Holiday Cheer

holidaycheerchampagnecocktailThe 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.

Holiday Cheer

1 scoop raspberry sorbet
1 ounce rye whiskey
Sparkling wine

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

Cocktail Books for Christmas!

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.

Christmas Cocktails

Christmas Cup from Stylist

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.

Mixing it up Egg Nog Style

Black Spiced Rum Egg Nog from Design*Sponge

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!

Eggnog for Everyone

Not Your Nana's Nog from Saveur

Eggnog is the official drink of Christmas. Lots of people seem to hate it, but I think it might be because they’ve only had the stuff that comes in a carton. Homemade Eggnog is rich, creamy, and (if made correctly) super boozy. It’s delightful!

So before you deck the halls, let a fantastic Eggnog light up your holidays:

Classic Eggnog ~ This recipe on Savvy Housekeeping is the one that convinced me I loved Eggnog. (Yes, I was an Eggnog hater.)

Spiced Chocolate Eggnog ~ Chocolate and a little cayenne pepper turn Eggnog into an exciting gourmet experience. Thanks, Martha!

Butterscotch Eggnog ~ Are you feeling fancy? The New York times offers a more savory take on Eggnog made with smoky Scotch whisky.

Not Your Nana’s Nog ~ Though the name is a bit silly, this Eggnog recipe from Saveur sounds wonderful. It uses Creole Shrub orange liqueur and spiced rum, which should please Tiki enthusiasts.

Coquito ~ I guess this isn’t really an Eggnog, since it contains no eggs. But it’s a festive Puerto Rican drink that’s like Eggnog with a tropical twist. It’s made with coconut milk and rum, and it’s soooo good.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Eggnog ~ Christmas is just a bad time for a diet, so why not go all out with an Eggnog that’s like a dessert. Eben Freeman shared his recipe with Food & Wine, and I have to say I am tempted.