There’s something about drinks and the holidays that just seem to go together. St. Paddy’s Day has beer and weddings will always have wine. Even if it’s as simple as your uncle putting Fireball in store bought egg nog, there is just something about the Christmas season that fits with cocktails. This should come as no surprise as Christmas is associated with some of the best and most interesting flavors, be beverages or food. What follows are some cocktails meant to jingle the bells of you and yours. Happy drinking and happy holidays!
Terri’s Mulled Wine
I need to be up front that I stole this recipe (pauses for gasps), but my wife makes the best mulled wine I’ve ever had. Mulled wine is synonymous with the Christmas season. Its warmth and spice are perfect in the cold weather and its big batch yield is perfect for enjoying with loved ones. Better start inviting people over for an excuse to make some!
- 1, liter bottle of red wine (sweeter reds work best)
- 1 full lemon, sliced into wheels
- 2 clementine oranges, sliced into wheels
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 6-8 cardamom pods
- 1/8 fresh nutmeg, grated
- 2 star anise pods
- 10 whole cloves
- 10-12 whole allspice
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup Grand Marnier
- 10 oz brandy
In a large pot add one third of the bottle of wine, honey, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, cloves and allspice and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 4-6 minutes then add the rest of the wine, Grand Marnier and brandy. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Ladle in a mugs, garnish with cinnamon stick and orange wedge and serve.
Gin Orange Nog
If you’re looking for a traditional eggnog recipe I recommend Jeffery Morgenthaler’s, author of The Bar Book. This recipe is a little more unconventional but a lot easier. The goal was to create a recipe in which gin was the feature. The result is a brighter, lighter eggnog that you can enjoy more than one glass of and not feel like you’re all nogged out.
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz cinnamon simple syrup (see below for recipe)
- ½ oz Grand Marnier
- 2 oz heavy cream
- 1 egg white
- Grated nutmeg (garnish)
- Cinnamon stick (garnish)
Combine gin, cinnamon syrup, Grand Marnier, cream and egg white in a shaker. Shake without ice to emulsify egg white. Shake with ice until cold. Strain into a glass, add cinnamon stick, top with grated nutmeg and serve.
Big Red Suit
As previous posts may indicate, I’m a huge fan of black currant as a flavor, so any excuse to use it is a good one. This holiday version uses the brightness of black currant tea with the warmth of cinnamon. Fruity and bright, but warm and soothing, it’s the Christmas cake of cocktails.
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz strong black currant tea
- 1 oz cinnamon syrup
- ½ oz clementine juice
- ½ oz lemon juice
- Cocktail cherry (garnish)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well until cold and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and serve.
I previously posted an article stating my intention to make clementine a big Christmas flavor again. This cocktail was conceived shortly after that article was posted but the intention remains the same. The combination of orange, earl grey and gin makes for a winning combo of holiday spirit.
- 2 oz earl grey tea infused gin
- 1 oz cinnamon simple syrup
- 3 oz clementine juice
- ¼ oz lemon juice
- Star anise (garnish)
Pour gin into the bottom of a shaker with one earl grey tea bag. Allow for tea to steep into gin. Remove the tea bag and add other ingredients. Shake until cold and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with star anise and serve.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- Cinnamon sticks
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. Add cinnamon sticks and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes until syrup becomes an amber color. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Pour syrup into sealable bottle and store.