Boozy drinks to put you in the mood for the colder months
By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer
We have it really easy here on the West Coast when it comes to the crisp, cold months of December, January, and February. My family originates from St. John’s, Newfoundland, where a “snow day” means that the only way to get out of your house is to climb up out of your chimney or jump out a second storey window. There is a very good reason those adorable bumpkins south of the Mason-Dixie line think we all live in igloos and ride dogsleds to work. But if you live in the Lower Mainland and spend most of your winters here, you would find the hilarious stereotypes to be mostly unfounded.
One stereotype that I’m happy to say is and always will be a foolproof way to poke fun at Canadians is our love of the drink. From coast to coast, we’re basically the closest the Western Hemisphere has to Ireland in terms of drinking prowess. In Vancouver, you’ll probably find some pretentious guys who wear non-prescription glasses drinking fruit flavoured craft beer to raise their hipster-cred. The Yukon is ranked number one in consumption of wine, beer, and spirits, so those guys drink all of us non territory folk under the table. In Newfoundland, they shoot screech and make out with fresh Atlantic cod (don’t ask).
If that’s not your thing, don’t worry. There’s no need to look like a “cool geek” or get blackout drunk. Here are a few drinks to get you feeling positive about the cooler temperatures:
¼ cup of rye whiskey
2 tablespoons of sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 maraschino cherry.
It never hurts to start off any list with a classic, and even if you’ve never heard the recipe, you’ve surely heard of this drink, named for the neighbourhood in New York City. Fill yourself a cocktail shaker with ice cubes; pour in the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters; shake until frosty (roughly 15 seconds); strain into a Manhattan glass; and garnish with the maraschino cherry.
Kahlua Hot Chocolate
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 ½ tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 ounce of Kahlua
The adults-only version of quite possibly the warmest, most comforting drink ever invented. Grab a medium saucepan, combining the milk, sugar, cocoa powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon over medium heat until heated through; remove from the heat and stir in the Kahlua, and then serve. If you’re feeling zesty, add some mini marshmallows or chocolate syrup.
Christmas Tree Cocktail
3 ounces of pomegranate or cranberry juice
2 ounces of gin
1 ounce of simple syrup
lime juice from 1 or two wedges
a few fresh mint leaves
a lime wheel for garnish.
In cases where the real McCoy is unavailable, this is my favourite way to rock around the Christmas tree. It’s also the easiest. Muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup at the bottom of your glass. Add ice, then gin, juice, and lime juice. Garnish with a toothpick through a lime wheel with pomegranate seeds placed on top.
Candy Cane Cocktail
3 ounces of Candy Cane vodka
2 ounces of colourless Crème de Cacao
dash of Angostura
2 6-inch candy canes.
Yet another lovely-looking, lovelier-tasting drink that truly embodies a beloved tradition of Christmas. A hint of actual sweets with your drink never killed anyone, so chop or blend your candy canes into a granulated sugar and rim your glass; add the Candy Cane vodka, Crème de Cacao, bitters and ice to a shaker and shake, then strain it into your newly sugared cocktail glass.
With the colder months occasionally forcing us to stay indoors for one reason or many others, these drinks are fantastic for those wanting to have a little fun and get into the spirit of the season without completely overdoing it on the alcohol. Bring friends and family over for a themed cocktail party and you’ll become the person to be with this winter.