicious.
Mrs Potts Chocolate House on Park St hasn’t been around that long but has already made a name for itself with its seriously good chocolate goodies and hot drinks. Choose from their hot chocolates (made with 100% cocoa) made with milk, dark or white chocolate and topped with toasted homemade marshmallows, or their chocolate chai (I’m a big fan). They also do warm chocolate dipping pots, coffees and a range of teas.
Following the chocolate theme, the cafe at Windmill Hill City Farm in Bedminster has gone for a Candy Cane Mocha – coffee & chocolate with peppermint flavouring and a festive chocolate snowflake design on top, very Christmassy!
Finally, if you find yourself in the vicinity of Easton (although to be honest the food & drink places there are worth a trip in their own right these days), Este Kitchen is doing a Colombian hot chocolate for the sweet-toothed folk, and ginger or vanilla turmeric lattes for the grown ups. Both sound lush, so I’m planning a trip soon!
Of course, in addition to all the places above, Bristol has plenty of lovely cosy coffee shops for you to tuck yourself into, as well as a multitude of cosy pubs.
If you’ve enjoyed this, maybe you’ll like:
- The Bristol Foodie’s Christmas Gift Guide
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- 12 Top Bristol Brunches
- Vegetarian Bristol & Bath
- Bristol’s Classiest Cocktail Bars