So many special flavors and aromas surround the holiday season – nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, burning embers, pine, eggnog, brandy, and baking aromas just to name a few.

There is no reason to limit our sensory experiences by drinking the same old, same old. Besides, we are likely to socialize with people we have not seen in a while, so why not branch out and do some different cocktails. Maybe a wide variety of cocktails instead of just one. The mind boggles with the possibilities.

These suggested cocktails of the season are quick and easy to make with a minimum of ingredients. You have plenty of other activities to pull together. Have something different that lets you return to the important stuff, whatever that is.


5 Acres

  • 1-part Tullamore D.E.W. Original
  • 1-part dry vermouth
  • 1-part ruby port
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters
  • Garnish: orange twist and cherry

Add all ingredients into a chilled Stirring glass, add ice and stir until chilled. Pour contents into a cocktail glass, zest with orange and garnish with cherry.

Rob Roy

A Classic
  • 2 parts Glenfiddich 14 Year Bourbon Barrel Reserve
  • ¾ part sweet vermouth
  • ¼ part oloroso sherry
  • 1 bar spoon Benedictine
  • Brandied cherries, to garnish

In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients except the cherries. Stir over ice. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with the brandied cherries.

Cucumber 75

A version of a New Orleans favorite
  • 1 ½ part Hendrick’s Gin
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • 3 wheels English cucumber
  • Dry sparkling wine

In a mixing glass muddle Hendrick’s, lemon, simple and cucumbers. Ice, shake well and fine strain into a flute. Top with sparkling wine. 

Lone Star Sparkler Punch (serves 20)

Okay, so you are hosting a crowd. Don’t panic. Look to the west.
  • 3 parts Fistful of Bourbon
  • 3 parts pear puree
  • 2 parts ginger syrup
  • 1-part fresh lemon juice
  • 2 parts sparkling wine
  • 1-part chilled water

Combine ingredients in a punch bowl over a large block of ice. Garnish with whole star anise and lemon twists.

Hot Buttered Monkey

Created by Vance Henderson, U.S. Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whiskey, and a frequent visitor to New Orleans.
  • 1 ½ parts Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whiskey
  • ¾ parts maple syrup
  • 4 parts chai tea
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Add whisky and maple syrup to mug and top with hot tea. Lightly stir then top with butter. 

Catalina Wine Mixer 

Created by Anthony Bohlinger, Sailor Jerry Rum Brand Ambassador
  • 2 parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 2 parts red wine
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • Top with lemon-lime soda

Build Sailor Jerry, wine and juice in a rocks-filled mixing glass. Shake vigorously. Pour into a wine glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Blue Winter

Okay, so usually our winters are not all that blue. But just go with the flow of the season.
  • 1½ part Reyka Vodka
  • 1-part pineapple juice
  • 1-part Blue Curaçao
  • ¼ part lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and shake then strain into champagne flute. Garnish with coconut shaving rim and blue Rock Candy stick.

Ultimate Mojito

Rum and Christmas? Sure, works for me!
  • 2 parts Flor de Caña 7
  • ½ part lime juice
  • ⅓ part superfine sugar
  • 3 leaves mint
  • Champagne, Brut

Muddle lime juice with sugar in a Collins glass. Add mint leaves and muddle again. Fill glass 2/3 full of crushed ice and add rum. Top off with champagne. Garnish with sprig of mint.


(A special thanks to the fun staff at William Grant & Sons who make and market many of the products mentioned.)


Safe to say, there’s not much tradition on this list which may be the best reason for going in these directions. For group gatherings, make up several of these recipes. Your guests will never see them coming.






Read Happy Hour here on on Thursdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.