Five Festive Cocktails to Cozy Up and Enjoy this Holiday Season!
By Ash Sabinin, Contributor
When the days get short and cold, and the endless rain pounds down on Vancouver and its people, we all find ourselves in search of a pick-me-up, so here are five new cocktail ideas to test out this winter.
First up, we have a classic margarita with a twist that’s perfect for the holiday season and sharing with friends and family.
2 cups pure pomegranate juice
1 cup lime juice
1/2 cup Tequila Blanco
3/4 cup Triple Sec
Simple syrup – to taste
Garnish: Lime wedges or twists, pomegranate seeds
Slice two limes into even rounds and put them in a large pitcher. Pour the lime juice (freshly squeezed is ideal but not mandatory) and pomegranate juice into the pitcher. Add your preferred white tequila—a good option would be Herradura Silver Tequila—and Triple Sec to the pitcher and stir well. Have a sip of the punch and add simple syrup to reach the desired level of sweetness. Pour into festive cups with ice cubes and garnish with lime twists or wedges and pomegranate seeds.
Cookies n’ Irish Cream Cocktail
Here’s a drink that blends the sweet yet smoothness of Irish Cream Pie and the richness of coffee into a decadent cocktail.
¾ cup of Irish Cream
½ cup of cold coffee
¼ cup of milk
¼ cup of vanilla vodka
Garnish: Honey and pre-made shortbread cookies
To create a fun rim garnish, crumble up a shortbread cookie onto a shallow plate and pour some honey onto a different plate. Dip the glasses upside down onto the plates so the rim first gets coated in honey and then shortbread crumbs, then put them aside. Pour your Irish Cream (I recommend Baileys Original), vanilla vodka, milk, and coffee into a cocktail shaker and top off with ice. A leak-proof water bottle also works for those of us who don’t own cocktail shakers. Shake well and strain into the decorated glasses.
Sweet & Spicy Hot Cocoa
While this might not be your traditional cocktail, it’s a delightfully sweet treat that can be made with or without liquor so everyone can enjoy it.
1 cup of milk
2 tbsp hot chocolate powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
2 oz of Spiced Rum
Garnish: Marshmallows, whip cream, caramel sauce
Warm milk in a small pot on low heat and then mix in the hot chocolate powder and brown sugar. Next, mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt and stir well for a few minutes to incorporate the flavours. Remove the pot from the heat and add in your favourite spiced rum (I would choose Captain Morgan) and mix well. Transfer the hot cocoa into cute mugs and top with whip cream, marshmallows and caramel sauce if you want to go the extra mile.
Christmas Cranberry Cocktail
If you prefer a more simple and sophisticated drink, give this classic a try this winter.
2.5 oz of premium vodka
1 oz of cranberry liquor
Garnish: Fresh cranberries, a sprig of mint
Add ice to a mixing glass, pour in the vodka and cranberry liquor and stir vigorously. For those who prefer their drinks on the sweeter side, you can add cranberry juice or simple syrup to taste. As this cocktail is made of very few ingredients, it’s important to choose a higher-quality vodka. I would suggest Haku Vodka for its lighter, refreshing notes. After stirring, strain your drink into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with fresh cranberries and mint.
Very Merry Mulled Wine
This cocktail can be served hot to fight off the winter chill or enjoyed cold by friends and family at a dinner party.
1 bottle of red wine
3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
1 large orange
3 shots of Triple Sec or Cointreau
Garnish: Cranberries, orange rounds or twists, star anise, cinnamon sticks
You’ll need a bottle of red wine, any fuller-bodied wine will do but I would recommend a Cabernet Sauvignon. Pour the bottle into a pot; take an orange and slice it in half, juice one half and slice the other one into thin, even rounds and add them to the pot. Next add honey or maple syrup, depending on personal preference. Throw in the cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise for some spice and add either Triple Sec or Cointreau for a stronger orange flavour. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat immediately, let it cook on low heat for five to ten minutes; the longer it cooks, the spicier it’ll get. If you want the chilled version, skip the cooking and mix the drink in a pitcher or jug and keep chilled until serving. As for garnishes, there are quite a few options, including fresh cranberries, orange rounds or twists, extra star anise, or cinnamon sticks.