Brugal 1888 is one of my favorite spirits hands down. When I first tried it, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do because, when it comes to sipping spirits, rum isn’t usually my choice. But Brugal 1888 is a rum that drinks like a whiskey. (Rum lovers, don’t be scared! It’s still very much a rum.) Continue reading
I’ll soon be heading to Oahu to sip umbrella drinks by the beach. But no matter where you are, your cocktail shaker can transport you to a tropical place. Tiki drinks aren’t just for summer! Just make sure you’re all stocked up on rum. Here are some fun ones to try:
Banana Daiquiri ~ This is very simple for a tropical drink—even though blending is involved, it’s only a few common ingredients. And the result is refreshing and surprisingly delicious.
Mr. Bali Hai ~ A little bit of coffee flavor perks up this tiki cocktail. You wouldn’t think coffee and pineapple would go so well together. But they most definitely do!
Planter’s Punch ~ No two recipes for this tiki classic are the same. This recipe has a little bit of sweetness without the avalanche of fruit flavors that can be overwhelming in some versions.
Painkiller ~ Creamy coconut with rum and orange … now that’s what you sip in paradise! Transform your living room into a tropical getaway with this tiki treat.
Holiday entertaining means getting out the old punch bowl and filling it up with some cheer! While I still stand by last year’s holiday punch picks, there are so many more delicious and creative ways to get your drink on during the holiday season that I rounded up a few more holiday punches this year, too. Enjoy!
Spiced Persimmon Punch ~ If you’re looking to do something unexpected yet totally appropriate for your holiday punch, this is it. Pear and cranberry usually grab all the fruity attention around the holidays, but persimmons pair just as well with spices … and some brandy and wine. Bonus: Persimmons are pretty!
Sparkling Rum and Pomegranate Punch ~ Tart pomegranate and lime juice balances well with aged Jamaican rum and a splash of orange bitters for a pleasing punch. Keep it cold with a gorgeous pomegranate-and-lime ice block. Festive!
La Patria Punch ~ Cognac, fruit, and sparkling wine. There is no way you can go wrong with that combination. This simple recipe dates back to 1862, so you can feel like you’re a part of history as you dip into the punch bowl one more time.
Hot Gingerbread Punch~ Dark beer + dark rum + lots of spices give = gingerbread flavor. Add a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon to turn this hot punch into a drinkable Christmas gift.
Italian Sparkling Citrus Punch ~ With all the holiday buffets and Christmas cookies, this light and refreshing lemon and prosecco punch could be just the thing. Top it off with a few lemon twists as a garnish and it’s time to party.
Naturally, I think that my book, DIY Cocktails, makes a great Christmas gift. But maybe you and all your friends and relatives already have my book and are looking for other cocktail-related books. Here are some that I recommend:
Seasonal Cocktail Companion, by Maggie Savarino ~ This book combines fun DIY projects like making your own bitters or liqueur with cocktail recipes–all based on seasonal ingredients. The flavor combinations are unique without being weird. It’s creative without being too challenging. This book is a good choice for people who want to get a little culinary with their drinks and are willing to spend a little time and effort on that. The focus is on projects, although there are quick and simple cocktail recipes mixed in as well.
Savoy Cocktail Book, by Harry Craddock ~ Anyone who is into classic cocktails will love this book. It’s a collection of Prohibition-era recipes from the period’s most famous bartender. But it goes way beyond the familiar recipes and even the biggest cocktail nerd will learn something new. These drinks are strong and dry, so this wouldn’t be the right choice for people who like their drinks on the fruity and sweet side. My only real complaint about the book is the organization: There’s no index, and the recipes are categorized and sequenced in a way that doesn’t always follow how most people look for drink recipes. But it’s worth flipping around to find new and exciting cocktails to try.
Luscious Liqueurs, by AJ Rathbone ~ The liqueur recipes in here are delicious, but they’re also easy. I often find that people over-complicate homemade liqueurs, so I was pleased that this book has a direct and practical approach. You can trust the methods and descriptions, which is saying a lot when it comes to liqueur projects. It’s not just for those with a sweet tooth–it also features amaro and herbal recipes.
Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, by Michelle Palm ~ This is definitely a specialty book, but it’s a lot of fun. The flavor profiles of the shots are good overall, so you don’t have to worry that it’s just a bunch of sugar bombs. There’s a lot of variety to the recipes, and it’s ideal for anyone who has a lot of parties. You do, however, have to be quite patient to get your home versions to look as cute.
The Christmas tree is already decorated. Or maybe it isn’t! Either way, you’re going to need some festive holiday drinks to add to the holiday spirit in your home. Here are a few to try.
Poinsettia Cocktail ~ I generally love any drink that involves sparkling wine. This one not only has a Christmas-y name, but it also has a light cranberry and orange flavor we’ve come to associate with the holidays.
Christmas Cup ~ Here’s another sparkler! Cava, cherry brandy, and a little ginger ale combine for a simple but fun holiday cocktail.
Coquito ~ Holidays are also a time for indulgence, and this drink definitely has you covered there. This sweet treat has coconut milk, cream of coconut, and rum–among other delectable ingredients–to give you a rich little sugar boost and egg nog feel without any eggs.
Lamb’s Wool ~ If you want to get warm and cozy for Christmas, this spiced ale with baked apples is just the thing. Replace the ale with cider, and you have another traditional holiday drink known as Wassail.
Hot Buttered Chartreuse ~ While we’re warming up, why not try this herbaceous twist on Hot Buttered Rum. Light the fire, sip on one of these, and wait for Santa.
Egg Nog season is heading our way, so it’s best to be prepared. Before you go out and buy a carton of alleged Egg Nog, consider making your own. There are so many fun variations to try! Last year, I rounded up some unusual variations on Egg Nog as well as the traditional recipe. But that doesn’t even begin to cover the big old world of Egg Nogginess. So here’s some more:
Jen Altman’s Black Spiced Rum Egg Nog ~ This is a twist on typical egg nog, using spiced rum and honey to add some more depth to the drink.
Rompope ~ Known as “Mexican Egg Nog,” this drink is creamy and eggy like we need it to be. However, it’s only made with the yolks so it has a more custard-like flavor (and it’s a bit easier to mix up).
Advocaat ~ Continuing the Egg Nog Around the World Tour, this is a Dutch Egg Nog that is actually similar to Rompope. It’s also more of a brandy custard since it uses only the yolks. However, the Dutch version doesn’t include any milk so it’s a bit richer and has a more pudding-like consistency.
Winter in Bowmanville ~ Made with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, scotch, and Calvados, this Egg Nog has a different flavor profile than the usual Egg Nog. The eggs and cream keep it noggy, so you won’t forget that it’s Christmas.
Egg Nog Jelly Shots ~ You can always ditch the drinkable version altogether and make adorable little Egg Nog jellies!
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.
As much as I love cocktails, Thanksgiving (and Christmas!) also call for exciting non-alcoholic drinks. They’ll be a festive option for kids or people who don’t drink, as well as a fun choice for those looking to keep their alcohol consumption on the lower side. It’s a special day, so do something more exciting and attractive than just water or cans of soda. Here are some fun ideas:
Fennel Apple Spritzer ~ Fennel is one of my favorite accent flavors, and it pairs well with the sweetness of apples. This one is a sophisticated drink that won’t make adults feel like they’re drinking like the kiddie table.
Asian Pear Sparkler ~ I love Asian Pears! But the spice of ginger and herbal notes of rosemary make this more than just a fruity drink.
Grapefruit & Thyme Soda ~ These two flavors are a refreshing match that’s outside of the ordinary. If you want to booze it up, add some gin. Garnish with a sprig of thyme to make it look even more festive.
Puritan’s Pride ~ It wouldn’t be the holidays without cranberries. Apple and ginger, elevate the cranberry in this drink above its usual role as a relish on top of the turkey.
Tarragon-Spiked Lady Grey Iced Tea ~ For a less-fruity option, this iced tea uses Lady Grey (a variation on the more famous Earl Grey tea) along with tarragon and lime.
I never get sick of pumpkin-flavored everything. My new favorite is this pumpkiny bourbon cocktail I made with Savvy Housekeeping. It’s light and fluffy while being bold and spicy at the same time. It’s the perfect special-treat cocktail for all of autumn. Whether you have leftover pumpkins from Halloween or just want a Thanksgiving cocktail, this one will do the trick!
We used St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, but you could also make it with homemade allspice dram. (I used up all my DIY allspice dram on Tiki creations already!) For the pumpkin puree, you can use the canned variety (just be sure it’s not flavored at all) or make your own fresh pumpkin puree. If you’re concerned about using raw egg whites, you can use pasteurized egg whites. However, we used fresh eggs straight from the Savvy Housekeeping chicken coop!
Pour the bourbon, liqueur, simple syrup, puree, lemon juice, and egg white into a shaker without ice and shake hard for about 30 seconds. Add ice and shake again for about 1 minute. Ice will build up on the outside of the shaker if you’ve done it right, so you’ll need to cover the shaker with a tea towel first so your hands won’t get too cold. Crack the shaker open and pour out the drink through the gap. Top with bitters.
I have a confession to make: I’m not a good garnisher! I am very careful when it comes to making the cocktail. (Even though I’m good at free pouring, you will not see me make a drink without meticulous measuring.) But by the end, when it’s garnish time, I’m done being precise. So this tutorial on how to make a lemon spiral, isn’t just for y’all. It’s also for me!
If I’m not worried about making it pretty, I’ll just use a vegetable peeler to peel off a thin piece of lemon zest as a twist for a drink. It’s not fancy, but it does the job. Lemon oil gets added to the drink, even if it’s not elegant looking. But it’s actually not that hard to pizzazz it up a little with a spiral.
A lemon twist or spiral is many people’s Martini garnish of choice as well as a good accompaniment to a French 75 or Sidecar. You can use this technique with any citrus, say, orange for your Old Fashioned or grapefruit for your Salty Dog.
Watch this video with Jamie Boudreau from the Small Screen Network and you’ll see that a pretty citrus spiral just isn’t that hard to do:
For those who prefer a text and photo tutorial, check out this post on citrus garnishes.