How to Make Holiday Drinks With or Without Booze



As the holiday season ramps up, chances are you’ll find yourself hosting a fete, dishing out appetizers and whipping up some fun, festive cocktails for your guests. But without fail, you’ll also need to provide libations for people who don’t or can’t drink booze, such as your pregnant best friend, a detoxing neighbor, underage revelers and teetotalers. But why subject them to boring soda when you can create a line up of beverages that taste amazing with or without liquor. For your next holiday party, try one of these five concoctions, and wow the whole crowd.

Smoky Limeade

Though one thinks of limeade and lemonade as summer drinks, bartender Camen Polcyn at Chicago’s Bar Toma, gives this tipple a wintery hint of rosemary and warming, smoky punch. You can spike the drink with tequila or mezcal, the latter adding even more smoky fun to the drink.

1.5 oz Tequila or mezcal (optional)
1 oz Smoked citrus juice*
.5 oz Simple syrup
Club soda or tonic water
Garnish: Rosemary sprig
Glass: Rocks

HOW TO: Add the tequila or mezcal (optional), citrus juice and simple syrup to a rocks glass with ice and stir. Top with the club soda or, for more sweetness, the tonic water, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
*Citrus juice: Cut 1 lemon and 1 lime in half, and dip the open sides in turbinado sugar to coat. Grill each half over high heat, with the cut edge toward the flame, until the sugar has charred on the citrus. Once cooled, juice the fruit.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte

No matter how much we fight it, as temperatures drop, imbibers turn to pumpkin spiced lattes. But instead of heading to the coffee shop for an overly sweet version, use the slow-cooker recipe by bartender Norma Beekman of Lexington, Ky.’s Lockbox at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, and make your own at home. Since the drink stays hot in the pot, serve it morning, noon and night.And for the boozy kick, you can spike it with a variety of spirits, such as dark rum, bourbon orFrangelico—the darker the better.

8 oz Dark rum, bourbon or Frangelico (optional)
5 cp Freshly brewed coffee
.25 cp Pumpkin puree
4 cp Milk
1 cp Heavy whipping cream
.75 cp Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
1 stick Cinnamon
Garnish: Grated cinnamon or nutmeg
Glass: Irish Coffee

HOW TO: Serves 10–12.  Add the liquor (rum, bourbon or Frangelico, optional), coffee, pumpkin puree, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon stick and .5 cup of heavy whipping cream into a slow cooker, and heat on high for at least 90 minutes. Whip the remaining .5 cup of cream until thick. Serve the slow-cooker mixture in a mug, top with some of the whipped cream, and garnish with grated cinnamon or nutmeg.

Christmas Punch

At the award-winning restaurant Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, lead bartender Dave Taha has created the ultimate holiday tipple that tastes good with or without booze. “This one reminds me of Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s,” says Taha. “The fresh ginger gives it a bit of zing, and the tart cherry adds depth and balance, while the allspice and nutmeg lend their holiday spirit.” Whether you decide to drink it clean or spiked, it’s surely going to get you in the festive spirit.

1.5 oz Light rum (optional)
.5 oz Cranberry juice
.5 oz Simple syrup (2:1)
.25 oz Tart cherry juice
dash Allspice
dash Grated fresh ginger
dash Freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz Ginger ale
Garnish: Ground ginger
Glass: Rocks

HOW TO: Combine all of the ingredients except for the ginger ale and nutmeg in shaker with ice and shake. Strain into rocks glass over ice, and top with the ginger ale. Gently stir, and garnish with ground ginger.

Smoke Honey Toddy

There are two ways to make this warming winter drink: One involves smoking your own honey, and the other involves a cheat and buying already smoked honey (a good option is Bee Local white oak smoked honey). Jon Feuersanger, the beverage director at beast + bottle and Coperta in Denver, created this hot tipple, and it’s perfect for drinking as the snow falls during your next civilized holiday get-together.

1 oz Famous Grouse Smoky Black blended scotch (optional)
1 oz Smoked honey*
1.25 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 oz Hot water
Garnish: Rosemary sprig, Lemon wheel, Grated nutmeg
Glass: Tea cup with saucer

HOW TO: Add the scotch (optional), lemon juice, smoked honey and hot water to a tea cup, and stir. Garnish with a rosemary sprig, lemon wheel and grated nutmeg. *Smoked honey: Heat 1 cup of water to a boil, and slowly stir in 2 cups of honey. Heat 1 hardwood charcoal briquette to white-hot temperature over a flame, and submerge it into the honey water. Allow to cool. Remove the briquette, and run the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Makes 4–6 servings.

Muddle Pine

Nothing says winter holidays like a pine-themed drink. This one by bartender Carmen Polcyn at Chicago’s Bar Toma also utilizes cranberries and lemon, making it even more festive. Sip the nonalcoholic version all day, or make the cocktail at night for a cool, yet warming, seasonal tipple.

dash Angostura bitters
1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz Pine syrup*
15 Fresh cranberries
1 oz Gin or vodka (optional)
.5 oz Lemon-lime soda
Garnish: 3 cranberries, Pine sprig
Glass: Rocks

HOW TO: Add the bitters, lemon juice, pine syrup and cranberries to a shaker, and muddle the cranberries. Add the gin or vodka (optional) and ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over ice, and top with the lemon-lime soda. Garnish with 3 cranberries and a sprig of pine. *Pine syrup: Bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil until dissolved. Reduce heat to low, and add a handful of chopped pine needles. Stir and remove from heat, and let sit for 2 hours. Strain and refrigerate. Keeps up to 3 weeks.

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December 7, 2016 |

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