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The best Christmas cocktails with Francesco Braun

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Antonio Wedral
The best Christmas cocktails with Francesco Braun

Calling all merry elves.

Christmas is fast approaching which means one thing, and one thing only - we can drink to our heart's content with no added shame or judgement. Perfect.

So to help you on your merry way, we had a brief chinwag with the extremely talented Francesco Braun, who runs @just_imbiber, a cocktail focused Instagram page which has led him to work with alcohol-based brands Bacardi, Diageo and Pernod Ricard.

Whether you want to make your festive evenings extra special, need a creative way to impress the family or simply want an indulgent tipple for the Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special, we’ve got you sorted. So if you're a Boston, Cobbler, or Parisian shaker, or just a simple Tin on Tin user then you’re in good hands.

Q: Tell us about yourself, how did you get into cocktail making?
F: I got into cocktail making 10 years ago in Rome, my home town. I was studying my second year of Uni when I decided to move to London once I finished my studies, I needed to save up money and I didn’t want to be a waiter. Bartending was an “emerging” sector at the time and I wanted to do something creative as well, but to be honest, I did not expect to go so far.

Q: What’s your favourite cocktail and why?
F: I don’t have a favourite one, I think that for cocktails there is a time and place for each one. I really enjoy Paloma or Margarita as all-day drinks (I love tequila!) or a good Old Fashioned after dinner.

Q: There is no better time than now to bring the bar in-house - any advice for beginner cocktail makers?
F: Keep it simple. Pick one bottle for each main spirit, a Vermouth and Campari. Focus on classic cocktails, something that doesn’t require much prep, so you can enjoy your cocktail at any time without going into too much trouble. Once you feel more confident you can start to experiment.

Q: What type of cocktail would you recommend for a night on the sofa in-front of the TV?
F: Rum/Whiskey Old Fashioned

Photo created by senivpetro

Q: What are your top 3 favourite cocktail or wine bars we have to visit in London?
F: My top 3 cocktail bars would have to be:

Q: What’s the strangest ingredient you've added to a cocktail?
F: I used to have lots of fun with food in cocktails. My experimentation has ranged from cheese and salmon to crickets.

Q: The best cocktails to impress at a dinner party?
F: I often go for a really simple drink that always strikes, the 'Basil Fawlty' is always a winner:

  • 45ml Vodka or Gin
  • 60ml Pineapple juice
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 10 ml sugar
  • 15ml lemon juice

Shake and strained, served in a complete glass.

Q: And finally, what are your two favourite Christmas themed cocktails we can make at home?
F: Definitely my 'Pun-ettone', 'You must be Yolking' and 'Santa is getting Claus' - see the recipes below, they’re a real crowd pleaser guaranteed to add a festive touch over the Christmas period. I picked them as they are fun ways to step up the cocktail game without overdoing it. You could also use leftovers from festive meals.



  • 40ml Vanilla Infused Vodka
  • 40ml Creme Anglaise
  • 20ml Panettone Syrup
  • Lemon Peel



  • Shake and double strain into a glass with ice.
  • Garnish with chocolate and coconut powder around the rim.

You must be yolking!


  • 40ml Dark Rum
  • 40ml Almond Milk
  • 10ml Coca Cola reduction
  • Egg Yolk
  • Aromatic Bitter


  • Shake and double strain into a glass with ice.
  • Garnish with vanilla pod and a generous slice of Panettone

Santa is getting Claus


  • 40ml Gin
  • 1 Drop Orange Bitter
  • 20ml Mulled Wine Reduction
  • 15ml Sweet Vermouth

Mulled wine recipe:

  • 2:1 mulled wine and sugar in a saucepan.
  • Slow cook till thick and reduced to 1/3.


If you enjoyed this and need more tantalising festive cocktail ideas then head over to @just_imbiber's page. Or if you fancy your hand at baking then glance at our interview with Great British Bake Off contestant, Benjamina Ebuehi who shares two of her favourite recipes with us.

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