Anyone for satsuma gin? 10 brilliant ways to infuse Mother's Ruin this Christmas 

Infused gins
The Christmas spirit: gin is ideal for infusing festive flavours Credit: Alamy

Ah, the Christmas tipple – the most satisfying, indulgent, and wonderfully boozy of all drinks. And this could be the year of the Christmassy gin. With more exciting gins hitting shelves than ever before, gin is the spirit for infusing some festive flavours of your own.

As gin experts will know, proper sloe gin might be a, well, slow process, but there’s still time make yourself some uniquely seasonal gin: just a few weeks of infusion time with certain ingredients will give gin a distinctive Christmassy flavour.

“It’s a case of cold compounding,” says Mark Holdsworth, founder of the Half Hitch Gin distillery and pioneer of the tea-infused"G With Tea" (geddit?). “You can prepare ingredients – such as breaking the skin of fruit, if that’s what you’re using – and letting them rest in the spirit to release the flavour. It could just be how you garnish a drink or rim a glass too.”

So whether you’re a pudding, chocolate, or even sprout person at this time of year, here are 10 ways to turn your standard gin into a real Christmas treat.


One of the most traditional of all festive flavours, the sweetness of satsumas also sits with the traditionally citrus tones of gin. Rather than using the whole fruit, simply let the peel sit in the gin between now and the big day, when you can drink to finding satsuma in the bottom of your glass instead of your stocking.

Satsumas are a traditional Christmas flavour Credit: Alamy


It just wouldn’t be the festive season without the taste of your childhood – sugary, gingery, crumbly deliciousness. You can let the gingerbread rest in the gin for a fre weeks so the booze picks up the flavour, but it will leave sediment, so make sure you sieve (there’s no greater faux pas than a guest finding a gingerbread man’s leg in their drink).

Turkish Delight

An essential Christmas indulgence, Turkish Delight can be used to put a seasonal twist on gin and tonic. Firstly, grind 1 tbsp icing sugar and rose petals into a powder, then add a small amount to the bottom of a glass, along with ice, limoncello, rose lemonade, and gin. Alternatively, try infusing gin with 100g chopped Turkish delight, plus a teaspoon each of rosewater and sugar.

Give your G&T the scent of Turkish delight Credit: Alamy

Mulled Wine Spices

Though the critical element of gin is juniper, it commonly contains hints of festive spices like cinnamon and cloves, which can be added to and brought out even further with ingredients such as nutmeg, star anise and vanilla pods. Garnish with a cinnamon stick for some extra seasonal kick.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange

Chocolate and gin aren’t obvious bedfellows, but the citric edge makes this a must-try Christmas combo. The chocolate should dissolve in the alcohol – which could get messy, so be prepared to decanter if things get deliciously sludgy at the bottom – plus you can decorate with a chocolate orange segment on a cocktail stick. Pure class.

Mince Pies

The sweet, creamy crust of mince pies makes them an ideal compliment for the juniper berry. In this instance, there’s no need for a flavouring process (thus saving yourself the effort of trying to cram a whole pie into your spirit bottle), as you can add the flavour by simply rimming your G&T glass with crumbed pastry.

Christmas Pudding

With brand name gins already distilling Christmas puddings, this flavour is tried, tested, and undeniably tasty. Put together a traditional pudding mix and leave to sit in your gin until you’re ready to drink, sieving before you serve. Extra points if you can garnish a sprig of holly.


Like sloe berries, there’s a tartness to cranberries that make them perfect for sloe gin. Just a few weeks' of infusion will still give gin a distinctive Christmassy flavour. Add 100g of cranberries into a bottle, pricking their skin to let the juice out. Balance the tartness with 100g of caster sugar, and for best results shake the bottle every few days.

Cranberry gin is a lovely festive colour Credit: Alamy


Many gins can contain 10 or more botanicals, some of which already have hints of wood or earthy flavours. For the full yuletide effect, infuse with the toasty notes of roasted chestnuts (open fire optional – though if you’re going to do something Christmassy, you might as well do it right). Walnuts are also recommended.


“Some things are best left on the dinner plate,” says Mark. And yes, the thought of sprout-infused gin might sound a bit stomach churning, but there’s an important festive lesson here: no one wants to have sprouts, but we’ve got to ­– it is Christmas, after all. For maximum sprouty flavour, boil first (little crosses on the bottom mandatory) then leave to soak in the gin, creating the perfect accompaniment for Christmas dinner.

Why not drink your greens? Credit: Alamy