Holiday Cocktails and other Stories

If you have checked out my Podcasts page then you know that I’m a big fan of Gastropod, hosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley.  One of my favorite episodes, The Cocktail Hour, goes into the history and science behind the cocktail or mixology – “the first legitimate American culinary art”.

The art of mixology may be the first American endeavor into the world of culinary delights but alcohol and the holidays have never been mutually exclusive.  The social lubrication that alcohol provides allows the holidays to not only be bearable but also, fun, or at the very least memorable.

Booze knows no bounds!  It can be gifted, it can be served, and it can be specialized (and then gifted).  More importantly, booze has such flexibility there is no need to stick to eggnog.

So let me take you, my dear reader, on a journey through five scenarios – Ghost of Christmas Past style.

Scenario 1: The one where you are the life of the party.

Your friend graciously invites you over for a bonfire holiday party.  It is freezing outside, and everyone is inside drinking beer.  Then, you pull from your car the following:

  1. A crock-pot
  2. A big container of your fabulous, pre-prepared spiked apple cider
  3. Cinnamon sticks

You plug your crock-pot in and let the heating begin! The next thing you know, everyone is outside around the fire, singing, sipping hot, delicious cider and downloading the Uber app.

Scenario 2: The one where you gifted a bottle

It is Christmas Day, you are with close friends and family, unwrapping gifts.  Your Uncle gets to your gift and opens it to reveal a bottle of Maker’s Mark.  “Oh nice”, he remarks.  “Thanks.” Then sets the bottle aside.

Scenario 3: The one where you gift an experience

It is Christmas Day, you are with close friends and family, unwrapping gifts.  Your Uncle gets to your gift and opens it to reveal a bottle of Cocchi di Torino, Redemption Rye, Luxardo Maraschino, and Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters with a note card which includes instructions on how to make a ‘Riverside Manhattan’.  You know, like the one’s you had when you both visited Asheville, NC and grabbed cocktails at Posana.  ‘WOW’, he remarks.  “Thanks so much!  Let’s make some of these after we get done unwrapping gifts!.” Then sets the gift aside and says, ‘I’m so embarrassed about what I got you this year.’

Scenario 4: The one where you throw a party

You create a Facebook event for a Holiday Celebration and you put together the perfect guest list.  You buy some beer, some wine, and throw on some tunes.  Everyone shows up – stands around- and talks.

Scenario 5: The one where you celebrate the spirit of the occasion

You create a Facebook event for a Holiday Celebration and you put together the perfect guest list.  You buy some beer, some wine, and ingredients for a delicious, yet simple, holiday cocktail.  You string some lights, put on some Little Richard, and create some cozy sitting areas for your guests.

Everyone shows up, including your friend who brought that amazing homemade spiked hot cider.  The next thing you know, folks are snuggled together and listening to The Night Before Christmas being read, or slurred, aloud.

Beautiful!

For Holiday Cocktail ideas, check out my board, Bougie Foodings:

Booze is fine but just keep these things in mind.

Boozing during the holidays is fine and dandy but besides not drinking and driving there are a few other tips and tricks to pulling off imbibing.  First and foremost, gifting booze is great, but be aware of the gift receivers allergies.  I have a family member who gets severe migraines from pecans so that means pecan vodka, and certain types of bitters are a no go for the holidays.

Next, not everyone is a bubbly person when they have had a drink or two.  Drinking with family can be… volatile. When you suspect that booze can cause more harm than good with a particular individual, play bartender.  Give them a drink but make it a light one.

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