These festive cocktails will kick your holiday celebrations up a notch

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Of course, for heads, there’s the 12 drugs of Christmas.

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It’s nice to see some suggestions beyond the usual lazy holiday suggestions. Stock champagne cocktails, but not the right one even though poinsettias exist. Spice, sugar and cream based drinks no one actually likes. And almost always heavy, heavy heavy.

Which makes no sense. You’ll be eating and drinking a lot heavy drinks are no bueno.

My rules are whiskey, gin, and amaro amaro amaro. Keep it light and fizzy.

Various flavors of old fashioned are an easy option. Just follow your preferred recipe and aggressively stir a bar spoon of any jam into it, then strain over fresh ice to serve. Toss a twist or couple berries in for garnish.

Here’s my bourbon punch recipe, for batching, in metric. Cause metric is better for such things.

350ml bourbon (or rye)
100ml Aperol.
350ml apple cider
200ml blood orange juice.
Dry sparkling wine, preferably prosecco. You want light and crisp rather than yeasty and funky or sweet.
Big fat hipster twists.

Mix the juices and liquor in a pitcher or something ahead of time, stick it in the fridge to chill. Chill and open the bubbly, and put your twists out in a dish.

To serve:

Put ice in a double old fashioned glass (or whatever you’d like to use).

Fold your hipster twist over the glass/ice (twisting it will cause it to break). Rub it along the lip of the glass, then drop it in the ice.

Fill the glass halfway with your juice/liquor base.

Top up the glass with prosecco.


How much wine you use controls how strong and light or heavy the flavor of the punch is. At parties I go 1:1 base to wine to keep it easy. At the bar as a specialty cocktail I did 3:1, since its less of a “let me drink this all day” thing. You can basically do it to taste.

If you absolutely must have spice, throw a couple dashes of bitters in. Or grate fresh nutmeg over the top.

You can also serve it straight up. Shake the base over ice, strain into a glass (doped with twist) and too with a splash of wine. Or the opposite. A flute of wine spiked with a half ounce to an ounce of base.


Happy holidays. What is a hipster twist?

The google shows a bunch of underwear but I’m gonna guess it’s a thick line of citrus zest.

You can stop right there. Nothing more needs to be said.

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A very wide strip of citrus peel pulled directly off a full piece of fruit with a paring knife. As seen here.

You just take a very sharp knife and slice as wide a swatch of peel off the fruit as you can, from pole to pole. While avoiding too much pith. No narrow spirals or special knives or rolling things up.

You get a lot more zest, and a lot more flavorful citrus oils that way. With just enough bitter pith to hold it in a solid piece. It’s the preferred way to do twists in the craft cocktail scene. And you tend to see them bobbing around glasses wherever hipsters are thick on the ground.

They will break if handled roughly but they taste much better, and will actually express oil in a way the little skinny ones don’t.

You basically press your finger into the back/pith side with the zest pointed at the glass. Fold it over, without folding it totally flat (it’ll break). Maybe give it a gentle back and forth twist while folded. And it’ll rocket citrus oil all over the place.

They’re best cut fresh but you got a couple hours before they shrivel up and lose their oil so at home you can put out a dish.


A tad on the complicated side for a drink, but, hell! It’s the Hellidays! So why not go all out?

Its not particularly complicated as these things go. And I cooked it up in part by simplifying the recipe for some modern rum punches and tiki drinks.

It requires no special tools or skills. And since it’s designed to be mostly pre mixed, but finished to order most of the work is done ahead of time. So it’s real fast to actually serve. Plus it’s very easy to alter, substitute or iterate on.

We did them at a friend’s white elephant the other day. Even juicing my own citrus it took about 5 minutes to mix up the base. And I was able mix up 2 more batches of base mid party without disturbing things or making a mess.

Sorta why its my go to.


Sounds nice. But at this point for me at this point it is ‘open bottle, pour, drink’ and the second step can be eliminated. Esp. with beer.

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I made one up that has done okay at holiday parties:

The Little Lebowski Achiever

1/3 to 1/2 coffee liqueur*
1/2 to 2/3 eggnog spiked with Jack Daniels and a dash of sherry.**
Layer coffee then eggnog in a shot glass or very small glass.

*. I find kahlua to be too sweet so I either bump up the coffee or make it from scratch. I discovered kyoto pour cold coffee is terrific or stovetop expresso. Add rum and simple syrup or agave, to taste.

** I’ve also made the eggnog from scratch, not sure it’s worth it as there’s some really good eggnog out there, but from scratch you have freshly beaten egg whites which help it float on top of the coffee layer.


If you aren’t into cocktails you aren’t into cocktails.

I can recommend Van Gogh double espresso vodka. It’s vodka infused with a shit ton of espresso beans, enough to turn it the color of actual espresso.

Not much added sugar in there. Tastes very strongly of coffee but it’s not sweet. Makes an excellent less sweet sub for Kahlua or other liqueurs. It’s best combined with actual coffee if you’re looking for full on coffee taste.

Also that’s not far off Baby Guinness. Bailey’s layered over Kahlua in a shot glass. It’s gross but it looks just like a tiny beer.


That’s just insane enough to try. While I’m here, I’ve just gotten a hold of “A Colbert Christmas” (2008). It is more insane than you can imagine.

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Warren Ellis agrees.
(EDIT: See below for an actual framed tile you can order)


I regret that I can only give one like to this.

Thank you!


A high quality dry vermouth like Dolin can make some delicious aperitifs. Ice it down in a shaker with an ounce of Aperol, Campari, or Punt e Mes amaro. Strain into a champagne glass and add a 7up float.


My fave for the past few years is mixing a jigger of Islay malt into some good eggnog and finishing it with a few grinds of fresh nutmeg. I just call it “smoky nog”, but I’m sure there’s a more creative name that could be devised. Mixed one for a friend on Xmas Eve, and she said it made her think of a s’more that had fallen into the coals. I like that it summons summer campfire imagery at the start of winter.

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This year for a festive gathering my friends and I did a Feuerzangenbowle, a German “fire tongs punch”. It’s basically just mulled wine (you just warm up a bowl of red wine with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and some sliced up oranges and lemons) but then you get your hands on “fire tongs”, which is basically a metal trough with slits in it that sits atop the punchbowl. It holds a cone of sugar that you soak in high proof rum and set on fire, which melts/caramelizes the sugar and gives the punch a wonderful rich sweetness. It’s fun, festive, delicious, and involves lots of fire.