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!
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.
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.
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)
- In an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick.
- Slowly add the bourbon and Cognac while beating at slow speed. Chill for several hours.
- Add the salt to the egg whites. Beat until almost stiff.
- Whip the cream until stiff.
- Fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Chill 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve in punch cups with a spoon.
- 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