Some years ago, I was at a slow-moving Christmas party, resisting the urge to check my watch, when the tenor of the evening suddenly took a dramatic turn. The neighborhood mixologist arrived, dressed in colorful holiday attire, and immediately started shaking his favorite seasonal concoctions, while the rest of us watched with rapt admiration. The drinks were basic, but tossed with perfection, and enhanced with colors as dazzling as our maestro’s performance.
Spirits are a great way to spice up holiday parties with family and friends—and these festive recipes are simple to create. Add some specialty spirits (some red, some green), some orange liqueur, and voila! You’ve captured the spirit of the season.
Bright red pomegranate juice is a healthy and popular choice. It’s a principal ingredient in Pama Liqueur, a versatile spirit that mixes well with vodka, tequila and gin. Vodka is also perfect with other juices and mixers; it allows the flavors and colors to shine. My suggestions? Ocean Vodka, which is 100 percent organic and made on Maui, and Grey Goose Le Poire, a pear-infused vodka that will jazz up your favorite libation. Fresh strawberries, ginger and pineapple are the start of several terrific drink recipes, as are just-picked sprigs of mint, juicy lemons and limes.
Joey Gottesman, a mixologist and consultant with Better Brands, offers these tips: “Balance, temperature and dilution are the keys to making a good cocktail. A drink that’s served too strong or with too much mixer may ruin your guests’ experience. Keeping this in mind, prepare your concoctions responsibly, [but] never be afraid to experiment.”
As our gift to you, we happily present four of Joey’s holiday creations. Try them at your next bash.
Hoho Herradura Raspberry Margatini
1 oz. Herradura Silver
4 fresh raspberries
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1 splash of sweet-n-sour
1 splash of O.J.
Bruise contents in a mixer glass filled with ice, and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Ocean Fresh Cucumber and Ginger Ivy Gimlet
1 oz. Ocean Vodka
2 thin slices of English cucumber
2 thin slices of fresh ginger, ? oz. simple syrup
1 pressed lime.
Bruise contents in a mixer glass filled with ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with one thin cucumber slice.
The Tao of a Rose (Signature) E&O Trading Company
1 oz. Alize Rose
1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire,
1 oz. cranberry juice
1/8 of a fresh-squeezed lime, splash of Sprite.
Place contents in mixer glass filled with ice. Bruise and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh lemon twist.
Santa’s Vanilla Frappe-tini
1 oz. Kahlua vanilla
1/4 oz. Stoli vanilla
1 tsp. white cane sugar
1 oz half-n-half.
Bruise till the mix becomes light and frothy. Serve in a chilled, sugar-rimmed martini glass. Ho, ho!
Charles Fredy is a sommelier and certified specialist of wine with the Society of Wine Educators. A thirty-year veteran of the wine-and-spirits industry, he is vice president of Better Brands, Maui.