Christmas in my house is usually quite a boozy affair. We don’t get stupidly drunk, but there’s usually a glass of something alcoholic close to hand throughout the day. Maybe this is why I always end up curled up on the sofa trying not to fall asleep by about 3pm! I was therefore delighted when ALDI invited me to their Christmas Beers, Wines and Spirits press event to sample the best of their award winning range.
I met my friend Rachel in London and we headed to Skyloft: a warehouse style loft space in the Millbank Tower, Westminster. It really is a stunning location with huge windows giving you panoramic views of the London skyline.
You can prop yourself up at the bar…
…or sink into the comfy sofas for a closer look out across the Thames.
Having enjoyed the stunning views (and failed spectacularly at capturing just how beautiful it was – reflections – aargh!) we began to make our way around the room, armed with an empty glass and a tasting booklet, to select our top picks for the festive season!
First off, the fizz! Christmas is the one day of the year when I find it perfectly acceptable to have mince pies and a nice chilled Prosecco for breakfast. Although Aldi do stock a more expensive one, I preferred the cheaper Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante DOCG, £7.49. It was light and refreshing and not too heavy for the morning. Plus I figure for that price it isn’t a waste to make it into a Bucks Fizz if you want to.
Next I tried out the range of champagnes and after much deliberation, (which means I drank more than I probably should have because I couldn’t decide between two of them!) I selected the Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut Rosé, £15.99 as my favourite. It was fruity, fresh, SO bubbly and… pink! I was also genuinely impressed with the price tag.
After this round of tastings I was already starting to get rosy cheeks from the alchohol consumption, so we made our way over to the buffet table to refuel.
Along with some gorgeous platters of cold cuts, cheeses and my favourite sun dried tomatoes, I sampled some (okay ALL!) of their specialty Christmas treats. My favourite was the ice cream pudding centrepiece, £3.49. Chocolate, gold and an ice cream centre? Winner!
Once refuelled we headed over to the dessert wines. I’ve never tried any before but there was a wine expert on hand who explained that these are best paired with puddings or cheese after your main meal.
Dessert wines are a bit more theatrical than your average glass of red or white and so make a lovely gift option. Regrettably someone had already swigged the last of the Ice Wine by the time we arrived so I can’t tell you how it tasted, but I had to include it because it looks so impressive!
I did get to try the Evinor Tokaji Aszu, 5* 2000, £16.99 which was lovely and sweet with apricot notes.
I also discovered the wonder that is Maynard’s 40 Year Old Tawny Port. I was almost too scared to drink it as it looked and sounded so expensive, but ended up going back later for a second helping. It was just so smooth. It also turned out to be £29.99 which wasn’t as pricey as I thought it would be. In fact, I think it’s the perfect present for picky dads.
You may at this stage be wondering how Rachel and I were still standing! Well, don’t worry, we were drinking responsibly and taking just a small sip of each (apart from that port – mmm!)
By this stage we didn’t have it in us to sample any neat spirits, but I’ll make a special mention of the Imperial Collection Vodka since it’s presented in a beautifully ornate bottle decorated with 24 carat gold – fancy!
Naturally we did save enough room for some cocktails though, as ALDI had designed some especially for Christmas. Rachel’s favourite was the gin based Cranberry Sour…
…whereas mine was the Santa and Spice: a vodka based Bloody Mary. Rachel really wasn’t keen on it at all but I have bought all the ingredients and am already looking forward to making it on Boxing Day (it seems like the perfect ‘day after’ drink to me!). The recipes for all their Christmas tipples are available here.
I really have to say a huge thank you to ALDI for their wonderful hospitality. It was a true privilege to go to this event and I hope that I’ve given you a few ideas for affordable last minute presents or treats this Christmas!
What about you – are you ready for Christmas? What’s your favourite food and drink to enjoy on the day?
Please note that this is not a sponsored post and all views/tastes expressed are my own. If you’d like to know more about what it takes to get the Loved By Laura seal of approval, please read my Disclaimer page!