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Drinks That Inspire The Holidays

It’s that time of year again. It’s cold outside, there’s friends and family to entertain, and, as we all know, plenty to celebrate during the month of December. Turns out the holiday season is a perfect time of year to skip the Big Night Out and attempt your best impression of those fancy mixologists in swanky low-lit watering holes. But we know it’s not always easy to muddle, shake, and stir your way to success, so we tapped the collective knowledge of our team to compile a list of our favorite holiday libations—both classic renditions and some with a modern twist—and provided instruction for how to create each.

Hope one (or more!) gets you in the spirit of the season.


Boulevardier

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  1. Add ingredients to a rocks glass with as large a piece of ice as you have.
  2. Stir until cold, 10 to 20 seconds, and garnish with an orange peel.

Sidecar

  • 2 oz. Cognac
  • 0.75 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz. Cointreau
  • Optional: 0.25 oz. simple syrup
  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for eight to 10 seconds.
  2. Strain off the ice into a sugar-rimmed coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with an orange peel.

Note: Opinion divides on whether the sugar rim is appropriate. Its function here is to add a little kiss of sweetness to a drink that is, frankly, pretty tart. If you’d like to omit it—or just to bring a little supplemental balance—add about 0.25 oz. simple syrup to the cocktail before you shake.


Holiday Sangria

  • 1 (750 ml) Bottle red wine
  • 1 cup Brandy
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 cups Cranberries
  • 1 Orange, sliced
  • 1 Apple, cubed
  • 2-3 Cinnamon sticks
  • 4 Star anise
  • 4 Sprigs rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • 1 Bottle sparkling apple cider, chilled
  • Equal parts cinnamon and sugar, for rimming the glasses, optional
  • Maple syrup or honey for rimming the glasses, optional
  1. In a large pitcher (or punch bowl) combine the red wine, brandy, sugar, cranberries, oranges, apples, cinnamon sticks, star anise and rosemary. Mix well, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight to allow flavors to come together.
  2. Just before serving add the sparkling apple cider, stir to combine. Serve over ice, in a glass rimmed** with a mix of cinnamon and sugar, garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs.

** If you’d like to serve this sangria in a glass rimmed with cinnamon spiked sugar, here’s how:

Mix equal parts cinnamon and sugar together in a small and spread it out on evenly on a small plate. On a second small plate, pour out some maple syrup or honey. Dip the edge of your glass in the honey or syrup and then press the rim of your glad into the sugar mixture. Fill the glass with ice and carefully pour the sangria without hitting the side of the glass, garnish with rosemary and serve.


Grapefruit Cardamom Gin Fizz

  • 2 oz. Rosemary syrup (recipe below)
  • 3 oz. Cardamom infused gin (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup Grapefruit juice
  • Splash of Prosecco, chilled
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Grapefruit peel, for garnish

Cardamom Infused Gin and Rosemary Syrup

  • 1 cup Gin
  • 6 Cardamom pods
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Rosemary sprigs
  1. In a small jar with an airtight lid add gin and cardamom pods. Seal and store for 24 hours.
  2. To make the rosemary simple syrup, bring sugar, water and 2 rosemary sprigs to a simmer in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Remove the rosemary and use right away, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  3. To make the cocktail pour rosemary syrup, infused gin and grapefruit juice over ice in a cocktail mixer and shake to combine.
  4. Using a strainer, divide the mixture in two glasses filled with fresh ice.
  5. Top with Prosecco and garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a grapefruit peel.

Chai Tea Concentrate (non-alcoholic)

  • 6 cupsWater
  • 12 Back tea bags (or equivalent)
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Orange zest
  • 10 Whole cardamom pods or 60 cardamom seeds
  • 3 Whole star anise pods
  • 20 Whole cloves
  • 20 Whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup Brown sugar, adjust to taste
  • 1 Vanilla bean, or 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Add tea bags, spices and vanilla bean (if using extract, hold off until the end to add it.) Remove from heat and let steep 15-20 minutes, longer, depending on how strong you want it.
  3. Strain and add the brown sugar and vanilla extract if using. Stir to combine.
  4. Mix ½ cup concentrate with ½ cup any type of milk. Heat on stovetop or microwave. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy for up to two weeks.
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