At holiday time food should be classic, and the drinks rock and roll!
Recipe: Awesome Holiday Drinks
Hot Spiced Wine Serves 12
INGREDIENTS: 2 bottles light-bodied red wine; 1 1/4 cups sugar; zest of 1 orange; zest of 1 lemon; 3 black peppercorns crushed; 2 cardamom pods crushed; one 3-inch cinnamon stick crushed; 1 clove crushed; 1/2 cup kirsch.
PREP: In large saucepan, combine red wine with the sugar, and orange and lemon zests. Put spices in a tea ball, add to the saucepan. Heat wine to a very slow simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove saucepan from stove, discard tea ball, and stir in kirsch. Ladle spiced wine into heatproof glasses and serve. (Note: Spiced wine can be kept overnight at room temperature. Reheat before serving.)
Apple-Brandy Hot Toddies Serves 8
INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 cups water; 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey; 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice; 2 cups apple brandy, preferably Calvados; 8, 3-inch cinnamon sticks.
PREP: In small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in honey until dissolved. Stir in lemon juice and apple brandy. Put cinnamon stick in each of 8 mugs or heat-proof glass. Pour in liquid and serve.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Eggnog Serves 12
INGREDIENTS: 1 quart heavy cream; 10 ounces store-bought sticky toffee (available at Whole Foods and specialty-food shops); 6 eggs separated; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Cognac; 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum; 1/2 teaspoon salt.
• Pour cream over sticky toffee pudding into container with tight cover. Cover, refrigerate for 2 days.
• After 2 days, beat egg yolks with sugar in a large bowl. Stir in Cognac and rum.
• Remove infused cream from container and strain it through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids.
• In medium bowl, whip 3 cups of the infused cream until stiff. Fold into the egg yolk mixture.
• In large bowl (using clean beaters) beat the egg whites with salt to stiff peaks.
• Fold the beaten egg whites into the whipped cream/egg-yolk mixture.
• Refrigerate egg nog until chilled, about 2 hours.
Citrus-Cinnamon Punch Serves 8
INGREDIENTS, ORANGE REDUCTION: 2 1/4 cups fresh orange juice; strips of zest from 2 navel oranges; three 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces.
PREP: Boil juice, zest, and cinnamon sticks over moderately high heat until reduced to one cup (about 8 minutes).
INGREDIENTS, PUNCH: 3 cups fresh orange juice; 2 cups fresh grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoon grenadine syrup; 2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) cold grapefruit soda; orange slices and ground cinnamon, for garnish. Serve plain or spiked with Grand Marnier or Cognac.
PREP: In large glass pitcher, mix orange reduction with orange and grapefruit juices and the grenadine. Stir well. Refrigerate about 1 hours. Just before serving, pour in grapefruit soda. Dust orange slices with cinnamon, and serve with the punch.
Minty Moscow Mule Punch Serves 10
INGREDIENTS: 3 cups (24 ounces) vodka; 3/4 cup (6 ounces) fresh lime juice (4 to 6 limes); 3/4 cup ginger-mint simple syrup (see below for recipe); 4 cups (32 ounces) chilled ginger beer; fresh mint for garnish.
*GINGER-MINT SIMPLE SYRUP: Combine 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger, and 4 sprigs of fresh mint in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove pan from heat and cool. Strain out ginger and mint. Refrigerate syrup in covered container at least 2 hours. Makes 3/4 cup.
PREP: Combine vodka, lime juice, and ginger-mint simple syrup in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Add the ginger beer just before serving. To serve, ladle into punch or lowball glasses filled with crushed ice. Garnish with additional fresh mint.
Evergreen Swizzle Serves 12
INGREDIENTS: 18 ounces gin; 6 ounces Yellow Chartreuse; 6 ounces Zirbenz (pine liqueur); 6 ounces strained fresh lime juice; 18 ounces water.
PREP: Combine the ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. Pour into 12 small bottles and chill for at least 4 hours, until very cold. Serve with small sprigs of rosemary.