SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

The best liqueurs for Christmas

From salted caramel to English sambuca, these award-winning liqueurs guarantee indulgence over the festive season (if, in some cases, only the festive season...)

Words by IWSC experts

Glass of Dark Choc Liqueur
Handpicked by IWSC

Ask people to name their favourite Christmas tipple and quite often you’ll hit guilty-pleasure territory. Yes, it’s the time of year when we tell ourselves it’s OK to step into reindeer slippers and sip a salted caramel Baileys. But while we’re all familiar with the smooth, toffee hit that an Irish cream liqueur delivers, how about the more exotic Asian baijiu bottlings? We’ve put together the six best IWSC award-winning liqueurs to drink in your Christmas bubble, so your tastebuds can take off, even if you can’t.

Cream liqueurs have been reinvigorated recently with producers turning to new, innovative ingredients. One flavour that’s captured the imagination is salted caramel, and the Tesco Finest Salted Caramel Cream Liqueur is a surprisingly elegant example. Chocolate lovers, meanwhile, need look no further than Austria for Mozart’s rich, decadent – and trophy-winning – Chocolate Cream Liqueur.

Homemade espresso martinis came a long way in lockdown, thanks to the advent of Zoom cocktail-making classes, and the Bristol Distilling Co’s 77 Black Cold Brew Coffee & Vanilla Liqueur will take your cocktail creations to new heights. Another cocktail contender that’s equally good on ice is the French Royal Combier Liqueur. Made from a mix of Triple Sec and the Elixir de Combier Liqueur it delivers a bitter orange flavour along with notes of nutmeg and cinnamon. Try it instead of Triple Sec to liven up your margaritas.

And for those wanting to go totally tropical this festive season, try dropping a fruit bomb into your glass in the form of a Chinese baijiu liqueur. A clear spirit made from fermented rice or grain, the Fenjiu Zhu Ye Qing Jiu 10 Year Old is infused with bamboo leaves, herbs and sugar cane and boasts layers of mango and guava underpinned by spices, nuts and a lick of umami.