Holiday Spirits, Present and Past, Cheers!

Okay class, (whew, just had a flashback from when I used to teach) let’s review what we have covered so far…

Manhattans, Vitamin C Manhattan, Autumn Sunsets, Gin drinks, Tequila drinks, Apple Pie drink, some wines…hmmm.  I think that covers it.

Todays lesson, er uh I mean post, covers some Holiday Spirits that I wanted to put out there now so you would have plenty of time to prepare in case you are entertaining guests, or just want to be entertained and enjoy a cocktail.

The first cocktail is an oldie and a goodie.  Which can cover a lot of things but let’s stick with cocktails for now.  I believe Diana and I started having this drink on Christmas morning in about 1980.  We had just moved into our first house, had our first child and were going to celebrate Christmas in a “new way”.  A whole different perspective when you have your first house and a child. (we also had a genuine Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  really.  I actually think ol’ Chuck would have laughed and Snoopy may have pissed on it.)  Unknown to us, we were also preparing what has become a tradition around our house on Christmas mornings.  We had Sleigh Rides.  No matter if there was any snow.  We didn’t even need to go outside for these Sleigh Rides.  We just had to make sure we had the ingredients on hand the day before.  Forget the Turkey.  Damn the Ham.  We got Sleigh Rides!  Well, anyway, here is the recipe.

Sleigh Ride

Mix the following together and pour into an ice filled Old Fashion type glass:

  1. 1 ounce Vodka (now I have never tried any of the flavored ones, or infused some Vodka, but I bet it would be great)
  2. 1 ounce Amaretto
  3. 1 ounce Creme de Cacao (preferred white creme de cacao, but desperate times do call fo desperate measures and dark will work well also)

Top off the alcohol mixture with about 2 ounces of half and half.  Buckle up because you are on a Sleigh Ride.

The only note I would add to that recipe is that we have them while opening presents on Christmas morning….and that took a awhile, so many were consumed.   As such it helps to have a pot of coffee handy.

A drink we have had in recent times around this time of year is The Poinsettia.  The plant is a great little gift to give friends when you visit, but add this drink and it is a gift they may not soon forget.

There are a fair number of recipes for this drink, and some go by the same name.  However, as with many of my cocktails, I change things up a bit.  And while the Poinsettia plants are not always blooming, this drink is always blooming and so are you when you have it…

The Poinsettia

  1. 1.5 ounces of Vodka
  2. 2.5 ounces of  Cranberry juice
  3. .25 to .5 ounces of Gran Marnier or any orange flavored liqueur
  4. Mix and pour into a tall glass filled with ice.
  5. Top off with about 1.5 ounces of Sparkling wine, Champagne or Prosecco
  6. Add an orange zest peel to the top.

Now this is a great drink to fix ahead of time, then just add the “bubbles” as the drinks are poured.  But be prepared to have plenty on hand or to  make some more.  They are enjoyed quite well and often.

Very seldom is there a drink in my posts that is entirely of my own creativity…or you can insert whatever you would like here.  I usually have changed it a bit, added this, more of that, left this out, whatever the case may be…

However on this one, I truly created something unique, well sort of.  With all of the “mixologists” out today, I am sure that someone has done something similar.  But here is my…

Big Apple Manhattan

  1. Begin by infusing bourbon with an “Apple spice” tea bag.  The tea I used was “apple spice”, but the spice was fairly mild.  Not overwhelming.  I just put the tea bag into a small jar filled with bourbon.  I used something about the size of a peanut butter jar and let it sit for a day or so.  When you infuse smaller amounts of liquor, you do not need as much time.
  2. Mix together in a cocktail shaker 2.5 ounces of the Apple spiced infused bourbon…1 ounce sweet vermouth…and 1 ounce of Thatcher’s Apple Ginger Spice liqueur.
  3. Add 3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  4. Shake for 20 seconds, pour into an old fashion glass with one ice-cube (see note*) and garnish with an orange zest.

This makes for a nice little change to the Manhattan with a bit of Seasonal flavors.  Note* from above: Diana and Drew gave me some great ice-cube molds for my birthday.  They got them from the MOMA store (Museum of Modern Art).  They make an ice-cube about the size of a billiard cue ball.  So one cube is all that is needed.  It keeps the drink cold without the ice melting quickly and watering the drink down.

So this year, over the holidays, get together with some friends and family, or hell, make some new friends.  Have fun.  Remember “when”.  And bask in the glow of the holiday season.  If you need some Holiday Spirits to help the basking, or the glowing…well go on a Sleigh Ride…take along a Poinsettia…and enjoy a Big Apple Manhattan while you sing your Christmas Carols.

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Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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