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While you’re busy #ConqueringChristmas this week we at Diageo Bar Academy thought you might like a bit of light relief…

The big day’s not far away so no doubt your thoughts have started to turn to how you’ll be spending it (if you don’t have the Christmas Day shift!).

To get you in the mood, we’ve taken the opportunity to catch up with some of our famous bartending friends to ask what they’ll be eating, drinking and doing over the festive period.

Here’s what they had to say…


New York based Gary Regan is one of the World’s top bartenders and leading pioneer of the bartering industry. Gary is a regular columnist and writes in some of the world’s largest publications.

“For me, having been born and raised in the UK, Christmas isn’t complete without Christmas crackers, and I insist that everyone at the table wear the silly paper hats found inside the crackers, for the whole Christmas dinner.

My dinners at Christmas time are pretty much traditional with turkey, mashed and roasted potatoes, Brussel sprouts (which I prepare as a casserole with lots of garlic), and homemade sage and onion stuffing using sage that we grow in our herb garden at home.

After dinner I like to sit quietly and listen to a recording of Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” then I make my Christmas drink for everyone and we sip this whilst listening to the greatest Christmas song ever recorded: Fairytale of New York by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl.

Why not try my favourite Christmas tipple…”

Feliz Navidad

45ml RON ZACAPA™ 23

45ml Ruby port

22.5ml Gingerbread syrup

METHOD: Mix together at room temperature in a snifter and serve.

(2 standard drinks* - 2.8 units per serve)


Alex Kratena is former head bartender at the Savoy London, listed World’s Best Bar 2015. Having just left this role to pursue new, exciting opportunities in 2016, we can’t wait to hear what he gets up to.

“To be perfectly honest I hate Christmas and over last 8 years I've been always working. This year I'll dedicate my time during festive period to research and development of our new projects together with Simone and rest of our team. It will feel like spending time with family anyway!

Happy Holidays!”

Happy Holidays!”

Alex’s favourite Christmas Cocktail…


30ml Mexican Liqueur

25ml AOC vermouth

10ml Agave nectar

120ml Chocolate

2 Pieces golden nugget


1200g 70% Ocoa cacao barry

1200ml Water

2 Pieces cinnamon stick

2 Pieces star anise

4tbps Chipotle powder

METHOD: Boil the water to infuse the botanicals, pass through superbag. Boil again and pour over chocolate. Mix with hand blender until dissolved.

TO ASSEMBLE AND SERVE: In nonreactive container blend chocolate and rest of the ingredients, warm up in microwave. Place cup with gold powder dusted nuggets and the jar in front of the guest, swizzling the mixture, slowly pour over the nuggets.


World Class Guru Spike Marchant is a global mixologist used to judging the best cocktail creations around the globe.

“Celebrations have completely changed for me in the last few years with the addition of two more people to proceedings, my children who will be 6 months and 3¼ years old this year. Gone are the slap up Xmas lunches and round of industry knees-up night-outs with bottles of ‘the finest wines available to humanity', now it’s early morning starts, potties and bottles of nature’s finest. My favourite spot for Christmas was always 'Rules' on Maiden Lane, London’s oldest restaurant. If you haven’t been you are missing not just great food and drink but an insight into the gentry of England. It’s typically populated with a balloon-trousered trencherman polishing off entire rounds of stilton and bottles of port for dessert whilst bragging about their hunting prowess and Dowager Duchesses bossing the waiting staff with aristocratic hauteur.

Having a Scandinavian wife however means that we get double Xmas. We start on the 24th December with lashings of potatoes, pickled herrings, Jansoons Temptation (that’s an anchovy dish not a Swedish soft pop-rock band) and of course an endless selection of Akvavit. We tend to tour the whole of Scandinavia with our range of Akvavit from the classic Norwegian Linea Akvavit, then some of the new wave boutique creations, including Halland’s Elderflower but I always avoid the utterly foul Beska Droppar.

Those celebrations segue neatly into a standard English 25th December, my family have a penchant for fancy dress that once saw same my entire clan descend on my brother’s local pub in Tenterden in Kent dressed as pirates. It’s amazing how invisible six people dressed as very poor Jack Sparrow impersonators can be in an English pub, even with a singing parrot.”

Whatever you’re doing this season make sure it’s a great one!

Want to learn more about #ConqueringChristmas as a bartender, check out all our op recipe ideas and tips for managing the season.

(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)

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