No matter the size of your holiday guest list, don’t forget to put drinks on the menu. Whether your turkey is served on a table for two, or your pandemic pod extends into a slightly larger social circle, these easily scalable cocktails will set a festive mood. Find more recipes at startribune.com/taste.
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Who said rosé wine was just for summer? Here is a delicious sparkling wine punch to cozy up with on colder days, a lighter and refreshing alternative to mulled wine. From “Winter Drinks: Over 75 Recipes to Warm the Spirits Including Hot Drinks, Fortifying Toddies, Party Cocktails and Mocktails” (Ryland Peters & Small).
• About 10 seedless white grapes, halved lengthwise
• About 10 seedless red grapes, halved lengthwise
• 1 small orange, finely sliced
• 3 oz. orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
• 3 oz. aged sweet red vermouth, such as Carpano Antica Formula
• 3/4 c. fresh clementine or blood orange juice
• 1 1/2 c. fruity white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc), well-chilled
• 750 ml bottle sparkling rosé wine (such as prosecco or Cava), well-chilled
• Dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Put the grapes and orange slices in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Pour in the orange liqueur, vermouth, clementine or blood orange juice, white wine and rosé and stir to combine. Add plenty of ice cubes and stir again. Serve ladled into tumblers or short-stemmed wine glasses filled with ice cubes and garnish each one with a dried orange slice and a cinnamon stick.
Note: William Schmidt was a prodigious experimenter and also quite the self-promoter; this recipe was found in Schmidt’s 1891 cocktail book. For simple syrup, shake equal parts cold water and sugar until sugar dissolves. From “The New Craft of the Cocktail,” by Dale DeGroff (Clarkson Potter).
• 1 oz. cognac
• 1/2 oz. ruby port
• 1/2 oz. crème de cacao, such as Tempus Fugit
• 1/2 oz. simple syrup (see Note)
• 1 oz. heavy cream
• Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Shake all the ingredients (except the garnish) very well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top.
Note: Anise and blackcurrant pair as beautifully together as a hammock and a snooze. Add the gentle refreshment of citrus and bubbly, and that hazy happiness of a southern French holiday is just one short sip away. From “Fizz,” by Olly Smith (Clarkson Potter).
• 1 oz. pastis
• 2 tsp. lemon juice
• 4 tsp. crème de cassis
• Lemon peel, for garnish
Pour the pastis and lemon juice into the glass. Top with the crémant until it’s around two fingers’ width from the top. Pour in the crème de cassis, et voilà! Garnish with a twirl of lemon peel and you have a two-toned drink that’s as hazy as holidays.
Aquavit Bloody Mary
Note: Aquavit is a grain or potato distilled aperitif often associated with Scandinavia, and often flavored with caraway and/or dill. Given Minnesota’s healthy Nordic heritage, the spirit has long been celebrated as an opportunity to connect with the Old World. People in Minnesota are gifted in their ways of family, community and culture, and there is no cocktail better associated with that practice than the Bloody Mary, which stands on the Paul Bunyan shoulders of the Upper Midwest in triumphant glory. From “The United States of Cocktails,” by Brian Bartels (Abrams).
For the Bloody Mary Mix:
• 3 c. tomato juice
• 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
• 2 oz. Worcestershire sauce
• 2 oz. Tabasco chipotle sauce
• 1 tbsp. steak sauce
• 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tsp. celery salt
For the Bloody Mary:
• 1 1/2 c. aquavit (or gin, tequila, or mezcal)
• Garnishes: celery stick, lemon wedge, and olive or pickle
For the Bloody Mary Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive container. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
For the Bloody Mary: Combine aquavit and 4 oz. Bloody Mary mix in a chilled pint glass with ice, briefly stir and add the garnishes.
Note: What is it about drinking a cocktail in a martini glass that makes us feel so glamorous? This delicious gimlet was made for me by friends. They updated the classic cocktail with pomegranate juice and of course served it in frozen martini glasses because they really are glamorous. For simple syrup, shake equal parts cold water and sugar until sugar dissolves. From “Modern Comfort Food,” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter).
• 1 1/2 c. gin, such as Tanqueray
• 1 c. pomegranate juice, such as Pom Wonderful
• 1 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (6 to 8 limes)
• 1/2 c. simple syrup (see Note)
• Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
• 6 lime slices, for garnish
At least one hour before serving, place six martini glasses in freezer.
Combine the gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher. Fill a cocktail shaker half-full with ice and add the drink mixture until the shaker is three-quarters full. Shake for a full 15 seconds (it’s longer than you think!). Pour the mixture into the frozen martini glasses and garnish with a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds and a slice of lime. Repeat with the remaining drink mixture and serve ice cold.