December 17, 2019
The holidays can be an overwhelming time of year. Between gift buying, trip planning, gift wrapping and holiday gatherings, there is barely any time to breathe. Throw planning a cocktail party into the mix and, well, you may not make it to New Year’s. You’ll likely need a holiday cocktail!
Whether you're planning a party or just sitting by the fire with a friend, get into the spirit of the season with one of these traditional and creative holiday drink ideas. Since the holiday season is so long, having several seasonal recipes to choose from is a smart move.
When entertaining, your best drink choices will depend on how many people you're serving. There's a big difference between a small group where you can mix up your own cocktails individually, and an open house, which demands a large-batch strategy. You may choose to have a standard self-serve liquor station along with a few special seasonal beers and some wine. Then add one or more "signature" holiday cocktails to make your event more festive. And don't forget the non-alcoholic drink options.
Whichever style of party you’re throwing, head to your local Co-op Wine Spirits Beer store and stock up on some of the holiday basics; get some Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Alberta Premium Canadian Whisky, Alberta Pure Vodka and some local craft beers too, like offerings from Eighty Eight Brewing, Common Crown, Banded Peak or Tool Shed Brewing. There’s plenty of great local craft beers you can offer to your guests; ask at your local Co-op Wine Spirits Beer for recommendations!
Create a Classic Red & Green Cocktail
Cranberry Cosmos are a simple drink that looks holiday-ready. Served in a martini glass, with a single slice of lime on the rim, its beautiful deep red and green colour scheme is Christmas in a glass. Cranberry juice or cranberry simple syrup gives this its festive crimson hue, and it’s easy to blend in with some Alberta Pure Vodka for a simple holiday libation.
Mix Up a Punch
Punch is traditional and communal. To share. It's all about the prep and having it ready for when your guests arrive so you can partake in the party instead of just being the bartender. Also, your punch bowl will become like the "water cooler" of the party and promote mingling.
For a popular punch, keep it simple. In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups superfine sugar in 1 quart of water and 1 quart of lemon juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 quarts dark rum, 1 quart cognac, and 4 ounces brandy. Taste and adjust the flavour if needed with an additional quart of water.
Note: When it comes to adding water to punch, take the size of your ice into account. The smaller your cubes, the less water you need to add, as small ice will melt quickly and dilute your punch. Purchase block ice if possible or make your own by freezing water in a Bundt pan or a silicon bread mold. You can even add fruit to this homemade ice ring to make it festive.
Find the right size container so guests can help themselves without the worry of it running out. While punch bowls are always a good choice, they’re certainly not the only way. You can use large pitchers, a drink dispenser, a Dutch oven, or even a large, pretty bowl.
Warm Cocktails for Cold Nights
There's more to punch than the cold versions. During the holidays and in the chilly months, there's no better greeting than serving guests with a toasty warm drink, such as Mulled Wine, Hot Cider, Hot Buttered Rum or Peppermint Hot Chocolate. With hot drinks, there's the added bonus of heady aromas throughout the house. Smart hosts have discovered that a slow cooker works great for both warming and serving hot beverages. Use the cooker's Keep Warm setting.
Eggnog is a Classic
Maybe you want to greet your guests with a cup of homemade Eggnog. It tastes better than store-bought, but there's nothing wrong with taking the store-bought route either as it’s a major time saver. Eggnog is a great choice for kids and non-drinkers as you can serve it plain. If you want to make and serve it with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, here are a few tips:
Rum and Brandy are the most traditional add-ins for eggnog, according to traditional recipes, but some experts recommend a mixture of dark or spiced rum and Cognac to better preserve the ’nog’s flavors. Or use bourbon.
Here's the golden ratio for eggnog holiday cheer: 1 part spirit to 5 parts prepared eggnog. For a 1-Litre container of eggnog, you should use 6.5 ounces of liquor, total. Top each glass with a sprinkle of nutmeg and some grated orange peel, and you've added extra flavor and flair.
Spiced rum can add a touch of the holidays to even a standard rum and coke too!
Creamy Cocktails for the Holidays
Are you dreaming of a creamy cocktail? Baileys Irish Cream on ice is standard at the holidays, but there are other creative ways to celebrate with season with a creamy treat. Consider a Pumpkin Pie or Gingerbread Martini. The White Christmas Martini is made with vanilla vodka, white chocolate liqueur, and creme de cocoa. Garnish it with a sparkly sugared rim, and this cocktail is like a white chocolate milkshake for grown-ups. The Candy Cane Cocktail imitates a candy cane by using equal parts vanilla rum, white chocolate liqueur and peppermint schnapps.
When it comes to holiday cocktails, there are endless opportunities. Here are some recipes that will help keep things simple and practical but creative at the same time. Here's to you and your festivities – and a joyous, healthy and happy season!
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