Christmas countdown: 9 weeks to go – what jobs to do this week

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One of the best things about Christmas is being able to put your feet up and enjoy a few festive drinks. As the big day draws closer, we are joined by an expert mixologist who shares his top tips and top tipples.

This Saturday marks nine weeks – or 63 sleeps – until Christmas day 2021.

With just two months to go until the big day, what jobs can you tackle this week? is joined by Freddy May, expert mixologist for Drambuie, to talk us through how to create the perfect drinks for your festivities, with minimal stress and maximum satisfaction.

Freddy says: “Getting together at Christmas is a highlight of the year for many families and loved ones. It’s an opportunity to reconnect, make memories and share moments of joy and laughter, all whilst indulging in an array of special food and drink.

“Whilst Christmas is a special time that deserves celebration, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of hosting and inevitably spend a lot of money on huge spreads of food, drink and décor.

“For a host, there’s an extra level of responsibility and overseeing the hustle and bustle, ensuring everyone’s got a choice of their favourite festive food and drink, is no small task.”

The best thing to do is get prepared ahead of time, this saves you from getting stressed in the run-up to the big day, or having to battle the crowds when the shops get busy with other last-minute shoppers.

So, this week with plenty of time to go until Christmas, why not start planning your drinks menu?

Freddy says: “Even though I love making cocktails, you won’t catch me doing anything too demanding on Christmas Day – hosts should be enjoying themselves with guests and there isn’t the kitchen counter space for things to get complicated.

“So, I find simple and tasty drinks combinations are essential to prepare ahead of time.

“For a twist on tradition that’s easy to prepare in advance and make in batches, sangria is a great way to bring new life into a bottle of mulled wine – simply mix them together with some orange juice and a splash of Drambuie.”

To power you through wrapping presents, baking mince pies or peeling potatoes, why not try Freddy’s twist on an espresso martini?

He recommends brewing a pot of coffee, and keeping it cool in the fridge, so you have it on hand for a coffee-themed cocktail, or for a refreshing iced coffee.

Freddy says: “I like topping up coffee with Drambuie, the Scottish honeyed whisky liqueur, and this makes a tasty premade Drambuie Iced Espresso, which you can serve at your festive get-together straight from the bottle, with no fuss.

“It’s also great as a dessert cocktail – pour straight over ice with a splash of coconut milk, but any type of milk will taste great.

“The premade mix makes a quick and easy twist on an Espresso Martini, if you shake it with ice straight out of the fridge.

“Making the mix ahead of your festive party will not only save you time, but it streamlines your Christmas shop and home bar.”

This twist on an espresso martini can also make a perfect tipple for after your Christmas dinner.

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Freddy says: “In countries around the world, the period after the meal is as important as the food itself. In Spain, they call it a sobremesa, pronounced so-bray-may-sa, and it’s taken so seriously that if you leave the table during sobremesa, it is said you have broken the special spell.

“The English translation is ‘over the table’, but this really doesn’t do the occasion justice – as it’s about those invaluable moments after your Christmas meal where the conversation is flowing, friendships and family bonds are strengthened and there is nowhere anyone would rather be.”

These are Freddy’s top tips:

  • Preparation – Do as much as you can before guests arrive, so you can enjoy maximum time with your loved ones
  • Pretty lighting – Light your dining area atmospherically with clusters of twisted fairy lights, lanterns and candles
  • Home bar – Create a tray with a selection of delicious drinks like Drambuie, which can be brought easily to the table
  • Make and chill coffee or cold brew in advance – you need options you can get on the table quickly
  • Little extras – fill the freezer with ice, prep and cover your garnishes and have different glassware easily available. Have small dishes of savoury choices like nuts and cheese and sweet treats like chocolates and petit fours on hand.
  • Leave the clearing up – enjoy your guests and don’t break the sobremesa spell by leaving the table early.

Recap of last week’s jobs

Last week we were joined by Adam Bullock, director of

Adam said: “Christmas as we all know is an expensive time of year, which is why spreading the cost over a few months means potentially less of a struggle in the run up to the big day.

“It might feel crazy starting your shopping in October, but your wallet may just thank you for it in December or January. With 10 weeks to go until Christmas Day, it’s a good idea to start planning – especially with talks of stock shortages and delays. 

“Make sure you stick to your budget and avoid panic buying though – you’ll only end up overspending and negating the point of planning!”

Adam’s top tips were:

1 – Set a budget – and stick to it.
2 – Do your research – bookmark products you want and shop around for the best price.
3 – Make the most of seasonal sales – Black Friday (November 26, 2021) and Cyber Monday (November 29, 2021)
4 – Earn Cashback
5 – Avoid the shops

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