We hadn’t actually planned to make a Christmas vodka, it just sort of happened and when it did, it tasted so good that we knew we had to go with it. Helen Archard, Black Cow’s Creative Director, came up with the recipe one night when rummaging through her kitchen cupboards. Below she talks us through how Christmas Spirit came to be a thing.
Where did the idea for Christmas Spirit come from?
I was looking for something to drink at Christmas with Champagne. What is the most Christmassy of drinks? The Classic Champagne Cocktail: Champagne, brandy and a cube of sugar. I can’t drink that because it gives me a terrible headache but pair the Champagne with vodka and I don’t get one.
So why Christmas Pudding?
Again, there is nothing more Christmassy than a Christmas Pudding. But it is also one of those things that not everyone likes. It is actually improved by being turned into a drink. It is a perfect take on the Classic Champagne Cocktail – you have the sugar, you have the spice and the vodka gives it a bit of a kick.
What happened next?
I began looking at lots of different Christmas Pudding recipes and working out ingredients from there. If you are going to make something really good, you have to start with the best ingredients you can find so there was a lot of that. Really the final recipe is quite pared back. The cinnamon and the orange are such classic Christmas smells, and that zest just tops it off.
Did you test the recipe on anyone?
Archie tried it first of all, then some others at Black Cow. They all just loved it! As soon as you taste it it takes you to a place. It is really evocative: it really is Christmas.
Initially you made the drink as a recipe for the website. What made you want to make it into something bigger?
The reaction. Anyone who tried it was excited by it. I also loved the idea of subverting the Christmas Pudding. Black Cow is all about that, whether it is milk that turns into vodka or a Christmas Pudding that you don’t eat but drink. It seems to fit.
It was somewhat spontaneous?
The whole process of making Christmas Spirit was very natural. It wasn’t following any set paradigms. It was about experimenting and making, as we always do, thinking of food and vodka together and something tasting really good.
Something that captures your imagination. We came up with the recipe first and then worked out what we needed to do to get it into the world.
The label is quite different to those of other Black Cow vodkas. What was the thinking behind it?
We were talking about the the representation of people in alcohol – women dancing in cocktail glasses. We took that and subverted that it. Father Christmas in a Martini glass sums up Christmas Spirit perfectly.
We wanted the label itself to feel special so we worked with a local illustrator who spent hours drawing each line by hand. The design really allows for fantasy. And a touch of gold without being vulgar. Christmas is the one time you indulge in something a little more fussy. It should be magical.
Finally, how will you be drinking Christmas Spirit?
I particularly like it with Champagne and the orange. It is a total classic. That is how I will be drinking it on Christmas Day.
We commissioned a local artist to design the label for Christmas Spirit. Gold foiling because Christmas is deserves it.
Christmas Spirit contains all the ingredients of a Christmas Pudding, steeped in Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka. It is available to buy directly from our website for £25.