There’s nothing wrong with sipping on classic beverages such as hot toddies or mulled wine to celebrate the holiday season, but after years of drinking the same cocktails, your tastebuds might be in need of a refresh.
The tasty solution: Concoct a drink infused with fresh wintertime ingredients, such as nutmeg, citrus, sage, and ginger, which brighten traditional spirits and add a complex flavor to them, says Paul Taylor, a co-owner of Your Only Friend, a new cocktail and sandwich bar in Washington, D.C. “Seasonal ingredients that add a festive twist make your holiday drinks special,” he says.
This season, take a break from tradition and toast your family and friends with Taylor’s fun and innovative holiday cocktails.
This holiday cocktail assumes the flavor of the eponymous sweat treat thanks to a homemade gingerbread syrup that, yes, is worth the effort. (P.S. These holiday cookies make the perfect pair for your seasonal cocktail.)
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 piece ginger (3 inches), peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 oz. blended scotch
- 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
- Make the gingerbread syrup: Combine honey, molasses, water, and ginger in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until almost boiling. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the flavors infuse for 2 hours. Then strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the solids. Makes 1 cup.
- Combine scotch, 3/4 oz. gingerbread syrup, and fresh lemon juice in a shaker with ice.
- Shake vigorously, and strain into a coupe or a stemmed cocktail glass.
Celebrate the reboot of Sex and the City with a modern, holiday twist on this classic cocktail.
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 9 large strips zest (from 1 navel orange)
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 3/4 oz. vodka
- 3 3/4 oz. sparkling water
- Make the cranberry cordial: Combine cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, sugar, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, 8 orange zest strips, and nutmeg in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then remove saucepan from the heat. Once the mixture has cooled, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the solids. Makes 1 cup.
- Combine vodka, 1 1/4 oz. cranberry cordial, and remaining (1/4 oz.) fresh lemon juice in a shaker with ice, and shake vigorously.
- Strain into a highball glass over ice, and fill with sparkling water. Remove a large strip of peel from a navel orange, twist over the top of the drink, and drop in glass to garnish.
Winter Citrus Lemonade
Don’t leave lemon for summer cocktails. This holiday drink makes creative use of the bright citrus fruit with a DIY salted lemon syrup. (Use up your leftover fruit by concocting one of these energizing citrus recipes.)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 chopped preserved lemon (which is preserved in salt; preferably a Meyer lemon)
- 1 oz. gin
- 1/2 oz. fresh Meyer lemon juice
- 4 oz. sparkling water
- Fresh sage (garnish)
- Make the salted lemon syrup: Combine sugar, water, and chopped preserved lemon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until almost boiling. Remove pan from the heat, and let the flavors infuse for 2 hours. Once cool, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the solids. Makes 1 cup.
- Combine gin, 1 oz. salted lemon syrup, and fresh Meyer lemon juice in a shaker. Shake vigorously, then strain into a highball glass.
- Add ice, and fill with sparkling water. Garnish with sage.