10 places to drink sensibly this Christmas

Written by: Elmtree Press

If you fancy a tipple over the Christmas period,  here are some of our favourite places to visit . Remember, drink sensibly! 

Corks and Cases,  Masham

Corks and Cases are an independent Wine Merchants and Gin Distillery in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales.  The Boutique Wine Shop is located on Silver Street and has an exceptional range of wines & Spirits from around the world with large selections of them are available to purchase online too.  Just in time for Christmas, they also sell a collection of Wine Gifts, Gin Gifts and Hampers which can be sent by courier or Post to all locations in the United Kingdom.   The “Spirit of Masham” Distillery is located on a small business park on the outskirts of Masham.  It is here that they distil their unique “Spirit of Masham” Dry Yorkshire Gin , using the London Dry Gin Method.  Gin is hand crafted and distilled in a Copper Alembic Still and the Distillery is now open to the public by appointment.

Whittakers Gin,  Harrogate

Whittaker's Gin (Whittaker's Distillery Ltd) is a family business run from Harewell House Farm in the heart of Nidderdale in North Yorkshire.  The distillery is an old 1950s pig shed converted into a distillery.  It is all fairly basic and agricultural but very functional and this is where all the magic happens.  The aim was to produce an artisan small batch, handcrafted spirit which reflects the Yorkshire countryside in a bottle which is reflected in their now international award winning Original Gin.  This is predominantly Juniper, Coriander and Angelica Root.  The signature botanicals are Bilberries (formerly known as Whortleberries) bring sharpness, complimenting the Juniper berries keeping the gin character intact.  Hawthorne berries, which grow on the beautiful hardy trees and hedgerows throughout the countryside, bring background sweetness.  Bog Myrtle grows on the stunning Yorkshire moors and has a spicy aroma and tastes both bitter and balsamic at the same time (rich like vanilla).  Some breweries still use Bog Myrtle to produce sweet heather ale and in medieval times, it was used as an alternative to hops.  This gin has recently won Best International Gin and a Double Gold Medal at the American Distilling Institute Awards and also won a silver IWSC in 2016.  All products are Vegan Gluten Free.

Old Black Swan,  Bedale

The Old Black Swan is a welcoming traditional pub located in the centre of the market place in Be-dale. The pub dates back to the 17th century as a Coaching Inn and sits prominently in the heart of Bedale, a bustling market town just at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.  Whether you just need a quick drink to quench your thirst, a few drinks to celebrate an occasion , a sandwich to keep you going or a full dinner to satisfy your hunger they have something to suit all tastes.  Hand-crafted real ales are served and delicious home cooked food is on 7 days a week.  As well as real ales from local brewers and delicious locally sourced menu you will be welcomed to the Black swan with true Yorkshire hospitality.


Royal Oak  Gillamor

A charming 17th Century Country Inn in the picturesque village of Gillamoor, with 8 rooms all en-suite, and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.   The hotel is in an ideal location for exploring and touring the surrounding area and to compliment the serene beauty of the area the B&B offers a personalised service along with delicious home-made cuisine served in the cosy bar or dining room and a fantastic Full English Breakfast to set you up for the day.  Christmas Menus see  website. Christmas Opening Hours:  Christmas Eve: Lunch 12-2pm, Bar 12-4 (closed evening).  Closed Christmas and Boxing Day.  Gillamoor is located approximately 2 miles north of Kirkbymoorside, off the A170 Thirsk to Scarborough road.

Black Sheep Brewery, Masham

Located in Masham, North Yorkshire, Black Sheep is a brewery full of soul, with a rich history and an innovative future.  The story is one that has been told for years.  When Paul Theakston made the decision to establish his own independent brewery in his home town of Masham in 1992, no one could have predicted the journey that was to unfold.  As a brewing pioneer with true Yorkshire grit and determination, he forged Black Sheep Brewery, where quality, consistency and independence come first.  Paul Theakston was the architect, and with his family, his staff and his flock of share-holders backing him, he created what has become one of the most well-known brewers in the United Kingdom.  As the name suggests, they are Black Sheep, behave differently and are not afraid to follow what they believe in.

It's that Wonderful time of the Beer -   Long time followers of Black Sheep will know that Christmas is all about their favourite reindeer, Blitzen!  For those of you who don’t know Blitzen,  this is a prized Christmas ale that is rolled out every November to spread festive cheer across the nation.  It’s a 4% Ruby Ale packing big notes of chocolate, biscuit and dark fruits.  A touch of orange peel adds a very subtle citrus edge which blends beautifully with the spiky bitter hops.  It’s has a silky smooth body and is perfect when paired with warm mince pies with lashings of brandy cream – you gotta give this beer-food combo a try!  We reckon Blitzen makes the perfect Christmas pint so if you’re a pub or bar and want to get hold of some for your festive range of cask ales, do get in touch with Theakstons! If lighter beers are more your bag then do not fear,  Snowflake is back as part of the York Brewery range of beers!  Snowflake has always been a firm favourite with followers of York Brewery.  Brewed using Willamette and Cascade hops, Snowflake makes a perfect session pint for Christmas.  Sitting at a sessionable 3.7%, it is a great all-day pale ale to enjoy with friends and family during your Christmas holidays.  It has a fruity, citrus punch which works wonders alongside the light malt base – a real showcase of the amazing US hops used.  The light bitterness will cut against that rich, flavoursome food over Christmas so it’s a great pint to enjoy with your turkey!

Green Dragon, Exelby, nr Bedale

MON 16TH DECEMBER 8PM - EXELBY FOLK CLUB – CHRISTMAS EDITION The original EGD Folk Club hosted by Zeke Deighton. Singers, musicians & audience most welcome!

TUE 17TH DECEMBER 8PM - CHRISTMAS QUIZ Ready to test your general knowledge and Christmas facts? Assemble your teams for a night of festive fun. Mulled wine and mince pies await! 

WED 18TH DECEMBER FROM 6.30PM  - EXELBY VILLAGE CHRISTMAS CAROLS – IN AID OF YORKSHIRE AIR AMBULANCE.  Open for all ages and singing abilities to join in.  Meet at the pub for 6.30pm with carolling around the village from 7-8pm. Then warm up in front of our fires. All donations will go to YAA.   CHRISTMAS SINGAROUND – carrying on with a Christmas sociable sing around hosted by Nick Brooker. 

FRI 20TH DECEMBER - CHRISTMAS JUMPER BASH  - Wear your craziest Christmas jumper… prizes for best dressed (and worst!)

CHRISTMAS EVE TUE 24TH DECEMBER - EXELBY CHRISTMAS FUDDLE Join in with the community spirit! As last year, all will come together and provide party food for everyone. Bring and share some food to add to the fuddle and catch up with friends and neighbours. 

CHRISTMAS DAY WED 25TH DECEMBER CHRISTMAS DRINKS Open from 11am – 1pm for festive cheers.   CHRISTMAS LUNCH - see website.

NEW YEARS EVE TUE 31ST DECEMBER - NYE PARTY 2019 GALA DINNER (PRE-BOOK ONLY). Celebrate in style with good food, good drinks, good music & good people to welcome in 2020!

NEW YEARS DAY WED 1ST JANUARY - NEW YEAR SINGAROUND 8PM. Pub open from 5pm for drinks with weekly singaround starting at 8pm.

Theakstons,  Masham

T&R Theakston Ltd is an independent, family brewing company founded in 1827 located in the Yorkshire Dales market town of Masham,  The company is controlled and run by direct family descendants of the founder Robert Theakston. Theakston is one of Britain’s oldest established family brewing companies. The company is a member of the British Beer and Pub As-sociation, the Independent Family Brewers of Britain and a supporter of the Government’s Drinkaware campaign, CAMRA and Pub is the Hub.  The company is renowned as brewing innovators; brewing a wide range of modern craft, cask and brewery conditioned draught beers and bottled ales for the UK domestic and several overseas markets.  

Among the beers produced is Theakston Old Peculier, a beer for which the company is famous. The 19th century brewery is of a traditional ‘tower’ construction, containing many of the original features, thus upholding the great tra-dition of the English top-fermented brewing method. The Company supports customers and con-sumers through specific branded activity and also the community through sponsorship of environmental, cultural and sports related activities.  The Masham brewery site is home to the Theakston Black Bull in Paradise Visitor Centre which is open all year round to members of the public.  While we’d like to think Theakston ales are legendary in their own right, many other factors contribute to the company's reputation.  To experience these you’ll need to visit the brewery in Masham where you can taste the brews fresh from the cask and smell the hops in the air!  The Visitor Centre has many other interesting things worth experiencing first-hand.

‘The Black Bull in Paradise’ is the Visitor Centre, a building situated within the brewery surrounds.  Its name is derived from elements of the company history, linking the name of the inn, the Black Bull in which Robert Theakston founded his brewery in 1827 with Paradise Field, the land he bought  a few years later in 1850 and upon which he built a ‘new’ brewery in 1870, the one we still use to this day.   Today the Black Bull in Paradise is at the core of activity. Open every day of the year except Christmas, Boxing and New year’s Day, it is used as our company reception, the place in which new beers are trialled and tested and where the many thousands of annual visitors can come and soak up the historic atmosphere whilst sampling any of at least six different cask ales that are on sale all year round.  The brewery shop is stocked with a wide range of high quality branded goods, providing an ideal opportunity to buy gifts and souvenirs.   They also have many interesting artefacts and items relating to nearly two hundred years of Theakston brewing tradition on display.  

York Gin

York Gin, hand-made in the City of York  make some of the world's best gin.  Their hand-made award-winning gins in the York distillery are the only gins made in the city.  During 2019, York Gin Old Tom won Gold Outstanding at the International World Spirit Competition and York Gin Outlaw won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  This means these gins are among the best in the world.  At the Great Taste Awards 2019, their London Dry won two stars and was described as ‘perfect’ while York Gin Roman Fruit won a star and was described as ‘mouthwatering’. Gins can be bought online or at the shop in the centre of York.

The shop is in one of York’s most iconic buildings, Sir Thomas Herbert’s House on Pavement.  Open seven days a week until Christmas, (and beyond), it’s right opposite Marks & Spencer, a few seconds’ walk from Shambles.  You’ll find all their gins - that you can try for free,  other top Yorkshire gins, and gift packs, York Gin branded clothing,  kitchenware and accessories on sale in the shop. 

An area of the shop lets customers see, smell and touch the different botanicals used to give the gins their distinctive flavours.  Displays around the shop provide a history of the York Conservation Trust property and the story of York Gin. 

The distillery is about a 10 minute drive of York and is a glorified chicken shed!. (Note: There are no chickens any more - and it looks quite nice, but be please aware it’s a working distillery.)  You are welcome to pop into the distillery on spec and will be shown around (if they are not actually making gin,  talking on the phone,  dealing with deliveries,  or out! - it's a good idea to call first 01904 848900).  You can also buy bottles of York Gin at 10% discount of website price and order engraved bottles of York Gin at 10% discount.


Booths are passionate about bringing you the very best food and drink from independent and artisan producers from the local area in the North West of England, and beyond.   Browse a luxury range of traditional fine food and drink hampers, all beautifully presented in wicker picnic baskets. All products are carefully selected and tasted by dedicated buyers before they’re included in hampers. That’s why they are able to create unique and beautiful gifts that are loved by all.

Classic hampers include the perfect balance of sweet and savoury delicacies and drink.  Our favourite is the Booth Ale Crate with amazing  Aurum Golden Ale,  Thwaite’s Wainwright Golden Ale,  Black Sheep Ale,  Saltaire Blonde Ale, Lancaster Bomber Ale,  Jennings Cumberland Ale and Wooden Ale Crate.