There’s something in the holiday season that causes us to take on many extra projects. Somehow we find time in our usually busy schedule and don’t even think twice about invading the mall, wrapping gifts for family and deserving friends, attending a multitude of social functions and taking on new tasks in the kitchen.

Where do we find the time? What gets pushed aside to accommodate instantly-arising activities? Are extra hours in the day really the gift of the season? Nahhh, none of us believe that.

But somehow everything that needs to get done, ends up that way. Done.

As for our cocktail regime, along with the baking, the bell shaking and the candle-stick making, from way in the back of the pantry we gather ingredients that have not been used since last holiday season, and won’t again until next. We happily forge through the process of making favorite drinks for all of our friends and relatives, as well as a couple of strays who just happen to come along with the whole shebang.

I wish I could wave the ole’ magical swizzle stick or put a finger aside my nose, and make matters not just easier but more creative as well. That is not about to happen, but I wish it would.

People right now expect happy experiences and amazing results to emanate from the kitchen and bar. So why disappoint the anticipations of people whom you really don’t care to impress at other times of the year? (Rhetorical, not requiring an answer.)

It’s Christmas and the spirit of giving and good cheer abound. Uh, don’t they? C’mon, you can easily get with the program. You always have.  

Try some of these festive concoctions that make the spirit bright.

 

From Grand Isle Restaurant:

Spiced apple cider

5 oz  hot apple cider               

2 oz  Kraken Spiced Rum, or any premium spiced rum        

1 dash cinnamon floater

Pour apple cider into footed mug; add spiced rum and a dash of cinnamon and mix well. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and slice of orange.   

 

Under the Mistletoe

2 oz  white chocolate Godiva liqueur                 

.75 oz  dark chocolate Godiva liqueur                 

.75 oz  green crème de menthe                 

.5 oz  dark crème de coco                          

.5 oz  clear crème de coco

2 oz. white milk, chilled                          

Combine white chocolate liqueur with dark chocolate liqueur in glass. Add crème de menthe with the dark and clear crème de coco. Fill with milk, shake well and serve in a martini glass with a crushed peppermint candy cane rim.

 

 Peppermint Martini

1.5 oz  premium vodka                         

1.5 oz  white crème de menthe                    

0.5 oz  white crème de coco                   

1.5 oz   Whole Milk                                      

Crushed Peppermint as Rim Candy

Combine vodka with white crème de menthe and white crème de coco. Shake well and serve in a martini glass with a crushed peppermint candy cane rim.

 

From the makers of Purity Vodka:

Purity Santa Lucia

2 oz Purity Vodka

1 oz lemon juice

.5 oz ginger-cinnamon syrup*

1 egg white

2-3 dashes Fee Brother's Old Fashioned bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and dry shake (without ice) for about 30 seconds, add ice and shake again. Double strain into chilled glass and garnish with a meringue cookie or piece of gingerbread.

*To make ginger-cinnamon syrup, bring 2 cups of water to a boil with 1 tbsp of chopped ginger and one broken cinnamon stick. Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool until steam subsides. Add two cups of sugar and stir until dissolved, straining out solids when done.

 

Here’s a great drink suggested by authors, distillers, outstanding mixologists, and great friends of New Orleans, Anistatia Miller and Jared Brow. These folks live in England so they know a thing or two about gin, even sloe gin, and the importance of hot drinks at this time of year.

Hot Mulled Sloe Gin

(makes two servings, so you'll probably want to start by at least doubling this)

.5 cup water

.5 cup cloudy apple juice

.5 cup  Sipsmith Sloe Gin

spices (*You can pick and choose from the following: a few pieces of candied ginger, though fresh works as well, 1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 allspice berries, 3-4 cardamom pods, 1 slice of orange)

Combine water and cloudy apple juice in a saucepan on low heat. Add spices.

Let the mixture simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Add the sloe gin and allow it to heat for a minute or two more. Serve hot in a mug, teacup or Irish coffee glass. Garnish with a half orange slice and/or a cinnamon stick, or a piece of candied ginger on the rim.

 

And there you have some holiday drinks with which to celebrate in grand style. Of course, there are always standard fall-back beverages, like champagne and a cosmo, but there are plenty of other times to enjoy those.

 

Don’t just sit there. Head for the bar and the stove.

 

                                             -30-