Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Spirits

There's very little I like more than sharing a festive drink with friends at Christmas time. Make your friends merry with one of these holiday-themed cocktails. Enjoy!

Cranberry Margarita

1 1/4 cups cranberry juice cocktail, divided

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

3/4 cup tequila

1/2 cup Cointreau

3 cups coarsely crushed ice

Pour 1/4 cup cranberry juice into a shallow bowl. Pour 3 Tbsp. sugar onto a plate. Dip rims of 4 to 6 widemouthed glasses into juice, then sugar. Set glasses aside. Reserve 12 cranberries. In a blender, mix the remaining cranberries, cranberry juice, and sugar, the lime juice, tequila, Cointreau and ice until smooth & slushy. If necessary, blend in 2 batches, then mix together. Divide among glasses and garnish with reserved berries, skewered 3 at-at-time, on toothpicks. Serves 4 to 6.

Classic Eggnog

2 quarts whole milk
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
16 large egg yolks
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup dark rum
Freshly grated nutmeg, for sprinkling

Heat milk, sugar, and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking until sugar has dissolved. Whisk yolks in a large bowl. Pour hot milk mixture into yolks in a slow, steady stream, whisking.

Return milk-yolk mixture to pan, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking often, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes (do not let simmer). Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard bean. Whisk in cream, bourbon, and rum. Let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour (up to 1 day). Serve sprinkled with nutmeg.

Pear and Sparkling Cider

2 cups pear nectar, chilled
2 cups sparkling apple cider, chilled
2 cups seltzer, chilled
4 ounces (1/2 cup) bourbon whiskey, such as Knob Creek
1 Bosc pear, unpeeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

Stir together pear nectar, cider, seltzer, and whiskey in a pitcher. Divide pear wedges among glasses, and pour in cocktail. Serve immediately.

Brandied Hot Chocolate

2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup water
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
2 tablespoons brandy (optional), or to taste.


Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk.
Bring water to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to moderately low and add chopped chocolate and a pinch of salt, whisking until smooth.
Add cream and remaining milk (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) and increase heat to moderate, then cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is smooth and heated through. Taste; for a deeper chocolate flavor, whisk in cocoa.
Whisk cornstarch mixture, then add half to chocolate mixture and simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add brandy (if using) and remaining cornstarch mixture to thicken if desired, then simmer, whisking, 1 minute.


  1. Delicious! I almost blogged about cranberry margs the other day. Let's come up with an excuse to make some of these drinks :)

  2. Ooh, the Cranberry Margarita sounds delish. Great idea for a post!