If you follow our monthly Remix column – which of course you do – you know that every month we take a classic cocktail and update it with a fresh new twist. For your December drinking convenience, we’ve gathered up our recipes for Xmas-appropriate classics to give, get and glug.
Frozen milk punch
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces Cruzan blackstrap rum
- 8 ounces Van Gogh espresso vodka
- 6 ounces simple syrup or 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters
Whisk together the milk and half-and-half in a large bowl, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients. Transfer to a large freezer-safe container and freeze for four to eight hours until slushy. Stir before serving.
- 1 box vanilla stovetop pudding mix (3.5 ounces)
- 2 cups eggnog*
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (or 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg)
- 1/2 cup bourbon
In a medium saucepan, slowly whisk the pudding mix and spices into the eggnog. While stirring constantly (not joking: constantly) with a heat-safe spoon, cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Take it off the heat, stir in the bourbon, and set aside to cool for 20 minutes or so, stirring every few minutes to prevent a skin from forming.
Spoon into popsicle molds and freeze overnight (or for at least six hours). The popsicles may be a bit soft; the strong aroma of bourbon should make up for the relatively low alcohol content by creating a placebo effect.
*Make it yourself (yeah, right) or buy it pre-made. If you’re buying, all-natural eggnog truly tastes and freezes better than cheaper store brands with HFCS and guar gum.
Inside-out Irish coffee
- fresh-brewed strong coffee
- 1 ounce Tuaca
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey (like Bushmills or Jameson)
8 drops Bittermens Xocolatl
- 1 ounce whole milk
Allow the coffee to come to room temperature, then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.
Once frozen, place two or three iced-coffee cubes in a cocktail shaker and add Tuaca, whiskey, bitters and milk. Shake medium-hard – you want to give the coffee a head start on diffusing into the other ingredients. Pour into a rocks glass and serve.
Note on ingredients: Tuaca is a brandy-based liqueur with vanilla and citrus notes, sweet enough (though not cloyingly so) that there’s no need to add sugar or simple syrup. Bittermens mole bitters are indispensable in this drink – and available at Total Wine; don’t skip that step. And organic milk tastes notably better than conventional. Treat yourself!
Variation: For those who like more of an alcoholic smack in the kisser, add 1 ounce of blackstrap rum to the shaker. It’s way more in your face, but still tastes great.
- 1 ounce pear brandy, like Fidelitas Williams (see note)
- 1 ounce St. Germain liqueur
- 1/2 teaspoon of ginger simple syrup
- very dry sparkling wine (brut)
First, the ginger syrup: combine a half-cup of water and a half-cup of sugar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil; drop in about 2 inches of peeled ginger cut into chunks and lower to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is dissolved (two minutes or so), then set aside to cool. Pour through a strainer into a jar and store it in the fridge so you don’t have to keep making it every time you want a cocktail.
Pour pear brandy, St. Germain and ginger syrup into a shaker half-filled with ice. Shake quickly to combine, then strain into a champagne glass (flute or coupe). Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon peel twist or a slice of Seckel pear.
Note: Be sure to use pear brandy, which will be shelved with the cognacs, brandies, Calvados and eaux-de-vie – not pear liqueur (like Marie Brizard), which a certain liquor store chain confusingly shelves under the sign “fruit brandies.” If you see sour apple schnapps or crème de banana, you’re in the wrong place.
- 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries, leaves and cores removed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- chilled prosecco, cava or champagne
Place berries, vinegar, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook at a low simmer until syrup thickens and reduces to a third of original volume, 20 minutes or so. Set aside to cool.
Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve, then pour a teaspoon of it into the bottom of a champagne glass. Fill with sparkling wine and gently stir. Garnish with a broken strip of lemon peel or a clean, bruised basil leaf.