Have you made a list? Have you checked it twice? Is your Christmas lunch going to be naughty or nice? Well, here at Neptune Bars HQ, we are a little bit blasé about Christmas; it’s wonderful to see family and friends and get involved with the festive fun of the day, but we’ll let you into a little (Santa) secret. Are you ready for this?
Christmas lunch is just a roast dinner, with extras!
There, we said it. You may or may not agree with our sentiment, but let us clarify our thinking. Roast turkey is not difficult to cook … or is it? Depending on the size of the bird, how many people you’re feeding, the quality of the meat, whether you overcook it … the list is endless. If it weren’t for all of the trimmings – do we add bacon to the sprouts? Should we do six different types of veg in case people don’t eat sprouts? How do we even cook chestnuts? Aaargh, we forgot the pigs in blankets! – the traditional feast is basically just an enlarged roast dinner. You probably cook a basic version of it quite a lot during the winter so really, there is no need to panic about it.
What really elevates the Christmas lunch to legendary status, i.e., one that people will remember for years, is the drinks that you serve with it (unless you burn all of the food or give people food poisoning, then they’ll definitely remember it!). We have researched this extensively over the years and now, to save you worrying about it, here are our top tips for tipples to go with a traditional Christmas lunch.
Now, there are a million and one ways to interpret what could constitute a ‘traditional’ Christmas lunch; for our purposes, we have chosen a fairly standard Neptune spread, honed from years of development (we wouldn’t eat it all at once, obviously!).
Seafood dishes: you know the type, anything involving shrimps, prawns or salmon. You can’t really go wrong with either a crisp white Chablis or even a dry Riesling to go with a dish with these ingredients. Just make sure that it is chilled to perfection!
Soup: Bit of a tricky one, this. If you’re serving a light broth, or a chicken or mushroom soup, a Chardonnay, or even a light beer would work well. A heavier, or tomato-based soup could call for a light Rioja or Sauvignon Blanc or even a Brown ale. With something hearty like minestrone soup, a pale ale works very well.
Paté: Obviously paté is rich, so a dark beer or brown ale would suit, or a full-bodied Beaujolais or Valpolicella for the wine lovers.
The Main Act
We’re not even going to deviate here; for us, traditional means ‘turkey’ and according to a YouGov survey in 2020, 54% of Brits agree.
A nice, subtle Pinot Noir or even a Chardonnay works very well with a turkey, but you could also go all out and drink some bubbles with your bird. For the beer lovers amongst you, a brown or amber ale will hit the spot.
The Post-Show Clean Up
If you still have room for dessert by this point, well done, you. Usually by now we have crashed out in front of the TV in a turkey and sprout induced doze, but here goes:
Christmas Pudding: If you are serving with a brandy butter (because let’s add to an already booze-laden dessert – it’s Christmas after all!), then the obvious choice would be a nice Port, preferably of the Tawny variety. If you wanted something lighter and to avoid losing the flavour of the pud, use whipped cream instead of the brandy butter and try a nice, light Muscat. You could even go mad and break out the Grand Marnier or Cointreau – they complement the richness of the pudding very well.
Mince Pies: You probably already have a bottle of sherry in the house (sherry is not just for Christmas, nor is it just for grandparents and aunts and uncles; this most humble of drinks has moved on a lot over the last couple of decades) and it goes well with the pies, as does a sweet Madeira wine, or a dark ale or porter. Of course, a mulled wine or cider is always a favourite, at any stage of Christmas!
Whatever you choose to eat and drink, all of us at Neptune Bars wish you the very merriest of Christmases. Thank you for reading our blogs – we hope you have enjoyed the content this year.
We also thank you for your support; whether you have enquired about a bar, booked a bar or marquee, or even liked, commented on or shared our social media posts, it’s all very much appreciated.
Have a safe and happy new year – we’ll be back in 2022