7 Holiday Cocktails to Make Your Spirits Bright

’Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry.
7 Holiday Cocktails to Make Your Spirits Bright
Toilet paper shortages. Murder hornets. Political turmoil. Tiger King. Sure, 2020 was bleak, but what better reason to celebrate than a new year and a fresh start? Seven beauty pros share their mixology secrets with you just in time to hunker down for the holiday season.
Winter Wine

Whether you’re mingling six feet apart outdoors or cozied up by yourself next to a crackling fire, consider this mulled wine featuring“aromatic notes and flavors of the season” the ultimate dose of “warm, winter comfort in a mug,” says Jamie Leilani Pelayo, co-founder of Natureofthings. “It’s actually really healthy for you because it contains so many wonderful anti-inflammatory and healing spices,” she adds. In other words, drink up!

The Shopping List:

·      Red or white wine

·      Fresh oranges

·      Ceylon cinnamon

·      Cloves

·      Honey or maple syrup

The How-To: Combine a bottle of wine with a whole orange sliced into rings, 1-2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks, and 5-6 cloves. Add a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup to achieve your desired level of sweetness. Simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. “Be sure not to let it bubble, as you don’t want to burn off the alcohol or damage the honey enzymes,” notes Pelayo. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 2-3 hours. Strain and taste to see if extra honey or maple syrup is needed.

Pair It With: “It’s great on its own, but also lovely with raclette, potatoes, bread, and cornichons,” says Pelayo, who plans to bring a few of her husband’s European Christmas traditions Stateside this year since they can’t be with his family in France.

Jamie Leilani Pelayo, Nature of Things Co-founder

Berry Bubbly

Forgot to put your favorite bottle of champagne on ice? Campo co-founder Jill King has you covered with this fast and festive garnish.

 The Shopping List:

·     Champagne (King recommends Ruinart Blanc deBlancs)

·     Fresh cranberries

·     Distilled water

 The How-To: Spike distilled water with cranberries and freeze to create snow globe-like ice cubes. Pop the finished product in a coupe glass and pour bubbly over top before serving yourself—and anyone else who’s lucky enough to social distance alongside you.

Pair It With: “Water crackers and brie topped with fig and cayenne jam,” says King, whose holiday plans including “skiing, snowball fights, roaring fires, and holiday cheer with family in Aspen.”

Mistletoe Margaritas

No need for Christmas crackers when you have a “pinata filled with goodies” like Campo’s other half, Jessica Frandson. Similar to her business partner, she loves to spice up a classic margarita with a quick hit of color. She freezes cranberries and lime slivers in ice cubes to add even more flair to her holiday fiesta.

The Shopping List:

·     Tequila (Frandson recommends 1800 Silver)

·     Cointreau liqueur

·     Fresh limes

·     Cranberries

·     Distilled water

The How-To: Fill an ice cube tray with cranberries, lime slices, and distilled water. Freeze in advance. Pack a cocktail shaker with regular ice and add equal parts tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau. Shake for 30 seconds. Pour over a fruity ice cube.

Pair It With: Hatch green chile chipotle queso dip, tortilla chips, and bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. “We’re hosting a Feliz Navidad dinner inspired by our California roots and love of Mexican culture,” says Frandson. She plans to cap off the evening with a few rounds of pin the tail on the donkey.

Jessica Frandson & Jill King, Campo founders

Gin-gle and Tonic

“Every day is a holiday—it’s a pandemic,” says Wonder Valley’s Alison Carroll who regularly whips up yuzu gin and tonics at her home in Joshua Tree, California.

The Shopping List:

·      Gin (Carroll recommends Monkey 47)

·      Tonic

·      Yuzu juice  

The How-To: “Just add a little more T than G,” says Carroll, who tends to eyeball her quarantine concoctions rather than measure. Finish with a splash of yuzu juice.

Pair It With: Skewered meats and vegetables. “The past few months we’ve been using our Yakitori grill a lot,” says Carroll. “It’s kind of like Japanese tapas—we go slow and enjoy a long, leisurely meal.”

Noel Negronis

“I’m a big fan of replacing the gin in a classic Negroni with mezcal,” says Jay Carroll of Wonder Valley, who, fun fact, memorized every line of It’s a Wonderful Life as a child.

The Shopping List:

·      Mezcal (Carroll recommends Del Maguey Chichicapa)

·      Campari

·      Sweet vermouth

The How-To: Add equal parts mezcal, Campari, and sweet vermouth to a glass filled with ice. Stir, strain, and serve on the rocks with a classic orange peel garnish.

Pair It With: Snacks straight off the Yakitori grill and a classic holiday flick screened on a projector. A Wonder Valley favorite: Die Hard.

Alison & Jay Carroll, Wonder Valley founders

Christmas Coquitos

Even if you’re not dancin’ and prancin’ in Jingle Bell Square, you can still rock the night away. “This Latinx version of eggnog makes everyone want to salsa!” says Julia Ruiz, co-founder of Deawy.

The Shopping List:

·     14 oz. condensed milk

·     16 oz. rum (Ruiz recommends dark or aged)

·     2 egg yolks

·     Vanilla extract (to taste)

·     Nutmeg and/or cinnamon

The How-To: Mix all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large glass bottle and refrigerate. Serve chilled in festive glassware or shot glasses before garnishing with a dash of nutmeg and/or cinnamon. 

Pair It With: “Dessert!” says Ruiz, who is staying put in New York City instead of flying home to Miami. Getting stuck in NYC, however, won’t stop her from continuing tradition. “I’m looking into volunteering for the holidays, as it’s something we used to do as a family and I’d like to keep it up this year,” she adds.

Merry Manhattan

“A Manhattan is perfect year round, but it’s especially delicious next to a roaring fire on a snowy day,” says Diana Saadeh, co-founder of Deawy. Don’t have a Yule log to burn? A cozy candle inspired by crackling flames also does the trick.

The Shopping List:

·      Rye

·      Vermouth

·      Bitters

·      Maraschino cherries

The How-To: Add 2 oz. of rye and 1 oz. of vermouth to a chilled cocktail shaker. Then, “shake it like a Polaroid picture” before pouring the blend into a cocktail glass. Add a dash of bitters and top off your tipple with a few maraschino cherries.

Pair It With: “Good friends,” says Saadeh. Of course, this cocktail tastes equally delightful when you drink it solo. Instead of flying south to Miami, she’s heading to her lake house in Norfolk, Connecticut. “We have a six-foot-tall fireplace, so we are excited to sip our Manhattans and toast to health, happiness, and the holidays!” adds Saadeh.

Julia Ruiz & Diana Saadeh, Deawy founders

Written by Amber Kallor

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