Holiday Cocktails

Robert Frost-ini

Whatever holidays you choose to celebrate in December, it’s always nice to have a cocktail in your hand while communing with friends and neighbors. There’s something here for everyone on your list. Cheers!

Breakfast Bellini

Champagne Creamsicle

Hot Buttered Rum Toddy

Mexican Cocoa Martini with Drunken Fluff

Midnight in Paris

Papa Elf’s Cranberry Daiquiri

Pear Champagne Cocktail

Potlikker Sangria

Robert Frost-ini

Swedish Margareta

Tex-Mex Cocoa

 

 

The Friday Tipple: Robert Frost-ini

Robert Frost-ini

We’re waxing poetic, Boozers. As we cozy up into the holiday season and the darkest days of winter, we yearn for snowy woods and horse-drawn sleighs, even as some profess a preference for global warming. There is something about the chill stillness of a December night that unites us all to transcend the boundaries of religion, geography, and culture.

And so we bring you the Robert Frost-ini. His poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” inspired us to create this December night in a glass, by combining our quick rosemary-infused vodka (we enjoy Boyd & Blair) with a splash of Catoctin Creek’s Pearousia pear brandy. At the bottom of the glass, like a bright red cardinal perched on the snowy branch of a birch tree, is a soupçon of cranberry simple syrup, beckoning to you with its lip-puckering tartness.

Though your friends and family may be flung far and wide, you can all share in the welcoming darkness of December, as the days slowly begin to lengthen again into the promise of spring. Enjoy the moment.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep/But I have promises to keep/And miles to go before I sleep/And miles to go before I sleep.

The Robert Frost-ini

2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka (recipe here)

1/2 ounce Pearousia or pear brandy

a few drops of Italian sweet vermouth

scant teaspoon cranberry simple syrup (recipe below)

reserved cranberries

Put vodka, Pearousia and vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour cranberry simple syrup and a single cranberry into the bottom of a chilled martini glass. Strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into the glass and enjoy.

To make cranberry simple syrup:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup frozen cranberries

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon gum arabic mixed with 1 teaspoon water (optional)

Combine first four ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens into a syrup*. Reserve cranberries and strain the syrup, then allow to cool.

* Optional: at this point, you can take the pan off the heat and mix in gum arabic paste, which will make the syrup thicker. Not necessary, but it has a nice texture.

The Friday Tipple: Washingtoni

A long weekend beckons, Boozers. Ah, it’s true, not everyone gets Monday off in celebration of President’s Day, so we suggest that you pack 72 hours of sale-shopping into 48. Our first president, George Washington, certainly seemed to be a proponent of more is, well, more, so you might follow that example. We thought of this recently when watching “The Crossing”, the tale of Washington’s army crossing the Delaware to rout hungover Hessians out of their beds on a frosty December morning in 1776.

Apparently, Washington, like most of his contemporaries, loved his tipple, and didn’t feel the need to wait until Friday to imbibe. He owned a whiskey distillery at Mount Vernon and was known to have a particular fondness for Madeira, a fortified wine from Portugal. Frankly, we always considered Madeira to be an old woman’s drink until Jeff Daniels, in the role of Washington, declares in wonder when surprised with a goblet of this divine liquid, “God be praised. It’s been a year since I tasted such a Madeira.” If that doesn’t make you want to give Madeira a second chance, we don’t know what does.

Sweet with a dry finish, Madeira has a complexity of flavors that makes it a great base for a cocktail. The Washingtoni matches it with a spicy rye whiskey from the Copper Fox Distillery that uses a malted barley flavored with cherry wood smoke (you knew we had to have at least one reference to the whole chopping-down-a-cherry-tree story). Whatever you think of our nation’s flawed leaders, this tipple will put it all in perspective for a few shining moments. God be praised.

Washingtoni

We recently made our own Cherry Bounce, from Martha Washington’s own recipe, and added a soupçon of it to this for a subtle cinnamon undertone; however, a bittersweet Kirsch or cherry brandy will still add just the right note.

2 ounces Madeira

1.5 ounces rye whiskey (Rye whiskey is popping up everywhere these days, so check your local distilleries. We used Wasmund’s Rye for this, but also like it with Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye)

1/2 ounce Kirsch or cherry brandy

lemon twist

Pour Madeira, rye whiskey, and Kirsch into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.