What makes a ‘jolly holiday’?

Christmas at Mocka

Excluding the Scrooges among us, it’s known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ and with Christmas fast approaching many of us will have begun strategising how to spend the festive season. Undoubtedly it can also be the most stressful time of the year – from decking the halls to finding the perfect present, cultivating a Christmas is enough to make the best of us crack! So this year, ensure you take some time for yourself to enjoy the festive season. No matter how your Christmas countdown concludes, we’ve an array of ideas to ensure Christmas in Cardiff 2017 is one to remember.

Christmas in Cardiff 2017

Many of us will feel the grind on the run up to the Christmas; frantically trying tofinish those final emails before the clock strikes 5 – and often the office Christmas party is the only opportunity to blow off some steam at the end of a busy year. So whether that be a merry luncheon or a banquet to fill your boots, each of our restaurants have crafted and created unique and delicious menus so for you to indulge in – from the prime cuts of The Meating Place to the generous selection of gins that The Potted Pig have to offer.

However planning a Christmas party for your colleagues can be tricky so if you’re looking for a spot to please the masses, why not make Mocka Lounge your destination? With party packages available you can completely customise your Christmas to suit you and your guests. With Christmas cocktails and canapés to offer, as well as a dancefloor and DJ in tow, Mocka Lounge is sure to fulfill all your festive wishes!

Although a night on the tiles appeals to some, contributing to the city’s festive cheer, for others nothing says Christmas like a bit of R&R. If you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre and long for a quiet and cosy Christmas then Porro is the place to be. With a site on Llandaff High Street, close to the famous Cathedral, you can soak up some seasonal cheer with a whole host of events throughout December, from their Christmas Fair to their carol service; Porro Llandaff is the perfect place to partake in the festivities.

Christmas in Cardiff 2017

However if you reside on the other side of town, we’ve a Porro situated on Wellfield Road. Surrounded by boutique shops and bars, Porro Wellfield (whilst welcoming to all of the family) can cater to an array of Christmas ideals. Some may wish to peruse the shops for presents whilst others make merry over mulled wine, followed by a festive feast at Porro.

Whatever Christmas means to you, we want to make sure you have a very merry Christmas in Cardiff – and what says ‘jolly holiday’ like indulging in the festivities with your favourite people? Whether it be painting the town red or relaxing with relatives, we’ve a handful of places to play host – from The Meating Place to Mocka Lounge, Porro to The Potted Pig.

An  article by Bryony Fenton

View our Christmas 2017 Booklet for all our venues!

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Christmas in Cardiff 2017 Booklet Cover
Christmas in Cardiff 2017 Booklet Cover

Secrets of Sloe Gin from the depths of The Potted Pig

Gin Range at the Potted Pig

a Guide from The Potted Pig

Sloe Gin Start with slow berries on a blackthorn bush
Sloe gin is made from ripe sloes, which are traditionally picked after the first frost of winter (late October to early November in the northern hemisphere). Each sloe is pricked, traditionally with a thorn taken from the blackthorn bush on which they grow.

Ruby in colour and ripe cherries on the nose, with warm blackberries and heavy rose on the palate –finishing with rich lychee, leaving you with a lingering balance of sweet and dry. Sloe gin really is a tipple to tantalise your senses.

As autumn is upon us, now is the time to get your sloes in tow ready for Christmas! Picking your own sloes has become one of the UK’s best kept secrets – the proprietors of the purple berries will never reveal their sought-after stash however should you be able to locate a wild blackthorn tree, you’ll find it throbbing with fruit at this time of year. Nevertheless, there’s another plentiful source from which you can purchase your berries – online!

So whether you’ve foraged for your berries first hand or they appear in the post, before plunging into the maceration process you must ensure your sloes are ripe. How can you tell? Simply squeeze. If the berries are hard, they’re not quite ready – ripe berries should bruise between your fingers. Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to wait until the first frost to pick your sloes – instead simulate the first frost at home by freezing the berries overnight.

How To:

With your sloe berries ripe and ready, follow this simple method to that first sip of the season:

  • Freeze your ripened sloe berries overnight. This process ruptures the skin so there’s no need to prick the berries, as many recipes suggest
  • Sterilise your airtight bottles (assuming you’ll be making more than just the one bottle for Christmas)
  • Fill the bottles with the frozen fruit up to half way
  • Top up the remainder of the bottles with good quality gin
The Sipsmith Boys (Left to Right): Jared Brown, Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall
The Sipsmith Boys (Left to Right): Jared Brown, Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall Sipsmith was established in London in 2009. The first copper-pot based distillery to start up in London in 189 years, it is one of only four gin distilleries located within London’s city limits

It’s important here to comment on what gin to use. Sloe berries can highlight a gin’s quality, rather than mask it so it’s worth splashing out on a special bottle for the festive season. We asked the gin buffs at The Potted Pig what they’d recommend. From their extensive list of 36 gins they suggested Sipsmith’s London Dry, “an award winning small batch gin, produced in London’s only copper still. It’s bold, complex and aromatic with a warming spice” – perfect for Christmas!

  • Add one crushed almond per bottle – this highlights the rich marzipan characteristics to the stoned fruits
  • Seal your bottles and leave until Christmas. Make haste as sloe gin needs at least three months and with Christmas fast approaching, you’ve really no time to waste!


Once your gin is ready (and not a moment before) taste test your festive treat. If you feel it needs a little extra sweetness combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat. Warm the mixture until the sugar dissolves then allow to cool – and there you have your own sugar syrup! Then simply add to taste.

And there you have it, your very own sloe gin – the perfect way to top off your festive feast!

An article by Bryony Fenton of The Potted Pig

Gin Range at the Potted Pig
a selection of the extensive range of Gin available at The Potted Pig!