This the season to treat ourselves to all the things we love the most: great food, good company, and tasty drinks. In the quest to max out all the fun, though, we sometimes get a little too ambitious and wind up spending too long putting finishing touches on snacks and playing bartender.
The good news is we've got you covered on the drinks front. These simple recipes for show-stopping modern classic cocktails are a winning formula for a perfect holiday get-together.
Although this drink could be mistaken for traditional nog, it's actually a fresh spin on the classic made with coconut and bourbon whiskey. NOTE: Since this drink should be chilled for at least one full hour before serving (and can last in the refrigerator for several days), make it early, put it in the fridge and forget all about it until the guests arrive. Best of all, this can be scaled up for any size get-together.
To make 2 drinks: In a blender on high speed, blend together 3 oz (90 mL) bourbon whiskey, 3 oz (90 mL) condensed milk, 3 oz (90 mL) coconut milk, 2 oz (60 mL) whipping cream and ¼ tsp (1 mL) vanilla until the condensed milk is well combined, about 60 sec. Refrigerate for at least 1 hr, then pour into 2 rocks glasses rimmed with powdered cocoa. Garnish with 2 cinnamon sticks or candy canes.
Use chilled ginger tea instead of bourbon to make this alcohol-free.
Cranberry Ginger Yule Mule
Cocktail trends come and go, but the versatile mule is timeless, thanks to its "good bones," which make it easy to play around with and add new twists, such as this one with cranberries and spiced rum.
To make 1 drink: In a cocktail shaker, muddle together 2 oz (60 mL) spiced rum, ¾ oz (22 mL) fresh lime juice and the leaves from a sprig of mint. Strain into an ice-filled copper mule mug. Top with 5 oz (150 mL) Cranberry flavour ginger ale. Garnish with a mint sprig and skewered candied ginger.
Zero proof it:
To transform this into a mocktail, swap out the spiced rum for ginger beer and add ½ tsp (2 mL) baking spice to the mint and lime and muddle away.
This twist on the Italian affogato-ice cream drowned in coffee-has a lovely hit of caramel, thanks to the rye whisky.
To make 1 drink: Add 1 scoop Panache French Vanilla Ice Cream to a glass goblet. Mix together 3 oz (90 mL) brewed Compliments Winter Blend Coffee and 1½ oz (45 mL) rye whisky. Pour the hot spiked coffee over the ice cream. Break up a piece of Panache Swiss Milk Chocolate into chunks and crush 5 pecans; sprinkle the chocolate and nuts on top.
To make this an alcohol-free drink, stir 1 tbsp (15 mL) caramel or butterscotch syrup into the coffee instead of rye.