Punch Recipe for the Holidays: Horse & Carriage


Horse & Carriage from Saveur

What punch should you make for your holiday party? Here is my official endorsement: Horse & Carriage! I made this last week and it was a hit. Gin, elderflower and champagne are an obvious (to me) combination, but what really made this punch stand out was the chamomile tea. It added complexity and sophistication to what otherwise could have been a bit of a one-note concoction. I wish I had made a double batch! (It went fast.)

I modified the recipe a bit from Saveur’s to include more sparkling wine. I think this is a big improvement on the flavor, with the added benefit of making a larger amount of punch. It didn’t taste very balanced the original way, in my humble opinion.

Horse & Carriage (modified)
4 tablespoons citrus sugar (recipe below)
6 ounces fresh lemon juice
6 ounces gin
3 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur
3 ounces triple sec
10 ounces cold chamomile tea
8 oz. sparkling wine
Lemon and orange wheels, pomegranate seeds for garnish and ice block (instructions below) Continue reading

Christmas Cocktails

20121230-231729-diyvsbuy-advocaatMerry 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.

Halloween Cocktails and Punches

La Llorona from Muy Bueno Cookbook

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.

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.

Cocktails Made With Eggs (for Easter!)

Easter flip by Salvatore Calabrese on The Cocktail Lovers

 It’s almost Easter, so it’s only appropriate to try some tasty cocktails made with egg! Adding egg white to a drink gives it a lovely silky texture in addition to a light foam on top. The yolk gives a cocktail richness and depth that no other ingredient can rival. If you haven’t tried a cocktail made with any part of the egg, you must do so … right now.

Personally, using raw eggs doesn’t worry me in the least. But if you’re concerned about salmonella, you can use pasteurized eggs. Details has a nice feature about mixing with eggs that goes over techniques and tips.

Now it’s time to drink some eggs!

Easter Flip~ This genius cocktail by Salvatore Calabrese is served in an actual egg! Delightful presentation aside, this cocktail sounds rich and delicious, with egg yolk, white chocolate liqueur, Marsala, and dark rum—all topped off with a pinch of grated nutmeg. Happy Easter, indeed.

Marmalade Sour ~ Egg cocktails can also be light and airy. This one by Jamie Boudreau combines cacacha, lemon, egg white, and citrus marmalade with a few dashes of orange bitters for a mix of heat, sweet, sour, and silkiness.

Ramos Gin Fizz ~ This classic is a lovely mix of delicate and fizzy with rich and creamy. It’s a good choice for brunch or a late afternoon get-together.

Napa Sour ~ Taragon-infused simple syrup and a nice Napa Cabernet give an unusual twist to a whiskey sour made with egg white. It’s Springy and sophisticated.

Canary Flip ~ This one is a bit deeper and spicier than the rest, with Cognac, yellow Chartreuse, a whole egg, Fernet Branca, and a biscotti garnish. It sounds like a fantastic meal all on its own.


Champagne Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

London-Style Southside Royal from Chow

It just ain’t New Year’s Eve without champagne! These champagne cocktails are simple but will make you feel super fancy. Go buy some bubbly already!

London-Style Southside Royal ~ This light and refreshing cocktail has mint, cucumber, lime, gin, and champagne. Too perfect!

Shrinking Violet Champagne Cocktail ~Beautiful and delicate, this lightly floral drink is a fun way to ring in 2012. Creme de violette makes it happen.

El Dorado ~ Cocktail guru David Wondrich created this elegant cocktail with pisco, apricot brandy, and of course, champagne. Time to get fancy, y’all!

The Toasted Almond ~ A little bit of Amaretto livens up your champagne. Add a little almond-sugar rim for fun.

Traditional Champagne Cocktail ~ Sometimes you just can’t improve on the original. A little sugar and Cognac topped off with champagne is a classic.

Holiday Party Punches

Long Hello punch from Bon Appetit

Make one of these holiday punches, so you can sit down and enjoy the party instead of being stuck behind the bar. These punches are all so different, yet each of them is Christmas-y. Happy Holidays!

Wassail Punch ~ Get in the Christmas spirit with a traditional warm spiced punch made with apples, spices and sherry or Madeira.

Bolliwood Punch ~ An exotic twist on a sweet and citrusy punch, made with rum, brandy, freshly squeezed orange juice, and cardamom.

The Long Hello ~ Simple. Elegant. Festive. All you need is Calvados (or applejack/apple brandy), champagne, bitters, and a little nutmeg.

Desert Snow Tequila Punch ~ If eggnog isn’t your thing, start a new holiday tradition by trying this punch made with horchata, tequila, and falernum.

Brandy Milk Punch ~ This is a 19th century holiday classic made with milk, vanilla, and brandy. It’s a great after-dinner cozy drink.

Pumpkin Cocktails for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin and Apple Cider Cocktail from Serious Eats

My one-woman mission to turn Thanksgiving into a drinking holiday continues! If cranberry cocktails don’t float your figurative boat, how about a collection of pumpkin drinks to be thankful for?

Ignis Fatuus ~ White wine, Cognac, apple cider and pumpkin puree … this (very very tasty) Halloween-inspired cocktail by Jamie Boudreau is just right for Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Buttered Rum ~ Hot buttered rum gets the pumpkin treatment from the folks at the Kitchn. I think I need one now.

Pumpkin Butter Ginger Cocktail ~I (obviously) can’t resist a good Cognac cocktail. Dean & Deluca devised another ingenious use for pumpkin butter that sounds irresistible.

Pumpkin and Apple Cider Cocktail ~ Vanilla vodka, apple cider, pumpkin and spicy ginger ale, an intriguing combination from Serious Eats.

Cranberry Cocktails for Thanksgiving

Cranberry Cobbler from Bon Appetit

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Normally, I don’t have cocktails at all on Thanksgiving. (Shocking, right?) But there’s no reason it can’t be a cocktail holiday! In fact, depending on what your family is like, things may go a little better if everyone has a drink or three.
I’m currently experimenting with cranberry cocktails, but before I share my own, here are some I found that sound just perfect:

Cranberry Cobbler ~ Bon Appetit takes fresh cranberries and gin, then fancies it up with a little sherry … very sophisticated.

Cranberry Margarita ~ It’s always the right time for margaritas, and Muy Bueno shows that Thanksgiving is no exception with this recipe using cranberry puree.

Ginger Cosmopolitan ~ The Food Channel shares an easy twist on a classic. You can use bottled cranberry juice or make your own.

Cranberry, Tangerine and Pomegranate Champagne Punch ~ You know you can trust Martha Stewart when it comes to entertaining.