We’ve put our heads together here at Hickory HQ and got some top tips from our talented kitchen, bar and office team so you can pull out all the stops and impress your guests this Christmas. Whether its impressing your guests with tasty treats, wowing them with a Christmas tipple or generally just making your life easier for a more relaxed, stress-free Christmas, team Hickory have got you covered.

Tis’ the season to try something new

Don’t be afraid to try something new this Christmas whether it’s introducing some tasty new canapés or adding something stronger to your turkey gravy like a dash of Cognac or Brandy. After all no one’s going to moan on Christmas day!

Nibbles, bites and tasty delights

Canapés are a must at every Christmas party and sometimes the simplest of things are the yummiest. Why not try a savoury spiced shortbread made with cinnamon and nutmeg, these make a fantastic base for all kinds of nibbles.

Try serving simply with a crème fraiche dip mixed through with clementine juice and zest, or blitz some quality Scottish stilton with cream cheese and a little orange zest to make it light and fluffy and pipe on to the shortbread.

Pimp your mincemeat

Homemade mincemeat is so much tastier than shop bought but we know that time is never on your side during the festive period. Buy the best supermarket jar you can get but pimp it up with some extra brandy and a handful of luxurious dried fruits – of course accept compliments graciously.

Spice up your snips’

Roasted parsnips are a staple on Christmas day. Impress your guests by adding a sprinkling of parmesan and caraway seeds before serving to add a little touch of something special.

Mix up your mulled wine

Our talented Bar Development Manager, Adam Murphy created this delicious white mulled wine, it has great flavour but a lighter taste and texture than the traditional recipe. All you have to do is add all the ingredients to a large pan and simmer for 10 minutes then strain through a sieve to ensure no sediment is left – the smells that will be filling your kitchen are the definition of Christmas.

Ingredients (makes approx. 1 litre)

  • 1 x Bottle white wine
  • 300ml Apple juice
  • 100ml Calvados (apple brandy) or Brandy
  • 100g White caster or granulated sugar
  • Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, all spice, star anise) – you can get good spice mix or a tea spoon of each ground spice.
  • 3 slices of orange peel

Spruce up your Christmas tipples

You’ve got your obvious festive drinks like Baileys, Drambuie and Port that are delicious and indulgent, everything Christmas is about. But why not mix it up and look for something a bit different like the Frasier liqueur, a beautiful whisky liqueur that has subtle flavours of strawberry layered over the top of blended Scotch whisky and the Aelder Elixir, an elderberry liqueur made with a base of Scotch whisky and wild foraged botanicals – delicious with cheese, by itself or over ice cream!

Spoil your guests this season

There are some fantastic seasonal beers and ciders that are great this time of year with the richer, heavier flavours that perfectly fit with the season. Keep a look out for William Brothers Festive Spruce Beer, Knops Brewery Black Cork and Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Cider.

Save yourself on washing up

Don’t waste precious time on Christmas day washing up, stock up on tin foil trays for all your Christmas dinner extras like your roasted veggies and pigs in blankets. You’ll save some much needed space because you’ll fit more on each tray and have more time to spend with your loved ones.

Turn up the Christmas tunes

Don’t fancy splashing out on expensive speakers to play the obligatory Christmas songs? Load up your mobile phone and pop it in an empty glass or jar and the Christmas songs will be humming from the rooftops.

Don’t get your lights in a tangle

How many times have you come to put your Christmas tree up and you’ve spent hours untangling Christmas lights?! Save yourself the time next Christmas and wrap them around a coat hanger instead of just dumping them in a box and admitting defeat – your future self will thank you!

Chill your Christmas fizz

Forgotten to pop your fizz in the fridge and got guests arriving any second? Wrap your bottles tightly in a wet tea towel or kitchen roll and pop them in the freezer. Your bottles will be ice cold and ready to drink within 20 minutes – cheers!

Organisation is key

Finally, its agreed by all that the best advice we can give you this Christmas is be organised. Plan ahead, know what your guests like and always make sure your turkey actually fits in your oven – we’ve all been there!

On behalf of the whole team here at Hickory we want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!