This weekend was SO busy! After the Christmas party on Friday (which went swimmingly), I attended an afternoon wedding on Saturday, the first of two family Christmases on Sunday (which involved a 3.5 hour drive each way), and a latkes party at Sarah and Jon's house on Mon. The holiday season is clearly in full swing! As for the rest of the season, I'll be seeing my friends Bonnie and Gabe (who now live in Sacramento) on Thurs. (and having a Reveillon dinner at Upperline- Yum!), spending time with my family (and eating Christmas dinner #2!) over the actual holiday, and seeing my friend Kristi (now living in San Francisco) the Monday after Christmas!
I promise I'll put up a few pictures from my Christmas party soon (my Mom sent me a fabulous homemade ugly Christmas sweater!) but to tide you over, I thought I'd post the drink recipes from our party.
The first year we threw a Christmas party, I made a list of the alcohol and mixers I thought we should buy for the party- basic stuff like wine, beer, rum, vodka, orange juice, and Coke. My darling fiance read my list, declared that screw drivers and rum and cokes were off the list due to this being a "Christmas party rather than a frat party" and sat down and came up with a list of fun holiday cocktails to make during the party. He even printed up a drink menu for our guests!
Since then, fancy drinks and a printed drink menu have been a big part of our Christmas party. Much like my food menu, the drink menu has evolved over the years- we keep the things that everyone loves and rotate out the drinks that didn't go over very well (this painful candy cane martini from our first party springs to mind- it went the way of the gougeres I made that everyone mistook for biscuits). Regardless of the drinks we decide to make, I think my darling fiance does a great job as a bartender every year, and I think that this year all the drinks were very good.
The classics that we've kept year after year are the Poinsettia Cocktails (my absolute favorite), Peppermint Patty shots (tasty and not overly alcoholic), Brandied Port (the gentlemen always love this one), and Brandy Milk Punch (a New Orleans classic).
3 ounces cranberry juice, chilled
3 ounces champagne, chilled
1 ounce triple sec
Pour into a fluted champagne glass, stir, and serve.
1/2 oz. crème de cacao
1/2 oz. peppermint schnapps
1 oz. cream
Stir with ice , strain into shot glass
2 ounces ruby port
1 ounce brandy
Dash fresh-squeezed lemon juice (optional)
Shake well with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass; garnish with twist of lemon or orange peel.
Brandy Milk Punch
1 ½ ounces brandy
1 ounce simple syrup
½ bar spoon high quality vanilla extract
A couple ounces of Half-and-half
Pour brandy, simple syrup, vanilla extract and half-and-half into a pint glass. Add ice to a shaker and shake the concoction until well mixed and frothy. Add cubed ice to a rocks glass and, using astrainer, pour the mixture into it. Top with a bit of grated nutmeg.
The new drinks we tried this year were the Cherry Gin Sling (this one seemed to be the least popular, but I enjoyed it), the Rosemary Salty Dog (the Rosemary provided a delicious aroma and made this drink very Christmas-y), and the Elf in a Blender (which tasted like a really delicious strawberry daiquiri).
Cherry Gin Sling
2 ounces gin
1 ounce cherry brandy
4 ounces club soda
grenadine or Pom Cherry Pomegranate juice (optional)
Pour gin and brandy in serving glass over crushed ice. Top up with club soda and garnish with
maraschino cherries. You can also add a splash of grenadine or juice for a little added sweetness and color.
Rosemary Salty Dog
1 grapefruit wedge
One 1-inch piece of rosemary sprig, plus 1 sprig for garnish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces fresh red grapefruit juice
1 1/2 ounces gin
Moisten the outer rim of a martini glass with the grapefruit wedge and coat lightly
with salt. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the 1-inch rosemary sprig with the sugar. Add
the grapefruit juice, gin and ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the martini glass and
garnish with the rosemary sprig.
Elf in a Blender
3 pounds strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons citrus vodka
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chilled Riesling
In a bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, until
the strawberries release their juices, about 10 minutes.
In a blender, combine half each of the strawberries and their juices, the vodka, wine, and
lime juice with 1 cup of ice and puree. Pour into a pitcher. Repeat with the remaining
strawberries and juices, vodka and lime juice and 1 more cup of ice. Fill 10 tall
glasses halfway with ice. Pour the cocktail into the glasses, top each with about 1/2
tablespoon of Riesling and serve.
What's your favorite holiday libation?