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By their very nature, holidays are different from average, run-of-the-mill weekdays. Holidays are special with themes, more chances for out-of-the-ordinary events, and they put a spring in all our steps.
Through no accident, New Orleans manages to squeeze in more holidays, more play-time, than just about any other community in the region. Okay, in America. All right already, on the planet.
Everyone everywhere enjoys Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Fourth of July. We manage to add to that bundle Carnival, Mardi Gras, Sts. Patrick and Joseph Days, Super Sunday with the Mardi Gras Indians, French Quarter Fest, JazzFest, among others. And before you say, “Wait, those items are not truly holidays,” tell me with a straight face that you don’t take time off for these days, and that you are not in a more celebrating mood at these times. Ha! I knew you could not say it.
To make this season even more festive, let me suggest some drinks that have been developed around diverse spirits. I’ve no doubt you have never tried these drinks before, and you should give them a go. You may find your new holiday tradition to liven up the party, or just chill late at night after returning home from a wonderful and festive evening. But all you wanted was to be at home, relaxed and comfortable, not worrying about traffic, weather, or the joys of red-light cameras.
Reyka Spiced Cran Mule
- 2 parts Reyka Vodka
- 1 part spiced cranberry syrup*
- 3 parts dry ginger beer
Combine ingredients. Shake and strain top champagne.
*Cranberry syrup – ½ cup Demerara sugar, 1 cup water, 12 whole allspice berries, 12 whole cloves, Zest of 1 orange, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped), 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 cups fresh cranberries
Combine all ingredients over heat except cranberries and stir until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and bring to a boil… let boil until cranberries burst (about 3 min). Remove from heat and let sit for an hour.
Strain through fine mesh strainer.
Cranberry Sauce Gin & Tonic – Jimmy at the James
- 2 parts Botanist Gin
- ½ part simple syrup
- ½ of fresh lemon juice
- 1 heaping bar spoon cranberry sauce
- Q Tonic
- Lemon Wheel
In a cocktail shaker combine the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and cranberry sauce. Shake with ice for about ten seconds and then strain into a tall glass with ice. Stir in tonic water and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Sailor Jerry Mulled Cider
- 1 Part Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
- 3 Parts Mulled Cider
Heat Sailor Jerry and slowly add cider and desired spices. Stir and let cool before serving.
Green Rabbit – by Proof
- 3 parts Homemade Melon Milk
- ½ part Ancho Verde
- ¾ part Hendrick’s Gin
Combine ingredients and shake well.
Strain over fresh ice in a wine glass.
Garnish with pineapple mint and serve with a straw.
Drambuie’s Mulled Wine
- 8 parts Drambuie
- 1 bottle (750 ml) Red Wine-Suggest Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 parts Honey
- 1 Spearmint-Peppermint Tea Bag
- Peel of ½ Grapefruit
- Peel of 1 Orange
- 2 tbsp Fresh Grated Ginger
- ½ tsp Whole Juniper Berries
- ½ tsp Whole Allspice Berries
- ½ tsp Whole Peppercorns
With a mortar and pestle grind the berries and pepper corns and add to a sauce pan. Add all other ingredients to the sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute. Strain and serve. If not hot enough, bring back to a simmer. Serve hot.
Ponche Primavera (pitcher)
- 12 ½ parts Montelobos Mezcal
- 7 ½ parts Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
- 5 parts lime juice
- 5 parts lemon juice
- 15 parts sweetened agua de Jamaica (Mexican hibiscus tea water, can be found in most supermarkets)
- 1 part Oleo Saccharum (an oil made from mixing citrus peels with sugar)
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and mix together. To keep chilled, freeze a large ice block the night before by double boiling water and using a large casserole dish. Add edible flowers to the water before it freezes (optional). Let ice block rest in punch bowl throughout the gathering. Build ingredients into a glass mug
Hudson Hot Toddy
Add to a mug or Irish Coffee glass:
- 2oz Hudson Manhattan Rye
- 75oz fresh lemon juice
- Heaping teaspoon good, local honey
- 4oz very hot water
- -OR- substitute a preferred brewed tea or mild/diluted cider for the amount water required.
- Optional but recommended: dash or two of aromatic bitters
Stir to blend and dissolve honey. Add a star anise and a lemon slice studded with cloves for extra aromatics.
Special thanks to Curichweiss PR for some creative and festive adult drinks suggestions.
As for you, it’s holiday season, quickly go put something satisfying in your hands.
Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com every other Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine.