Spirited Christmas Cocktails
Bar beverages get much attention this time of year. What restaurant has the greatest hot cider concoction? Who serves the sexiest martini? If you’re looking for some yummy seasonal beverages, check out this list of simple yet stylish cocktails you can try out at your next gathering.
- Mulled Cider. Recipes for this stuff abound, so here’s a simple one: Toss a couple of cinnamon sticks and a handful of brown sugar in the bottom of a large pot or slow cooker. Add two parts cider or bargain apple juice to one part cranberry juice. Stud an orange with some cloves in overlapping ring patterns and slice the orange about a half inch deep in vertical cuts between the clove rings. If this is too much effort, sprinkle some ground cloves in the bottom and slice up an orange like you would for sangria. Put the whole mixture on low heat until steaming and the scents are well blended. Ladle out and serve with a shot or two of dark spiced rum. I like having this stuff at a party, because people can enjoy it without the rum as well, since it isn’t served pre-mixed. Your designated drivers will be able to enjoy something a little more seasonal than soda or coffee.
- Hot Buttered Rum. The recipe for this is in my previous OAMC for the bar article. It really is great to have on hand when people stop by, or made in advance for a large cold weather gathering. The batch I made earlier this fall is still going strong. Not including the rum, and looking for sales on the mixture ingredients, I was able to crank out the entire large batch for less than six dollars.
- Coffee and Irish Cream. This is a standard Christmas morning combination at our house. My husband gets me a bottle every year, and I make sure we have extra yummy coffee for the machine, which he loads the night before and sets on a timer. I also do up a breakfast casserole the night before to put in the oven that morning. When we get up, the casserole goes in, and we each pour a coffee and Irish cream to enjoy while we open presents, let the dogs out, and get started on another of our Christmas traditions, a movie or TV series episode marathon. The coffee and Irish cream combination is also fun in the evenings if you are having people over for socializing and sweets. If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s a post from one blogger who tried making her own.
- The Merry Christi. I was looking for something fabulous to try out in our new stainless steel martini glasses. So I contacted a colleague of mine in the industry. As usual, she came through in spades. This recipe is based on Christiania vodka, which I reviewed previously on Wise Bread, and celebrates chocolate to a fair degree. Created by Dalio Colado, head mixologist at Giorgione Restaurant in New York City, this cocktail is simple and sophisticated. Here's how you make it: 2.5 ounces of Christiania, 2 tablespoons Serendipity frozen hot chocolate mix, and 2.5 ounces of milk. Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings. The actual drink is pictured at the top of the article. For information on where to buy Christiania, use this link. Serendipity frozen hot chocolate is available here from Amazon. They also make dark chocolate to shave, if you are interested. When I test drove this cocktail, I was out of dark bar chocolate. So I used the following variation: I chopped up some seasonally marked down peppermint candy in the blender and used that as the garnish instead of the chocolate shavings. Yum!
- Eggnog With Attitude. There are loads of recipes for the homemade stuff out there, but for the holiday party planner who is short on time, consider doctoring up the store bought stuff with a little fresh nutmeg and your favorite rum. Looking for a nonalcoholic version with a little more pizzazz? Thin out the pre-made version with a little skim milk and add some vanilla ice cream. Mix it up in the blender and sprinkle with the spice of your choice. Eggnog milkshakes? Kids dig ‘em!
- Hot Tequila Cocktails. Who knew? Here’s a post from Hammock in Paradise on how to whip up something called A Heated Affair using heated mugs, spiced cider, cream, fresh nutmeg, and Partida Tequila. Honestly, I thought I had a handle on most of the hot holiday drink options out there, but I had never heard of using tequila as the basis for a hot toasty beverage. Cool!
- Mulled Wine. This stuff is elegant, international, and very inexpensive to make, particularly if you use the boxed variety, as I previously posted on. If the link from the boxed wine article leaves you wanting an even cheaper version, here’s a quick recipe I posted a while back for a travel web site I sometimes write for.
- Mix and Match With Your Crock Pot. Some people consider a crock pot or slow cooker just another gadget. At our house, it’s something I just can’t function without. Here’s a link to a great set of hot drinks you can make at home in your slow cooker. Some of the links are for nonalcoholic recipes, others feature spirits. All look quite yummy, particularly the cranberry punch.
- Souped Up Hot Chocolate. This is great throughout the winter and can be modified depending on your taste. Basically, pick a clear flavored schnapps that would go well with chocolate. Butterscotch and Peppermint top my list. Sugar free hot chocolate packets have come a long way baby in the flavor department, so they are a great way to cut calories. Put in a shot or two of holiday schnapps, and you will feel like you are drinking a candy bar . . . yum!
- Hot Mulled Pineapple. OK, I was going to stop the list at nine, but found this one at the last minute that looks like it would be FABULOUS with coconut rum. Here’s the link.
Got any other favorite cocktail ideas for the Christmas holidays? I’m sure we’d all love to read about them. Feel free to post away as usual. As for me, I’ll be working on getting out a great list of cocktail ideas for those New Years Eve gatherings. For more beverage ideas, check out this article on wine pairings.