Ah, the holidays. It's a time to host Christmas parties, throw an unforgettable New Year’s Eve bash, and enjoy the post-season joys of football with friends and family. But mostly, it’s a time to drink. To help you get the most out of your next holiday-season party, we rounded up our five favorite cocktails, along with a few insider tips from mixologist Eric “ET” Tecosky.
“It's important to have a couple of key cocktail recipes,” says Tecosky, who offers up this amazing Sazerac mix. “Even if you borrow them from the Internet, your guests will think they’re your own secret recipes.”
This New Orleans-born cocktail is ideal for watching the ball drop.
• 2 oz Jack Daniel's Tennessee Rye
• 1 sugar cube
• 2-3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
• Herbsaint rinse
• Lemon twist
• In an old-fashioned glass, add a dash of Herbsaint. Fill with water and ice, put aside. • In a mixing glass add sugar and bitters. Break up sugar cube with muddler and make a paste. Add rye. Stir. Add ice. Stir until cold. • Discard contents of old-fashioned glass. • Strain cocktail into old-fashioned glass. • Garnish with lemon twist.
ET’s Tip: "When using a citrus peel garnish, twist it over the cocktail and let the oil from the citrus enhance the experience. Also, slide the peel around the rim of the glass to ensure the guest gets a great nose of citrus before they sip."
The Apple Claus
Put away the milk, this is Santa's new favorite drink.
• 1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch
• 3/4 oz Apple Cinnamon Tea syrup
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• Dash of Angostura bitters
Shake and strain into a chilled coupe and top with sparkling wine (prosecco, champagne or Apple Cider). • Garnish with an orange twist or apple slice.
*Recipe by Laura Moore at The Epicurean Hotel Edge rooftop bar.
ET’s Favorite Toast: “Try to be as amazing as your dog thinks you are.”
Uncle Dave’s Nog
A non-egg eggnog!
• 1 1/2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
• 1 1/2 parts almond milk
• 1/2 part aged rum
• 3/4 part maple syrup
• 1/4 part pimento dram
• 1/4 part walnut liqueur
• 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine and shake/chill with ice. • Grate fresh cinnamon and nutmeg over the mixture and incorporate in. • Garnish with a side of candied walnuts to eat while sipping the drink.
*Recipe by Pam Wiznitzer, USBG President & Creative Director, Seamstress NY.
ET's Tip: "Most mistakes happen by not being prepared. When you are not prepared you rush and that's when you make mistakes. Chef's call it 'mise en place' or 'putting in place' - meaning, you are ready to go before the first order comes in and you won't be looking for anything. It's a great strategy when setting up for making drinks, even at home."
Cranberry Kiev Mule
Christmas in Ukraine is celebrated on Jan. 7, which means you can drink this well into the new year...or longer. We don't judge.
• 1 part Nemiroff Original Vodka
• 1 part cranberry juice cocktail
• 2 parts ginger beer
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• Lime wedges, fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)
Pour vodka, cranberry juice cocktail, beer and lime juice in a copper mug filled with ice. • Gently stir to combine • Garnish with lime wedges, fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Trust us, it's much better than sitting around one listening to your buddy stum a guitar and sing.
• 1 part Maker’s 46 Bourbon
• 1 part Averna Amaro
• 1 part Stumptown Indo
• pinch of Maldon Salt
• pinch of chilly powder
In a shaker, add all ingredients, add ice, and shake vigorously. • Pour entire contents into an old-fashioned glass. • Add lemon zest, discard lemon peel. • Add chocolate bitters to top of frothy cocktail. • Garnish with marshmallows.
*Recipe by Seth Allen, Cannibal NYC.