Is it just me or do cocktails just sound better around the holidays? OK they sound fantastic all year round, but there’s something extra fun coming up with concoctions with all the festive ingredients this time of year has to offer. I love a flavorful, fragrant mix of spices with apple or oranges any day of the week but this time I wanted to try pear for something a little different. The base of this cocktail is so simple – it’s really just pear juice and vodka (how fun is this Absolut Warhol bottle?) but adding cinnamon, nutmeg, a little lemon, and ginger really brings it to a whole new level without requiring anything fancy other than a great holiday dress. This would be perfect thing to sip on tomorrow while the turkey cooks, but it will also be a great go-to for the rest of the season.
2 oz vodka
2 oz pear juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
cinnamon and sugar for rim
pear slice for garnish
Rim a glass with lemon juice and dip into the cinnamon sugar mix. In a shaker, combine vodka, pear juice, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ice. Mix it up and serve!
Being the Moscow Mule lover I am, I’m always trying to think of other ways to spin that cocktail. The ginger beer is the key ingredient, and while it goes so well with vodka and lime, I’m craving something a little smokier for fall. This fancied up version of the Dark & Stormy is my new jam. It’s made with dark spiced rum (not a bad staple liquor to keep around for this season), fresh lemon juice instead of lime, some grated ginger for extra zing, thyme for some added complexity, and crystalized ginger for a garnish treat. Dark & Stormies are typically served in Tom Collins glasses, but I’m a fan of a shorter, stronger, more sip-able version. It’s so easy to make yet special enough to serve as a signature cocktail on Thanksgiving or at a fall soiree.
2 oz dark spiced rum like Kraken
3 oz ginger beer (I love Maine Root’s version because it’s the spiciest I have found, and not too sweet)
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
Small sprig of fresh thyme to mix in
A dash of grated ginger
Crystalized ginger and fresh thyme for garnish
Chill a lowball glass with a few ice cubes. Combine the rum, lemon juice, thyme and ginger in a shaker with ice and mix. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into your glass. Top the drink off with ginger beer. Garnish with candied ginger on a toothpick and a sprig of thyme.
Even though I’m never all that into Halloween themed stuff, I do love the idea of Halloween and I enjoy finding subtle ways to get into the spirit. It’s been a few years since I’ve gone as far as wearing a costume, but nowadays I’m more than happy to have a fun night at home watching scary movies or catching up on American Horror Story, and sipping a sinister cocktail. This one really fits the bill. In the 19th century, cocktails like this were “prescribed” as hangover cures. I don’t know in what world people are drinking gin and absinthe out of a stemmed glass in the AM, but hey no judgements. In this century though, I’m going to go ahead and say that it might be a little better for nighttime. Despite the intense alcohol content, it’s actually a very easy cocktail to drink. So be careful with this one.
3/4 oz dry gin
3/4 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (or a sweet white wine like Riesling)
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
8 drops Absinthe (I highly recommend St. George – I sought it out after seeing this video)
Brandied cherry for garnish
Chill a stemmed glass with a few ice cubes. Combine the ingredients in a shaker and mix. Discard the ice from the glass and strain the drink into the glass. Add the cherry.
Autumn in Los Angeles is like a conflict of interests. When seemingly the rest of the world is crunching leaves, layering scarves and fully claimed by pumpkin-obsession, we have some of the hottest days of the year. This recipe for Autumn Bourbon Sangria is a perfect way to transition your cocktail habit into the spirit of the season. I love sangria so it’s fun to play with different fruits that are fresh this time of year! For Fall I’m feeling crisp apples paired with juicy plums and pears. This blend includes bourbon and a cinnamon stick garnish for a heartier take on the classic sangria. Yum, it feels like Fall already!
1 bottle malbec wine (or another full bodied red)
1/2 cup bourbon whisky
1/2 cup pure apple juice
1/2 apple, sliced
1/2 orange, sliced
1 plum, sliced (look for a juicy ripe one)
1/2 pear, sliced (look for a juicy ripe one)
1 cinnamon stick (more for optional garnish)
Cut all your fruit in equal sizes slices and drop into the bottom of a pitcher or glass jug. Add a cinnamon stick. Pour the whole bottle of wine, bourbon and apple juice over the fruit and gently stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 2 days. It’s best if it soaks overnight before drinking, but if you’re in more of a hurry you might want to add a bit more apple juice to take the edge off. Serve cold or room temperature, garnished with a few slices of the fruit and a cinnamon stick.
There are some people who you don’t want to meet in the morning before they’ve had their cup of coffee. They go from red eyed monsters into functioning human beings. I’ve never been one of those people, but I crave the ritual of having a cup of coffee in the morning. As someone who loves to stay organized and keep to do lists (or Teux Deux lists in my case – you gotta try it if you haven’t already), the best part of waking up is sitting down with my coffee and getting my ducks in a row for what’s to come. We’ve seen all those Folgers commercials, but in our home the smell of coffee doesn’t gently wake us from our serene slumber…it’s usually our dogs pawing at our faces. Once upon a time the first order of the day was walking straight to Starbucks for my coffee which was both expensive and a hassle. The day I stopped relying on coffee runs for my morning fix in favor of our first Nespresso machine was the start of something new and great. Not only am I not spending $4 on a latte every day, Nespresso also never misspells my name. No matter how many times I have thrown boiling hot coffee at the baristas while screaming “It’s Catherine with a C” they never seemed to get it right. Rude. ;) But now I’m into a double Ristretto, Indriya, or Dulsao blend latte with steamed almond milk, a little maple syrup or honey, and cinnamon on top. SO good. Even better, recently Nespresso was kind enough to send me their new VertuoLine machine to try out which also makes coffee. Huge! I love having the option to change it up according to my mood and offer our overnight guests whatever their morning happy drink is , even if they’re a red eyed monster craving their regular full cup of coffee to return to normal and start their day….
Another game changer for the morning routine: our patio, which up until this week was strictly used as storage. We had this great private outdoor space attached to our apartment and it was filled with dirty bikes, stray tools, empty Amazon boxes and a six pack of Red Bull cans. We don’t even drink Red Bull! It was a disaster. We finally got rid of a lot of extra junk, put some fig trees, lanterns, potted plants, and garden lights out there, and now it’s my new favorite place to do work in the morning. Amazing what a difference a little refresher can make on your daily life!
I’m not normally a fan of drinks that include sweet soda (with the very specific exception of a Moscow Mule) but when I came across this one, I had to give it a try. I’ve heard that the paloma almost beats the margarita for the most popular drink in Mexico, which surprises me considering that up until I made this one I had never tried any version of it. It’s usually made with grapefruit soda which sounds right up my alley, but there’s something about the blood orange and thyme that just begged to be combined in this version. Why deny what’s meant to be? I love how easy this cocktail is to make yet it has the vibe of being complex and artisanal. It would be perfect made in a big batch for a soiree or for even just a casual taco night at home.
2 oz silver tequila
4 oz all natural blood orange soda (I used Whole Foods brand)
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
leaves of 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
thyme sprig for garnish
1 blood orange (slices for garnish)
Combine the salt and thyme on a small plate. Use as much or as little salt as you like – I like to mix in a little sugar too since I don’t like too much salt. Crush the mixture together with your fingers. Wet the rim of a glass with lime and cover with the thyme salt. Add in a few ice cubes, and then top with the tequila, lime juice, soda and stir. Garnish with a blood orange slice and thyme sprig.
Holidays are for indulging, merry making, and imbibing, right? I had the pleasure of doing those very things with a fab, talented group of ladies at a super fun soiree hosted by the lovely Devon for a holiday feature that’s up on Glitter Guide today, along with Kelly, Mara, Sydne, and Jana. Hop on over there to see all of our tips on how to throw your own “Glitzmas” party. My tip is all about the cocktail, of course! If you’re throwing a holiday soiree of your own, I suggest serving a signature punch. That way your guests can serve themselves with ease and you don’t have to be in charge of keeping their glasses full all night. Plus, a pretty punch bowl makes for pretty bar decor. For this one, I combined two of my favorite sippies – the greyhound and champagne. It’s so yummy, super easy, and PINK. Enjoy…
INGREDIENTS (12 servings)
2 bottles of champagne or prosecco
1/2 cup of vodka (grapefruit flavored, if you’re picky)
1/4 cup of Campari
1 cup grapefruit juice
Combine all ingredients in a beautiful punch bowl. Serve in coupe glasses, cheers, sip, and proceed to make fools out of yourselves!
One year when I was at home for the holidays in my early drinking age years, my mom revealed the tastiest winter cocktail and said she’d been making it for twenty years. I don’t know where she’d been hiding this recipe all my life, but wow. Once I tried it, there was no going back. Hot buttered rum combines all the best things about the holidays – warmth, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and buttery vanilla goodness. Ummm yes please! The best part is that once you make the mixture, you can keep it in the freezer for the whole season, and you’ll get a countless number of servings out of it. Serve it up at a party, and you’ll have everyone asking for the recipe. Trust me, you can’t lose with this one. Enjoy!
1 lb dark brown sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
1 pint softened vanilla ice cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
For the mixture: Let the butter and ice cream soften at room temperature. Once everything is soft, mix all the ingredients together to form a whipped consistency. Using a mixer makes this easy to achieve, but it’s not necessary. Put the mixture in the freezer, where it will be ready for your delicious boozy hot drink cravings all season long!
To serve: Add 1 tbsp batter into a mug with a jigger (1.5 oz) of rum and 4-6 oz boiling water (to taste). I like putting a cinnamon stick or some freshly ground nutmeg in each mug. Cozy up and enjoy!
There’s no better way to kick off the week than with a cocktail, don’t you think? Be forewarned: this one’s a boozy one, so it may not be for you if you like your drinks sweet and gentle. Lately I’ve gotten more into bourbon and have started to dabble in the Manhattan as a potential go-to. This version is a festive, holiday inspired one that will make your kitchen smell of November. Mind you, if you do this one right, it takes a bit of notice. Ideally the vermouth infuses for a couple of hours with those yummy spices, but I’ve also made it when only steeping for about 15 minutes and it was still a great cocktail – just a little bit more bourbony. Things to keep in mind, but that’s the fun thing about cocktails – you can always modify to your own cocktailing needs.
Spice Infused Vermouth (this mixture will get you about 4 cocktails):
1 cup sweet vermouth
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp allspice
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 dash sea salt
Cocktail (just one): 2 oz bourbon (Redemption already has a slightly spicy taste so it works perfectly for this cocktail, but any other brand would work too!) 1 oz infused vermouth Dash of angostura bitters Orange twist Sprinkle of fresh nutmeg
To infuse the vermouth: Heat vermouth until it’s just about to boil. Turn off heat and add cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice, cayenne, and sea salt. Cover and let steep for an hour or more, if you’ve got that kind of time. If this drink was more of a last minute decision, you can steep it for a few minutes and it’s still yummy. Pour through sifter into a glass container. Note: If you do steep it for less time, just add a bit more of it to the cocktail to make up for the youth of the infused vermouth and balance the intensity of bourbon.
For each cocktail: Pour bourbon, vermouth, bitters, and ice into a shaker and shake. Pour into martini glass. Add an orange twist and zest nutmeg over the top. Enjoy!
This drink and I have had a rough road. Not for the reasons you might expect, but because the first time I had it, I was unpleasantly surprised at how little I liked it. It was at a fancy shmancy place in Palm Springs, and that particular bar served it in a pint glass (there’s your first problem) with about a drop of tequila and way too much of the sweet stuff. It tasted like juice. Artisanal juice, but juice. I respect that some people like their cocktails to taste like dessert, but not me. I like to know if there is booze in what I’m drinking and I don’t like too much sugar in there. I was sad and disappointed. After all, this recipe had two ingredients that would normally make any drink a winner for me – ginger beer and hot sauce – but it was definitely a no go. I thought for sure we were over, until my girl Jaimi made her own version of the recipe for a party and this time it was much more my speed. Smokey, a little sweet, unmistakably non-virgin, and served in a much more civilized slow sipping glass, it was glorious. So needless to say, me and El Diablo are officially back on, and he’s moved into my bar cart for good. Here’s my go at the feisty little devil…
For 1 drink:
2 oz tequila
1/2 oz creme de cassis
1 lime (cut in half, and save a slice for garnish)
Ginger beer (I prefer Maine Root brand but couldn’t find it anywhere this time)
In a cocktail shaker combine tequila, creme de cassis, the juice from the two lime halves, and as many drops of Tapatio as your little heart can take. Shake it up, pour it into a sassy yet intelligent glass. Top with ginger beer, add the extra lime slice, and stir. Sip away!