Friday, December 21

Infused: Top 10 Holidays Inspired Cocktails 2012

Winter wonderlands made of snowflakes gently floating downward, peppermint candy canes and pine trees fulfill memories of the Christmas season. Champagne, balloons and midnight kisses bring in the New Year with pleasure. This holiday season has many traditions and one of the most fun are the parties. Dancing until dawn, friends and family gatherings, and food and adult beverages create a festive party atmosphere.

I invited experts in the world of spirits, wine and beer, including sommeliers, mixologists, restaurants, pubs, distillers and manufacturers to send their Christmas and New Year's-inspired cocktails. The response was overwhelming once again, with recipes pouring in from across the United States.

I compiled the list and narrowed it down to the ones most in spirit with the holiday and consisting of uniqueness, great taste and visual appeal. I present to you the...

Top 10 Best Holidays Inspired Cocktails 2012

The White Christmas
(image above)
Who: My Moon
Where: Brooklyn, NY
Twitter: @MyMoonNYC
Inspiration: The inspiration came from Jared’s childhood, in which there was always eggnog around throughout the holidays (only then, non-alcoholic, of course).
Recipe: ¾ oz of pasteurized egg yolk, 1 oz heavy cream, ½ oz Frangelico, ¼ oz amaretto, ¾ oz Patron Café: Dry shake until foamy & homogenized. Add ice and shake well until cold and slightly diluted. Dust with grated or powder nutmeg and cinnamon

The Merry Mint
Who: Blush Ultraloung in Le Merigot Hotel at Casino Aztar (Steven Lagenourand Catherine Daters)
Where: Evansville, IN
Twitter: N/A
Inspiration: This creamy, minty Christmas drink captures the popular flavors of Christmas: eggnog, mint, chocolate, and coconut, all combined into one sweet dessert drink.
Recipe: 1 oz Baileys mint chocolate, 1/2 oz van Gogh coconut, 1/2 oz creme de menthe (green), 1 oz Pinnacle whipped, 1/2 oz egg nog, Whipped cream, Chocolate syrup, Snowflake coconut; Put Baileys in martini glass. Rim top of Baileys with chocolate syrup. In shaker combine van Gogh, creme de menthe, and egg nog. Slowly poor mixture on top of Baileys in martini glass. Add pinnacle to martini glass. Finish with whipped cream, drizzle of chocolate syrup, and top with sprinkle of snowflake coconut.

Haute Holiday
Who: Fleming's Steakhouse
Where: Indianapolis, IN
Inspiration: A perfect way to start off a holiday toast or the New Year.
Recipe: 1/2 oz. Quady Elysium Black Muscat Dessert Wine, 1/2 oz. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, 4 oz. Mionetto Prosecco, 1 Luxardo cherry; in a chilled Champagne flute glass, combine Quady Elysium and St-Germain Elderflower; top gently with Mionetto Prosecco; garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
Sparkling Peppermint Swirl
Who: Voga Italia Wine
Where: Italy
Inspiration: The holiday's favorite candy
Recipe: 2 ½ oz VOGA Sparkling, 1.5 oz Vanilla vodka, 1 oz crème de menthe liquor, splash of Grenadine; In a shaker, combine ice, vodka and crème de menthe and grenadine; stir gently and strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with crushed candy canes; top with VOGA Sparkling and garnish with a candy cane.

Santa's Hot Chocolate
Who: Dead Rabbit (Pamela Witznitzer)
Where: New York, NY

Inspiration: Anyone can have regular hot chocolate ~ the tequila and cayenne pepper give an unexpected kick for Santa on a long night out in the cold
Recipe: 1 part Tequila Avión Añejo, .75 parts Galliano Ristretto Coffee liqueur, 2 ½ parts hot cocoa, Cayenne pepper, Whipped cream; combine 1 part Tequila Avión Añejo, ½ part Galliano Ristretto Coffee liqueur, 2 ½ parts hot cocoa into a pot and heat; once heated, strain content into a coffee mug; put a few dashes of cayenne pepper and stir hot; top with whipped cream and a pinch of cayenne pepper for garnish.

Monkey Business
Who: House of Marnier-Lapostolle
Where: Chile
Twitter: @KappaPisco
Inspiration: KAPPA has put their own spin on a traditional Chilean Christmas cocktail called "Cola de Mono" (Monkey’s Tail). Cola de Mono is served in Chile around the holidays, similar to eggnog in the U.S.
Recipe: 1 cup KAPPA Pisco, 1 c. water, 1 gallon milk (cold), 1 c. white sugar, 1/4 c. instant coffee granules, 20 whole cloves, 5 cinnamon sticks, 1 TB. vanilla extract (optional); gently simmer the cloves and cinnamon sticks in water until reduced by half (about 30 minutes). Add 1 cup of milk and heat to a simmer. Then stir in and dissolve the coffee and sugar. Strain the coffee mixture into the remaining cold milk, and discard the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the KAPPA Pisco and vanilla extract. Store in refrigerator until well-chilled (4 hours). Serve (do not serve with ice) in a high glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

New Year's Resolution
Who: Cruzan (Jesse Card)
Where: St. Croix
Inspiration: Always have a non-alcoholic choice at your party.
Recipe: 1 part Cruzan® Black Cherry Rum, 1 dash Bitters, Sparkling Wine (non-alcoholic), Lemon Twist, Black Cherry; Pour rum into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Add a dash of bitters to finish. Garnish by dropping a lemon twist wrapped cherry into the flute.
Blanc Vermouth Fizz 

Who: Branded at The Iron Horse Hotel
Where: 500 W. Florida St., Milwaukee, WI
Twitter: @ironhorsehotel
Inspiration: The holidays are always celebrated with bubbles, this is reminiscent of the vintage liquor posters with old school, classic ingredients.
Recipe:  2 oz Dolin Vermouth Blanc, .5 oz St. Germaine, .5 oz Simple Syrup, 4 springs mint muddled, 2 raspberries muddled, topped with Prosecco, serve in a champagne saucer.

Peppermint Mochatini
Who: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (Jordan Ward)
Where: Indianapolis.
Inspiration: Thetraditional holiday flavors of mint and chocolate.
Recipe: 1 oz. Sobieski Vanilla Vodka, .05 oz Kahlua, .05 oz Creme de Cocoa Dark Espresso, .25 oz Peppermint Shcnapps, .25 oz Half and Half; Glassware-chilled martini glass drizzled inside with chocolate syrp; add all ingredients to a martini shaker, shake and strain into chilled martini glass.

Egg Nog 46
Who: Maker's Mark Cookbook (Lee Ann Wong, Bourbon Diva)
Where: New York, NY
Twitter: @leeannwong
Inspiration: Nothing says holidays like this rich homemade treat. This spiked version of a holiday classic, enhanced by the spicy caramel undertones of Maker’s 46, is the perfect drink when curled up by a fireplace. 
Recipe:  2 c. whole milk, ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, ¼ tsp salt, 4 egg yolks, ½ c. sugar, divided, 1 c. cold heavy cream, 4 parts Maker’s 46™ Bourbon, 4 egg whites (optional); combine the whole milk, scraped vanilla bean seeds and the bean pod in a small pot; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; then stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; turn the heat off and allow the milk to infuse for 20 minutes; reheat the milk to a simmer; have a large metal or glass bowl sitting in a large bowl of ice water and a fine mesh strainer ready. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 7 T. of sugar together briskly until the egg yolks become pale and fluffy. Add a ½ cup of the hot milk to the egg yolks while whisking quickly to temper the egg yolks. Once evenly combined, pour the mixture back into the pot and cook the mixture over low heat until it thickens, stirring the bottom of the pot constantly using a wooden spoon, being careful not to overcook/scramble the eggs. The eggnog is ready when the mixture coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a distinct line through it. Pour the eggnog through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl on ice. Whisk in the heavy cream and Maker’s 46 Bourbon. Stir the egg nog until it begins to cool down, then place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill overnight. You can serve as is (adjust texture with cold milk or cream), or whip the 4 egg whites with the remaining tablespoon of sugar to soft peaks, then fold into the chilled egg nog. Serve immediately into a mug.

Images furnished by entries
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at and and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on,, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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