Merry Almost-Christmas! Time for some delicious eggnog! Or is it? While I love the stuff, it’s not everyone’s thing. So if you want to celebrate with something that isn’t eggnog, here are some tasty options.
Christmas Cup ~ This light and simple sparkler is made with cherry brandy, ginger ale, and Prosecco. You can keep it flowing as you and yours open gifts or chat.
Lamb’s Wool ~ Christmas is a time where Americans love to do British things. Is this because of Dickens? Colonial traditions? Or just because the English are so damn cozy. This traditional spiced ale is perfect for warming the heart with your loved ones around.
Trinidad Punch ~ Rum, chocolate, vanilla, and coconut milk? Now that’s what I call celebrating. Merry Christmas to me! (Scroll way way down in the post for the recipe.)
Spiced Rum Cider ~ Sip this one as you sing Christmas carols (skipping the rum makes a nice non-alcoholic version for teetotalers and kids).
Advocaat ~ This is the traditional Christmas drink of the Netherlands. Although, it’s actually more like a dessert—egg yolks give a custardy texture that is satisfying to spoon or slurp. What can I say? I like my hoildays eggy.
The holidays are a time when, dammit, you want something super fancy and wonderful but don’t have a lot of time to make it. This Holiday Cheer cocktail I made with Savvy Housekeeping is perfect for this time of year because it’s exactly that—festive, delicious, and easy.
We used store-bought raspberry sorbet, but you can use any flavor you like. (Perhaps homemade cranberry sorbet, which I think would be great in this) If you want something a little sweeter or just don’t like hard liquor, you can skip the rye and just make it a Champagne Raspberry Float.
1 scoop raspberry sorbet
1 ounce rye whiskey
Scoop the sorbet into a champagne flute, add the rye, and then slowly pour in sparkling wine to top. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Photo by Savvy Housekeeping
Amsterdam Hot Chocolate from 12 Bottle Bar
I must get cold around this time of year, because last year at this same time I rounded up some hot drinks to warm yourself up with. If you want even more options, here are some other delicious cocktails that are served warm for this cozy time of year.
Calientito ~ This hot pear cider with tequila that is perfect for fall. The recipe calls for Asian pears, which are possibly the best ones!
Trinidad Punch ~ Rum, chocolate, coconut milk, and vanilla … I don’t see how you can go wrong with that combination. (scroll to the bottom of her post for the recipe)
Blackberry Hot Toddy ~ This fruity twist on a classic hot cocktail is a beautiful color, so it’s great for a party situation. The tea and herbs sound like a great complement to the fruit and bourbon.
Amsterdam Hot Chocolate ~ Genever and Grand Marnier add a little extra oomph to already-delicious hot chocolate. Mandatory: top with whipped cream!
Hot Rum Cow ~ Rum and milk with just the right spices makes for a simple cocktail that’s reminiscent of all the creamy holiday drinks without all the heaviness.
In honor of Thanksgiving, I got together with Savvy Housekeeping for a turkey-day-appropriate cocktail: the Cranberry Margarita! Aside from the gorgeous, deep red color, this drink has a refreshing tartness that is just the thing for a holiday built around heavy savory foods.
We used 100% cranberry juice for that true cranberry pucker. However, if you like things a little sweeter you can either add a little simple syrup (or agave) or you can use sweetened cranberry juice cocktail. Hey, this could even be a job for cran-apple, cran-raspberry, or another cran-juice.
1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
1 oz tequila
1/2 oz triple sec
Shake ingredients over ice, then strain into a cocktail glass. Spear fresh cranberries for garnish.
The crunch of leaves under my feet. The chill in the air. The desire to cozy up inside with a good drink … or a good project. It’s fall! DIY liqueurs are very easy to make with ordinary ingredients. No special equipment required! Here are a few seasonal cocktail projects that will help you celebrate fall:
DIY Cranberry Liqueur ~ With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you may have a bag of these tart little berries chilling in your fridge already. This liqueur will help you capture that feeling for months to come.
DIY Pumpkin Liqueur ~ Pumpkin pie … in a drinkable format, who could ask for anything more. It’s a surprisingly versatile ingredient that’s great in hot drinks, too.
DIY Honey Liqueur ~ Honey pairs well with the spices and fruits we love to savor during fall. This liqueur is dead simple and delicious.
DIY Allspice Dram ~ Speaking of spice, this allspice liqueur (aka allspice dram or pimento dram) is a staple for Tiki drinks yet also pairs well with apple and pear cocktails. How autumnal!
DIY Pear Liqueur ~ Splash this homemade pear liqueur in some sparkling wine for a quick and elegant cocktail treat. Pears are plentiful this time of year, so you’d better stock up on Champagne, too.
Pear & Bubbles from Spoon Fork Bacon
Pears are often overlooked for flashier fruits, but it has a delicate flavor that is just right for cozy fall cocktails. They go so well with a variety of spirits, herbs, and spices. Aside from making DIY pear liqueur, here are some other ways to enjoy pears in your drinks this season!
Spiced Pear Punch ~ Roasted pear puree, gin, Cognac, ginger liqueur, and Prosecco? This punch sounds delightful! I will have to have a party just to have an excuse to make it.
Pear & Bubbles ~ Cardamom is another oft-overlooked flavor that I’m always happy to find in my consumables. In this case, it’s paired with pear, cinnamon, brown sugar, and lemon for a festive Champagne cocktail.
Pear Haymaker ~ Vodka, ginger, pears, and lemon combine for a refreshing and clean fall cocktail that you can drink day or night.
Ginger Pear Gimlet ~ Jazz up some gin with pear, ginger, and thyme for a fresh take on a classic.
Spiced Pear Daiquiri ~ Another new twist on a classic, this one uses spiced rum and pears in the simple daiquiri for some autumnal oomph.
Let me say it again: Hurray for fall! If you’re looking for a refreshing drink that has a touch of fresh apple and spice, this is the recipe. The bubbles from the club soda made this a good choice for day drinking.
This recipe was developed with Brugal Especial Extra Dry rum, and I’ve found that, as the name says, this really is an extra dry rum without as much sweetness as most silver rums. That worked really well with Demerara (or raw sugar) syrup. With a little tasting and adjusting, you can use a silver rum and/or a rich simple syrup (which is a syrup made with regular white syrup in a 2 parts sugar, 1 part water ratio). Falernum is a liqueur made with lime, cloves, almonds, and rum. Velvet is THE one you’ll see around commercially, but it’s easy (and delicious) to make your own.
High & Dry
2 ounces rum
1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum (or make your own falernum)
1/2 ounce cane syrup or simple syrup made with Demerara sugar
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce club soda
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Muddle apple wedge in the bottom of a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Add all other ingredients (except club soda) and shake with ice. Strain into a highball glass over new ice and top with club soda. Garnish with an apple slice.
Recipe by Trevor Schneider, Goldbar
Photo by Emmanuel Cayere
Now that it’s finally starting to feel like fall, it’s time to get cozy with some hot drinks. I got together with Savvy Housekeeping to mix up this delightfully autumnal pumpkin variation on Hot Buttered Rum. It has a pleasant spice mix and satisfying consistency, in addition to helping to keep you nice and warm. Use a dark or gold rum for the right flavor.
Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum
2 tablespoons Pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
1 teaspoon Brown sugar
1 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 tablespoon Butter
2 ounces rum
Hot water (enough to fill the mug)
Cinnamon stick for garnish
Combine the pumpkin and spices in a mug and mix thoroughly so that they are completely integrated. Add the rum. Put the butter on top so it is floating in the rum. Carefully pour hot water over the drink. Stir with a cinnamon stick or spoon.
Photo by Savvy Housekeeping
La Llorona from Muy Bueno Cookbook
It’s (almost) time for Halloween cocktails again! Since I’m not a big fan of cocktails with fake coloring and too much sugar, Halloween can be a challenging time to find the right party drink. Here are a few that get into the spirit without grossing me out!
The Devil’s Own ~ Gin, vermouth, Cointreau, and bitters … simple like a Martini, but with a fun little twist. This one’s for people who love the classics.
Caramel Apple Punch ~ Not sure why “caramel” is in the name, but I won’t argue with the tasty recipe: spiced rum, apple cider, lemon, and fresh apple slices. Great for a group!
Pumpkin Punch ~ There’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of a sweet tooth, and this drink handles it in just the right way. Cinnamon-infused rum is tricked out with pumpkin and sweetened condensed milk for a light dessert touch.
La Llorona ~ (In English that would be “Weeping Woman.”) With Pisco, lemon, lime and a touch of sugar and dash of bitters, this is a straight-forward and refreshing cocktail that will make you feel OK about eating all that candy.
Sinister Cider Cocktail ~ Apple, maple syrup, and vodka make for a balanced and fun drink you can sip all night long.
Maple Syrup Sours from the Wall Street Journal
In case you can’t tell, I’m obsessed with fall right now. And fall is the perfect time to mix up your cocktail routine by adding a little maple syrup. It’s sweet, but with a slight bitter edge that’s just the thing to add oomph to your drinks. After making an Apple Brown Bourbon cocktail with maple syrup earlier this week, I had to satisfy my desire for more maple goodness! Here are more cocktails featuring maple syrup.
Maple Old Fashioned ~ This fun twist on an Old Fashioned uses dark rum, maple syrup, and a few dashes of bitters.
Cherry Maple Leaf ~ Brandy, Cherry Heering, dry vermouth, and a touch of lemon combine with maple syrup for a warming cocktail.
Fort Washington Flip ~ Applejack, Benedictine, and an egg (with our pal, maple syrup) make for a foam-topped treat.
Bubbly Maple Leaf ~ A simple Champagne cocktail with scotch and lime is a fun way to put maple syrup to work for you.
Maple Syrup Sours ~ A sour is a category of cocktail that combines a spirit, sugar, and citrus. There are three tasty ones in this article: one made with rye, one with applejack, and one with rhum agricole. Plenty of delightful drinks to choose from!