The holidays are upon us—that crazy time of food preparation, dinner guests, gift wrapping and the in-laws. It’s a time for family and friends and this month always calls for a celebration, cheers and a toast. You may be the host this year, and we’ve got seven ways to make it a gathering they’ll not soon forget.
Since drinks are such an important part of the festivities, we’ve asked area bartenders to recommend concoctions full of holiday creativity that you can pull off at home. And, if you’re not hosting this year, you can look forward to a bit of liquid holiday spirit to accompany the decorating of a tree or that restful evening in front of the fireplace. Here are some downright delicious ideas, compliments of four bartenders from your favorite neighborhood eateries.
Justine Olsen, Mama G’s
Olsen is a familiar face at Mama G’s. She and her family have been serving customers there for many years. “A lot of customers ask about ‘fun shots’ or ‘something different’ around the holiday times,” says Olsen. “I usually stick with the Klondike Bar, especially around the colder months.”
1 oz. Frangelico (hazelnut and herb-flavored liqueur)
1 oz. Rumplemintz (peppermint schnapps)
1 creamer per shot
Kahlua (coffee–flavored, rum–based liqueur)
The fun comes in the creating of this drink. Throw it over ice in a shaker and shake it vigorously until the outside of the shaker is beaded with condensation. “This makes it super frothy and light,” Olsen says. Strain it into a chilled martini glass (or a shot glass) then slowly pour Kahlua down the inside of the glass. “At the end of the shot you get a quick taste of chocolate along with the minty ice cream flavor,” Olsen says.
In the mood for something bubbly, but want to ditch the alcohol? Try this:
Cranberry Lime Spritzer
1/2 glass cranberry juice
Pour cranberry juice over ice. Add a squirt of lime juice and top off the rest of the glass with soda water. Add fresh lime on top and garnish with fresh cranberries in the glass with a lime wedge.
Sonja Chamberlain and Francis Revak, Biaggi’s
You can also head over to Biaggi’s for a decadent holiday drink. Veteran bartenders Sonja Chamberlain and Francis Revak have created the Hohotini. They encourage you to try it here first, and if want to make it for others, they suggest you practice making the concoction before guests arrive.
.75 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur
.75 oz. Kahlua
.75 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream
.75 oz. peppermint schnapps
Crème de menthe
Mix the first four ingredients with crushed ice. Rim a martini glass crème de menthe and crushed peppermint. Create a thin chocolate swirl from the inside center of the glass out to the rim. Fill with drink and serve.
Tip: “Be sure and use high quality alcohol on this one, don’t substitute.” —Chamberlain and Revak
And, what’s a Yuletide season without eggnog? Here’s a fancy number that will enliven your senses and pick up your energy level:
1 ¼ oz. Frangelico (hazelnut flavored liqueur)
1 shot espresso
Sprinkle of nutmeg
Pour first two ingredients into a footed glass mug.
Froth eggnog like a latte and layer it on top.
For the youngster who wants to be a part of the celebration Santa’sLittle Helper, consisting of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a candy cane, means they are included in the liquid festivities.
Robert Sinclair, Whirlyball
Long time bartender and bar manager at Whirlyball, Robert Sinclair suggests you try these fanciful drinks to set the scene for the holidays:
3 scoops vanilla bean ice cream in a pint glass
1 oz. root beer schnapps
1 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream
Blend all and top with candy sprinkles
If Thanksgiving went by too fast, here’s a chance to relive the best part of the feast:
Bumpin’ Pumpkin Pie Martini
2 oz. Bailey’s pumpkin spiced
1 oz. Butterscotch schnapps
1 oz. Kahlua
Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Float whipped cream on top.