Whenever I’m by myself at a coffee shop I like to sit by a window and see the people walking by, not because I’m a creep, but because I love to imagine what are they doing, what kind of person they are, or simply trying to picture a micro-story based on what I see. Ever since I started blogging and talking to owners, managers, and people in the food industry, I’ve realised that every restaurant and dish is also telling us a story, or at least that’s what I like to think, so this time, I decided to write about it.

Some days ago (if you follow me on Instagram or if you read this article, you already know) I went on a research mission to find some seasonal drinks to write an article with my top picks, and during that research mission I stumbled upon Alston Bar & Beef’s Christmas Special cocktail menu!

Turns out every bartender at Alston Bar & Beef came up with a drink, and even though they’re all incredibly unique, they all taste like Christmas in their own way. I’m here to share with you the different characters I came up with when trying these drinks, not because they represent the creator themselves, but because this is my way of saying “if this drink was a person, this is what they would be like”. Let’s begin!

Nuts about Amaretto at Alston Bar & Beef

Nuts about Amaretto: Amaretto with sweet sherry, lemon, apple and egg white. Garnished with nut meg.

1. The one who competes with everyone on their block to see who has the best Christmas lights

I mean, if you don’t know this person, you have at least seen it on one of the thousands of Christmas movies we get every year. They’re crazy about Christmas and we all know it. Also, they love to humble brag on social media and show everyone how cool their decorations are.

This drink was G’s favourite, as you probably read here, but I enjoyed it as well. It felt really Christmassy in a super traditional way.


A really chocolatey Christmas drink to get you right into the festive spitir

Toblerone: Frangelico served with Kahlua and half and half. Perfected with chocolate sprinkles and honey.

2. The one that wants EVERYONE to get into the Christmas spirit

And I don’t mean spirit as in alcohol (we have a drink for that person later), I mean this is the sweetest person during the holiday season. They love the festivities and want to make sure that everyone is enjoying every single day of the month. They, of course, are the ones to propose and organise your group’s Secret Santa, and bring Christmas treats to everyone in their office.

This was my absolute favourite drink, and I seriously feel like I could drink it every day (and not only during the holiday season). It’s a sweet cocktail that reminded me a bit of a (not warm at all) hot chocolate and a soft White Russian, without any vodka involved.


Caramel Spiced Rum Old Fashioned at Alston Bar & Beef

Caramel spiced Rum Old Fashioned: Kraken with caramel syrup, lime zest and angustora.

3. The one who always wants to keep the tradition alive.

They’re always talking about how Christmas was “back in the day” and have the best stories of the holidays. After eating Turkey, we’re all excited to hear what he has to say, and he’s always eager to teach the new generation all about the family holiday traditions.

I tried this drink excited for the rum and the salted caramel and it was even better than what I was expecting. As much as I love a more traditional Old Fashioned, the caramel syrup brought a dose of sweetness that makes this an excellent drink of choice when you’re not in the mood for something super sugary.


Dutch Christmas cocktail at Alston Bar & Beef

Dutch Christmas: Bols Geneva put perfectly together with apple, honey, lemon, fresh orange and apple jam

G took this photo right in front of our favourite spot at Alston Bar & Beef, and I just couldn’t ignore it! He was incredibly proud 🙂

4. The one that goes crazy with the ugly Christmas jumpers

They’re probably the ones to suggest a competition, and they’re in it to win it. They’ll have the craziest outfit, with bells, music, and lights, of course. They might even have a matching hairstyle or style their beards with some baubles. You can rest assured that they’ll have tons of fun putting together this outfit (and probably even more fun after they get the first place at the competition, of course).

This cocktail was delicious, and I really enjoyed the fruity flavour of it. My favourite part was getting a holiday taste without it being creamy/chocolatey/traditional. It definitely stands out!


Berry Spice holiday cocktail at Alston Bar & Beef

Berry Spice: Brockmans mixed with creme de mure, lemon, egg white and cinnamon syrup. Finished off with peychaunds love hearts.

5. The one that’s never home during the holidays

And it’s not because they fly somewhere warm, but because they always get invited to every Christmas get-together, party, and all the holiday-related events you can think of. They take this season as the perfect excuse to go from one celebration to the other, and they never refuse a glass of champagne!

This drink was incredibly unique and special. The texture of the egg white on top was delicious, and the berry punch complemented it perfectly. It’s just the right balance between the lemon and the sweetness of the syrup.


Mare Mare Christmas holiday cocktail at Alston Bar & Beef

Mare, Mare Christmas: Gin Mare with lemon, egg white and homemade cinnamon syrup. Garnished with rosemary and a sweet orange swirl.

6. The one that bakes the best Christmas treats

This person always knows what to bring to Christmas parties, and you wouldn’t dare skip their Christmas dinner (I mean, who would reject their amazing food?). Every time you pay them a visit, their house smells like holidays in a jar, either from one of their delicious recipes, all the rosemary they have around, or one of their seasonal candles from their extensive collection.

I think the Gin and the rosemary made this drink incredibly special. This is definitely what Christmas in Manchester tastes like.


And that’s my take on Alston Bar & Beef’s Christmas specials! I had lots of fun trying these drinks, and even more fun coming up with all of these characters we can encounter during the holidays. I already have a couple of people on my list that could fall into many of these categories, and I’m sure you thought of a couple of friends as well 😉

A BIG thank you to the team at Alston Bar & Beef for having us and providing all the drinks during my research mission (that makes it sound like I’m doing something other than ‘just having cocktails’, right?) and for the great experience. I cannot wait to go back and revisit my favourites (as well as their amazing range of gins, they’re all brewed in house, and you won’t find anything similar anywhere else!).

Now I want to hear from you, what other spirits have you encountered this season? Do you feel like you fall into any of these categories? If so, which one? I’d love to know! Comment below or message me on social media 🙂 You can find me on Instagram (@michellelovestoeat), Twitter (@mlovestoeat), and Facebook (@michellelovestoeat).

Finally, if you need some help picking presents for friends and family, I’ve got a holiday gift guide that you should read here. Let me know if you enjoy these seasonal articles so I can keep writing them 🙂 I’d love to hear your feedback.


Enough writing on my side. Thanks for reading 🙂

Michelle’s out!


Disclaimer: please remember that all of these are fictional characters and stories that I came up with. They’re not based on the bartenders, any member of the staff, or any real person. If you feel like you can relate way too much to any of them, it’s just a fun coincidence 😉 


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