The way we buy drinks may have changed, but there is still something special about stocking the cocktail cabinet for Christmas, despite the cost. But what if I told you that you can buy your favourite Christmas drinks selection at a more competitive price, and that they taste as good as, or even better than, the leading brands?
Lidl are offering their best Christmas range ever this year, featuring everything from the best main courses, sides and alternatives, through delicious desserts and perfect party food, to that all-important Christmas drinks selection. Obviously, trying Christmas drinks is hard work, but to get you the very best for your festive celebrations, someone has to do it. And you know how much we like to help you out here at Attachment Towers. So, at great personal cost, we sampled, we cocktailed and we compared, and here's what we found...
Brilliant Purchase #1: Hortus London Dry Gin
The beautiful label on the Hortus Gin is befitting of a far pricier and loftier brand, making it perfect for gifting we thought. The gin itself is pleasant. Dry, delicate, not overpoweringly floral or botanical in aroma or flavour, and it makes a fine G&T.
We also tried the Hortus gin in a Bramble cocktail, Steve's favourite, which lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, but in a simple Dirty Martini the dryness of the gin, without any strong botanicals, worked brilliantly. At £15.99, this gin is AMAZING value for money, and will make the perfect gin and tonic for Christmas afternoon. Snap it up!
Brilliant Purchase #2: Deluxe Non-Alcoholic Mulled Punch
The first weekend of December is the annual Arundel by Candlelight event, a lovely festive treat complete with choristers, Christmas tree, traditional rides for the children, lovely food and gifts to buy, and the first mulled wine and mince pie of the season. Always the driver, I opt for their delicious mulled punch and have gradually gleaned the guarded recipe from Pallant's over the years. However, despite my best efforts, it is never as good as theirs.
I had put my inability to replicate the real thing down to our kitchen lacking the fresh wintry air and convivial atmosphere of the event, but it seems Lidl have succeeded where I did not. Their Deluxe Non-Alcoholic Mulled Punch has just the right combination of fruit, spice and flavour and smells and tastes delicious when warmed on the stove. Just lovely - and an absolute snip at £1.99!
Brilliant Purchase #3: Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur
For many people, including my husband and mother, Christmas is synonymous with a certain B__ drink. Nothing beats Irish Cream Liqueur for that desserty sweet drink, perfect for indulging in with a selection of Yuletide sweetmeats, such as Lebkuchen, stolen and mince pies. Even those who have sworn they 'can't eat another thing!' are sure to be found perusing the sweets laid out on a card table beside the fire come Christmas evening.
Lidl offers two versions of Irish Cream Liqueur and this Deluxe version is the pricier one - at just £6.99!! Gloriously indulgent, richly creamy and delightfully satisfying, it doesn't have the sharp whiskey note of some budget brands, and in a blind taste test I'm not sure anyone could tell this isn't the leading brand. Very impressive, and an amazing price.
I should warn you though, it took three Lidl trips to snaffle this as it is, literally, flying off the shelves. I also forgot to get a photo of the bottle, which was rapidly emptied and despatched by Steve, my mum, our neighbours and anyone else who passed by! Get yours a.s.a.p.
All in all, we can't believe what great value the Lidl drinks range is. The gin and Irish Cream Liqueur taste easily as good as leading brands, and the Non-Alcoholic Mulled Punch is a brilliant find, perfect for drivers and anyone else going alcohol-free this December. We heartily recommend.
All food pictured from Lidl's Christmas range.
Disclosure : I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.