So, this is Christmas. A very different kind of Christmas for people all around the world.
It’s safe to say that this year has shocked and challenged us all over and over again, and it’s been hard to live the lives we used to. However, we at I’M NOT A BARISTA want to keep your spirits up this Christmas! Whether you’re celebrating with a huge festive feast, or simply spending your day as you would any other, we want to give you a little insider on how a particular culture enjoys its merry day. And so, we’d like you to join us in taking a look at British culinary traditions by showing you how Brits like to enjoy their drinks and desserts for Christmas!
6. Irish Coffee
Of course, we had to start the list with coffee. A classic during the colder months; an Irish coffee contains an ingredient you’d sooner see at a bar than any café: whiskey. Though the origin of this drink is assumed to be European, and many countries have claimed to have developed the recipe, Irish coffee is very popular among British people. The drink consists of coffee, of course, mixed with whiskey, sugar and topped with cream. It’s halfway between a dessert and a coffee, really, so make sure to get yourself a double shot if you still want to taste your coffee, otherwise, that whiskey will punch through any other flavours. Many aren’t complaining about that, though!
5. Christmas Pudding
You’ll always catch this one on the festive menu, and you’ll find British supermarkets’ shelves filled with all different kinds of this dessert. Christmas pudding, affectionately known by Brits as ‘Christmas Pud’, has its origin in medieval England. It was once referred to as ‘plum pudding’, despite not actually containing any form of plums. The ingredient list for a traditional Christmas pudding is quite long, containing some foods that many have never heard of, such as suet, candied peel and navel oranges. It is also flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg, giving it that warm, festive taste. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a British festivity without some form of alcohol. In fact, Christmas pudding has a mixture of a few different spirits, such as rum, stout and barley wine. It is traditional to use this alcohol to light the pudding on fire before serving, and it’s quite a sight to behold!
If you’ve ever spent a Christmas in the United Kingdom, you’ve heard of Bailey’s. This is an incredibly popular alcoholic drink among British people, and it can be found in pretty much any store or bar during the festive season. Its full name is Bailey’s Irish Cream and is a cream liqueur flavoured with cocoa and Irish Whiskey. Though there are numerous flavours, the espresso variation is very popular among Brits. It is usually served alone, or as part of a festive dessert. You can even pour it over your Christmas pudding!
3. Chocolate Log
Yes, it doesn’t sound too appealing. But chocolate log is actually a very delicious and popular dish in Britain. To put it simply, a chocolate log is basically a chocolate sponge cake, covered with chocolate cream and rolled into a log, and then again covered in chocolate. Most chocolate logs have a ‘wooden’ look so that they live up to their name and are often dusted with sugar for a snowy effect. It is very popular among children, many of which aren’t quite at the stage for the boozy Christmas pudding, though many adults love the dessert too! One
of the most popular brands of Chocolate log in the United Kingdom is that produced by Cadbury’s, one of Britain’s most prominent chocolate companies. Though any chocolate log will surely satisfy your tastes, Cadbury’s is a definite go-to for Brits during the festive season.
2. Mulled Wine
This is a drink you’ll find at every Christmas market in Britain. Mulled wine is an absolute favourite among Brits, with its warm, seasonal spices and interesting variations. Traditional mulled wine is of the red variety, which can be a shiraz, merlot, rioja or anything in between, usually flavoured with oranges, lemons, cloves and cinnamon sticks. It’s drank hot, its flavours much sweeter and bolder with all the additional ingredients. It can also be mixed with brandy, but that’s optional. If you want a good, traditional mulled wine, hit the British Christmas markets, such as those in Bath and Cardiff. You can, of course, buy bottles of pre-made mulled wine at British stores, but that’s never quite the same. It’s best consumed in a paper cup, standing on the roadside or sat in one of the outdoor cabin bars during a frosty winter evening.
1. Mince Pies
Don’t worry, no meat included in this dessert! Despite its name, there is no minced meat in mince pies. There is, however, mincemeat. It sounds a bit too similar for its own good, but the only thing you’ll find in a mince pie is fruit and spices. Traditionally, ‘mince pies’ was the name given to a range of meat pies, such as mutton pie, a pastry filled with sheep meat, during the thirteenth century AD and onward in Britain. Today, however ‘mincemeat’ has an entirely different meaning. If you were to look up a traditional mincemeat recipe you’ll see ingredient lists including raisins, currants, apples, suet, nutmeg and lemon. This mixture comes together to create an amazingly flavourful filling, placed in a shortcrust pastry and usually dusted with sugar. You can eat these delicious treats cold, but their flavours are completely elevated when hot, and served with cream or brandy butter. Mince pies have seen many variations over the years. You can now find them in the form of lattices, tarts, puffs. But you definitely won’t be able to beat the original.
If you want to try some of these lovely little British dishes or drinks, but can’t find them in your country’s stores, you can find pages upon pages of recipes online! Homemade is always the best way. Below are a few links to some of the best traditional recipes online…
Bailey’s Irish Cream:
From us at I’M NOT A BARISTA, we’d like to wish you a very merry, very stress-free, very happy Christmas. Though many of us cannot celebrate in the way we’d like to this year, all we can do is try to enjoy good food and good drinks with the ones we love, be it in person or virtual! Let’s make this Christmas one to remember.