Sippin’ on holiday spirits

Try these cocktails, or turn them into mocktails.

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Have you ever heard of liquid warmth? It’s that toasty yet refreshing sensation that flows through your body after your first sip of a satisfying drink. Well, it turns out we are going to need all of the extra warmth we can get this Thanksgiving, as it is shaping up to be one of the coldest in our region’s history. I have put together some ways to stay warm and satisfied, in the form of drink recipes. If you aren’t a fan of the hard stuff, continue reading anyway because the majority of these beverages can be easily tweaked to accommodate all tastes and ages.

My desire to construct recipes that somehow contribute to the betterment of your health isn’t lost in this article, either. A lot of the spirits I have chosen to include are for more than just the heightening of your senses and the stimulation of your appetite. Campari is composed of medicinal herbs packed with digestive benefits. Mezcal, being 100 percent distilled agave (tequila sold in the U.S. is only required to be 51 percent agave) assists in the regulation of blood sugar. Fernet holds so many remedial properties that it was historically sold in pharmacies and used to reduce fever and lack of appetite. Rosemary is full of antioxidants, and its aroma has been proven to increase concentration and memory capacity. Not to mention the fact that dealing with your holiday woes might be just a bit easier if you have something delicious to sip on. The best part is you don’t have to be Tom Cruise in order to have the skills to concoct these libations. With just a few ingredients and proper execution, you’ll be the life of this year’s holiday parties. After all, the holidays are all about decompressing with the people you love, and I for one believe that the root of happiness can be found among your taste buds.

Pomegranate Negroni

2 oz. gin
2 oz. campari
1 oz. sweetened pomegranate juice

Stir ingredients with ice in a bar tin for 15 seconds. Strain into rocks glass over one large ice cube. Pomegranate juice and soda water will suffice for the kiddies, and adding a dash of bitters to that will satisfy those who are sober but with more sophisticated taste.

Smokey Gold

1 oz. honey syrup
3 oz. mezcal
2 oz. lemon juice
dash cinnamon

Honey syrup can be created by combining equal parts honey and hot water. Once that mixture has cooled, build all of the ingredients over ice in a bar tin and shake. Strain into a rocks glass full of ice and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Fernet Manhattan

2 oz. whiskey or rye
2 oz. fernet
1 oz. sweet vermouth

Fill martini glass with ice to chill. Build ingredients over ice in a bar tin and shake. Remove the ice from the martini glass and strain in the mixed drink. Garnish with a luxardo cherry.

Rosemary-mo

2 oz. rosemary-infused vodka
1.5 oz. Cointreau
1.5 oz. cranberry juice

Add 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary to a liter of vodka and let sit for a few days. Once the aroma of rosemary in vodka is present but not overwhelming, strain the vodka out and remove the herbs. Fill martini glass with ice to chill. Build ingredients over ice in a bar tin and shake. Remove the ice from the martini glass and pour the drink into the glass. Top with a fresh rosemary sprig. You can infuse cranberry juice with rosemary a few days ahead of time, and mix that with soda water for a rosemary-mo mocktail.

Cranberry Mule

3 oz. cranberry vodka
3 oz. ginger beer

Simple and refreshing, this cocktail is best served on the side of an overflowing plate of Thanksgiving food. Pour ingredients into a copper mug filled with ice, and garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary. Substitute the cranberry vodka with cranberry juice, and you can drive yourself home.

Spiked Cider

3 oz. honey whiskey, or cinnamon-infused whiskey
3 oz. apple cider

If you prefer a spiced flavor for this beverage, add 3-4 cinnamon sticks to a liter of plain whiskey and let sit for a few days. For a sweeter flavor, stick with the honey whiskey. Stir your desired ingredients with ice in a bar tin for 15 seconds. Strain into rocks glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Pecan Pie Martini

2 oz. Frangelico
1 oz Amaretto
1 oz. Makers
1 oz French vanilla creamer
caramel sauce
crushed pecans

Build ingredients in a bar tin over ice. Disperse caramel sauce onto a small side plate, and crushed pecans onto another side plate. First dip the rim of the martini glass in the caramel sauce, then into the crushed pecans. Shake the ingredients in your bar tin, and strain into martini glass.

Merry Mimosa

4 oz. prosecco
2 oz. Lejay Crème de Cassis
simple syrup
red-and-green-dyed sugar

Disperse simple syrup onto one small plate, green sugar on to a second plate, and red sugar onto a third. Dip the rim of your champagne flute into the simple syrup, then dip half of the rim into one of the sugar color varieties, and the other half of the rim into the remaining colored sugar. Pour your Lejay Crème de Cassis into the flute and top with your prosecco. Being that Lejay is a blackcurrant liqueur, you can sub the prosecco with sparkling cider and the liqueur with blackcurrant juice for an equally delicious mock-mosa.