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The Best Holiday Cocktails

About a year ago, I decided that it was time I learned how to mix a good stiff drink. This happened to coincide with my love for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (season 2 of which just ended, and…oh my god! You guys need to watch it). Nothing puts a fire in your belly to learn drink mixing like watching a bunch of wise guys wheeling and dealing over illegal liquor.

So naturally you’re wondering how great I am at mixing drinks a year from that decision. I will tell you: terrible. Turns out, being a great cocktailer requires a lot of time, money and commitment—none of which are things I possess! Well, actually, I possess a few of them, but never all at once.

However, it’s almost Christmas, which means that making a good drink can be not only a skill but also a necessity. Here, then, are my three favourite holiday drinks. Enjoy!

Hot Toddy

I’m not a rum person, so I prefer the Toddy with Bourbon. Pick your brown liquor, as they say (they don’t say that. I made that up):

  • 1 oz Bourbon (or whatever)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup boiling hot water

Combine first 3 ingredients in a mug, then pour boiling water over. Stir until honey dissolves, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Peppermint Patty

I love the taste of peppermint in winter. There’s just something about it. Plus, this drink might make you dance like a Peanuts character! What’s wrong with that, I ask?

  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1 oz dark crème de cacao
  • 2 oz cream

Pour the peppermint schnapps, crème de cacao and cream in an ice-filled old-fashioned glass (or Martini shaker, if you’ve got one). Place a mixing tin over the glass and give it one or two good shakes. Garnish with—surprise, surprise—a candy cane.

Homemade Eggnog

Love it or hate it, the eggnog is such a holiday staple it can’t be denied. While the grocery store stuff will do (just add rum) why not try it from scratch? Here’s a HUGE recipe for your party, or cut it in half for a smaller batch. It’s a bit of a harder go, but think about how impressed people will be!

  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup Cognac
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 pints heavy cream
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 1 to 2 cups milk (optional)
  1. In an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick.
  2. Slowly add the bourbon and Cognac while beating at slow speed. Chill for several hours.
  3. Add the salt to the egg whites. Beat until almost stiff.
  4. Whip the cream until stiff.
  5. Fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Chill 1 hour.
  6. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve in punch cups with a spoon.
  7. If desired, add 1 to 2 cups of milk to the yolk mixture for a thinner eggnog. Makes about 40 punch-cup servings.

So there you have it—and if all else fails, there’s always red wine. J

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