Posted on December 13, 2013 | By The Bon-Vivant | Comments Off on Christmas Holiday Cocktails
Although mulled wine has become the drink of choice at festive gatherings, people have long celebrated Christmas with cocktails. Journalist Pierce Egan devised the Tom & Jerry cocktail in the US as a festive serve in the 1820s, long before the father of modern bartending, Jerry Thomas, claimed it as his. A mix of brandy or rum with spices served hot, it was based on the Egg Nog, which is even older.
However, though popular in the US, neither have become part of a Christmas tradition across the other side of the Atlantic. What precisely what makes a cocktail Christmassy is still up for debate.
There are, of course, a couple of ground rules. Christmas cocktails are not tropical – though a Punch can make an excellent Christmas party choice. The classic Christmas cocktails exclude fresh berries or hand-squeezed juices, since most fruits were unavailable come December. However, from holly berries to Santa Claus, from Christmas stockings to cranberry sauce, red is the color of Christmas. So take inspiration for a Bloody Mary brunch on Boxing Day or a Wibble on Christmas Eve, because few things say Christmas more than scarlet. Blends from a simple vodka and cranberry through to the classic Cosmopolitan cocktail make an ultra-festive choice.
Meanwhile, many classic cocktails are based on the seasonal spirits, Scotch and sloe gin, so perfect for cocktail hour. The Hot Toddy is an iconic winter warmer. The whiskey and ginger, enjoyed by Greta Garbo, and the Blood and Sand, created for a Valentino film, pair Scotch and spice in a similar vein. Alternatively, upgrade the classic Rum Punch with Captain Morgan Spiced Gold, or channel Don Draper with a Rob Roy, Manhattan or Scotch Sour.
Nothing says celebration like a champagne cocktail, and many of the great champagne cocktails segue seamlessly from Christmas to New Year. The French 75 is a classic blend of lemon, sugar, champagne and gin; the French 21 updates this recipe for the 21st century courtesy of raspberry liqueur and Cîroc vodka.
Classic alternatives to rich, creamy confections like the Tom & Jerry and the Bailey’s Egg Nog are the White Russian, a blend of vodka, coffee and cream, or indulgent, warming hot drinks, like the Baileys Latte or a Baileys Original Irish Cream Hot Chocolate, for a real Christmas treat.