Festive Holiday Cocktails

Dec 16, 2014

This cheery time of year is filled with parties and events that bring the spirit of the season out in everyone. To make your festivities merry and bright, serve a signature cocktail at your holiday get-together.

Credit Jennifer Chandler

Michael Hughes, General Manager of Joe’s Wines & Liquors and a cocktail and wine consultant, sums up the reason perfectly:

“I like to have a specialty cocktail ready for my guests when they come over for the holidays. It instantly puts people at ease and it just gets them ready to have a great time.”

Cocktails like egg nog, hot buttered rum, and poinsettias are classics that adds a festive touch to any bar.

My go-to this season is a Cranberry-Orange Champagne cocktail.  A homemade simple syrup infused with orange and cranberry adds a delicious sweetness to a flute of champagne. A fresh cranberry garnish adds the holiday touch.

Michael has a different spin on his go-to holiday cocktail:

“When I think of the holidays I think of flavors like allspice berry, clove, and cinnamon.  When I think of holiday cocktails, I instantly reach for St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram.  It has all of those beautiful flavors of the holidays.”

Michael marries those Holiday spice flavors with Tennessee whiskey in his Winter’s Reach cocktail.

“If you are intimidated by even the simplest cocktail recipes, don’t worry.  All you need to do is buy a bottle a really good champagne and have it chilled and ready for your guests.”

Winter's Reach Cocktail

  • Fernet Branca Rinse
  • 1.5 oz Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey
  • 1/4 oz St Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Rouge Vermouth
  • Clove-studded orange peel

Served in a martini glass or short rocks glass

Rinse the glass with a minuscule amount of Fernet Branca. (The bitterness it adds really contributes to the depth of the drink. However, you may leave the Fernet out & it will still be delicious. I would suggest adding 3 drops of Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters if you choose to leave the Fernet out.)

Add the remaining liquors to an iced mixing glass & stir to combine. Strain the mixture into a chilled glass. Garnish with the clove-studded orange peel & serve.

Recipe courtesy of Michael Hughes

Cranberry-Orange Simple Syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Place the sugar, orange juice, water, and cranberries in a medium sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing berries with the back of a spoon to release their juices. Discard the solids. Refrigerate until cool.

Makes 2 cups.

Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Chandler