While we have nothing against the traditional holiday egg nog, bartenders around the country are taking inspiration from treats like gingerbread and sugar cookies to create festive holiday cocktails.
At The Drawing Room in Chicago, mixologist Charles Joly offers two warming drinks fit for the holiday season.“My menu continually evolves to be very seasonal, so the flavors and profiles of the cocktails follow suit,” he explains. For example, the Jalisco Flip is a richly-flavored drink loosely modeled on the flavor and texture of gingerbread, made with reposado Tequila, Punt e Mes, Allspice Dram and egg white, then finished with a “mezcal mist” to aromatize the top of the cocktail. The Guild Meeting is a party-perfect punch and might remind you of a plate of spiced sugar cookies. Made with Rittenhouse 100 rye and orange and ginger liqueurs, this punch pops with house-made vanilla sugar, chai tea spices and muddled orange zest.
At the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, bartender Leslie Coyne has devised an entire menu based on holiday treats, ranging from the pretty Mistletoe Mojito which resembles a wreath thanks to its mint leaf and cranberry garnish, to the Yule-Thyme Martini, featuring vodka infused with aromatic sage and thyme.
Finally, at New York’s RDV Lounge (409 W. 13th Street; 212.255.1933), bartender Brent Lamberti has created The Coco Loco, a cross between egg nog and Mexican hot chocolate. The drink is made with habanero pepper-spiked Flor de Caña 7-year-old rum and chocolate liqueur, further sassed up with cinnamon, brown sugar and a sprinkling of ground pistachios.
Looking for a festive cocktail to ring in the season? Here’s a short list of great tipples from mixologists around the country, all inspired by holiday treats.
Inspired by: Egg Nog
The Coco Loco, by Brent Lamberti, RDV (New York)
2 ounces Flor de Caña 7-year-old
0.5 ounce Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur
Thin slice of Habañero Chile
Dash of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
2 ounces milk
Grated pistachios for garnish
Whipped cream (optional)
Pour the rum, chocolate liqueur and milk into a small pot, and add the habañero slice, cinnamon and sugar. Simmer on low to medium heat until hot. Pour into an Irish coffee mug, and add the optional topping of whipped cream. Garnish with grated pistachios.
Inspired by: Sugar Cookies
The Guild Meeting, by Charles Joly, The Drawing Room (Chicago)
This punch recipe makes enough to serve 10 to 12 guests at your next holiday party. To prevent dilution, mixologist Charles Joly recommends floating large pieces of ice in the punch bowl, rather than smaller, fast-melting cubes.
2 ounces Vanilla Sugar, muddled with 3 pieces orange peel
14 ounces chai tea (2 bags per 16 oz of water)
5 ounces orange juice
2 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces Domaine de Canton
2 ounces Drambuie
5 ounces Rittenhouse 100
Place sugar in the bottom of punch bowl. Use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of orange zest. Muddle zest into sugar to absorb oil.
Brew tea. Pour into punch bowl to dissolve sugar.
Add remaining ingredients and stir. Add ample ice to chill.
Inspired by: Peppermint Sticks
Mistletoe Mojito, by Leslie Coyne, Four Seasons Austin (Austin)
Fresh mint leaves
2–3 dashes Simple syrup
2–3 dashes Fresh lime juice
1.5 oz Mount Gay Rum
2–3 dashes Cranberry juice
1 dash Soda water
1 dash Grenadine
1 mint sprig, for garnish
3 fresh cranberries, for garnish
In a tall Collins glass, muddle the mint leaves with simple syrup and lime juice. Add ice and rum, then top off with cranberry juice, soda water and grenadine. Garnish with a mint sprig and 3 fresh cranberries.