The presents are all wrapped and under the tree, the lights are up, the gingerbread cookies have been decorated, and you’ve even remembered to stock logs for the fireplace. But have you thought about what will you be drinking while you enjoy your holiday treats?
Rather than suffer through supermarket eggnog poured from the carton, you should upgrade your beverages this year. (You deserve it. It’s been a long 12 months.) So, we have four delicious and merry drinks from top bars around the country. There’s a hot Irish whiskey toddy topped with sparkling wine, a classic eggnog improved with smoky mezcal, a fruity Hanukkah cocktail (served on fire, naturally), and even a wintry tropical drink from a tiki legend. No matter which one you choose, your holiday guests will be thoroughly impressed.
Lady Macbeth’s Secret Recipe
The name of this concoction is a little morbid (in the play, Lady Macbeth adds something extra to the guards’ drinks so her husband can murder King Duncan), but this Irish whiskey and apple cider based Hot Toddy variation is both warming and celebratory. (It’s even topped up with sparkling wine!) The drink comes from bartender Cody Goldstein’s Shakespearean A Midwinter Night’s Dream pop-up at the LOCL, the bar inside Manhattan’s NYLO Hotel.
1.5 oz Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey
3 oz Apple cider
.5 oz Earl Grey syrup (1 part brewed Earl Grey tea, 1 part sugar)
.5 oz Lemon Juice
1-2 oz Hot water
2 oz. Sparkling wine
Garnish: Lemon twist
DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients except the sparkling wine to a mug and stir briefly. Top with the sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist.
When it’s cold and dark and the snow is blowing, there’s nothing more attitude-changing than a glass of something strong and tropical. That’s the theory behind Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, a Christmas tiki pop-up that this year took over three bars: Boilermaker in New York, Lost Lake in Chicago, and Latitude 29 in New Orleans. This rum punch with a bit of holiday cheer in the form of apricot brandy and allspice liqueur is the creation of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of multiple tiki recipe books and the proprietor of Latitude 29.
1 oz El Dorado 8-Year Old Cask Aged Rum
1 oz Coruba Dark Rum
.75 oz Apricot brandy (such as Bols or Marie Brizard)
.5 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
.75 oz Lime juice
.25 oz Grapefruit juice
.5 oz. Simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water)
Garnish: Dried apricot sprinkled with ground allspice
DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a dried apricot sprinkled with ground allspice on a cocktail pick.
Hosting family or friends for Christmas Eve? Whip up a big bowl of this special eggnog. The concoction has been on the menu at The Eveleigh in Los Angeles every winter for the last five years. The secret to its rich but light texture is separating the eggs and whipping the yolks and whites separately, and the secret to its delicious savory flavor is smoky mezcal, which adds just a hint of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. This recipe makes two quarts of nog, enough for a good two dozen cupsful.
6 Eggs, separated
.75 cup Sugar, divided
1 qt. Milk
1 pint Heavy cream
18 oz Mezcal
12 oz Cardamom-infused amontillado sherry*
Half a nutmeg, grated
Garnish: Grated nutmeg
DIRECTIONS: Add the egg whites and a quarter-cup cup of the sugar to a bowl and beat until they form firm peaks. Set aside. Add the egg yolks and the remaining half-cup of sugar to a large bowl and beat until the yolks turn light in color. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Fold in the reserved egg whites. Serve in punch cups, garnished with additional grated nutmeg.
*To make the cardamom-infused sherry, combine 4 ounces of cardamom pods and 1 (750 ml) bottle of amontillado sherry. Let stand for 3 hours, strain and rebottle.
Miracle of Lights
Hanukkah comes late this year, giving you a reason to keep celebrating all the way until New Year’s Day. Latkes and sufganiyot are of course the snacks to eat during the eight-day holiday, but there aren’t really any traditional Hanukkah beverages. Pamela Wiznitzer of New York’s Seamstress is trying to change that with this tart-and-smoky cocktail. Mezcal brings seasonal spice to the combo of apricot and lime, and the drink is served with a flaming garnish appropriate to the Festival of Lights. If you’re feeling ambitious or are having a latke party, you can make a menorah out of nine of these drinks!
1.5 oz Ilegal Mezcal Joven
.75 oz Fresh lime juice
1 tsbp Apricot jam
3 dashes Bittermens Boston Bittahs
Garnish: Hollowed lime half, Green Chartreuse, and freshly grated cinnamon
DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients to a shaker and shake without ice. (This helps dissolve the jam.) Open the shaker, fill with ice and shake again. Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Top with a hollowed lime half filled with Green Chartreuse. Carefully set the Chartreuse alight and sprinkle the drink with cinnamon.