It’s holiday time, which more importantly means it’s time for holiday cocktails. Whether you’re looking to impress your friends with your bartending skills, or you’re looking to take the edge off of Aunt Martha asking for the hundredth time when you’re getting married, here are some cocktail recipes for the most wonderful time of the year. And even better? They all use local spirits and wine.
Raspberry French Coffee
You could have this first thing in the morning, or as a cozy warm drink at night. Acceptable served either in fancy Irish coffee glasses or out of your chipped college mug waaay in the back of the cupboard because it’s the only clean one left.
For a local touch, try an espresso blend from Zeke’s Coffee in East Liberty. Plus, you’ll have the rest of the coffee for the after-holiday lull.
For 1 Cup, Yule need:
• 2oz. Espresso(Double Shot)
• 1oz. Chambord
• 1/2oz. Kahlua (or other coffee liquor)
• 3/4oz. Milk
Pour Chambord and Kahlua into glass or mug, pour hot espresso on top and mix with milk (3/4oz or to taste). Top with whipped cream, because it’s the holidays and you deserve it. Make each glass singularly.
Hot Buttered Rum
The holidays are a non-stop trainwreck for anyone’s diet, and the classic Hot Buttered Rum is definitely no exception. Don’t think about the calories, just enjoy the buttery goodness.
Think Pittsburgh couldn’t possibly have a local rum distillery? Think again. Try Maggie’s Farm Rum from the Strip District in your buttery, wintery treat.
For 4 Cups, Yule Need:
• 3/4 Cup Maggie’s Farm Rum
• 1/2 Stick Softened Butter
• 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
• 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
• 1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
• 1/4 Tsp. Allspice
• 1/8 Tsp. Salt
• 2 Cups Boiling Water
Mix Sugar, Butter, Salt and Spices in a bowl until smooth. Pour in Hot Water & Rum and stir with a spoon until mixed.
If you want a no-hassle kind of party drink, mulled wine can go a long way. Make it in bulk on the stove ahead of time and you’ll have plenty of happy guests (or one very happy you). You could buy some pre-made from the store, but making it is more fun (and comes with gloating rights).
If you’re doing some holiday shopping in the Strip District, pick up some Merlot from Pittsburgh Winery for this wintery warm-up.
For 1 Batch, Yule need:
• 1 Bottle Red Wine (preferably Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)
• 1/4 Cup Brandy
• 1/2 Cup Sugar
• 6 Whole Cloves
• 3 Cinnamon Sticks
• 2 Cardamom Pods
• 3 Whole Allspice
• 2 Pieces Star Anise
• 1 Orange, Sliced into Circles
Slice Orange, bruise Cardamom pods with the side of a knife and place Orange, Sugar, and all Spices in with the whole bottle of Wine and 1/4 cup Brandy in a pot. Stir on medium heat 1 to 2 minutes to let sugar dissolve. Simmer (don’t boil) on the stove for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain before serving, or take your chances fishing between cloves with a ladle (that part’s up to you). You can add or subtract any number of mulling spices to suit your taste.
Toddies double as a great soother for cold-weather sore throats and colds, so in the event of awkward relative interaction, whip up one of these and start coughing loudly.
You can use whiskey or bourbon for this steamy recipe, and you’re in luck because Wigle Whiskey carries both in abundance in the Strip District.
For 1 Hot, Hot Toddy, Yule Need:
• 1.5oz. of Wigle Bourbon
• 1/4 Cup Boiling Water
• 1 Tbsp. Honey
• 2 Whole Cloves
• 2 Tsp. Lemon Juice
• 1 Cinnamon Stick
• 1 Slice Lemon
Combine all ingredients in a glass with a handle or mug, then pour in boiling water. Mix to blend the spices and melt the honey, and then spend too much time trying to get the cloves out of it with a little spoon (or accept your fate and drink around them).
So, you bought some of those little copper mugs from Target because they looked really cool and you haven’t used them all year. Now’s the time to break them in.
This is a two-for-one in the local business category. Red Ribbon Soda made in Natrona Heights makes a great spicy Ginger Beer for this cocktail, and Glenshaw’s own Boyd & Blair’s Potato Vodka (100% Gluten Free) is a perfect vodka to enjoy for the holidays.
For 1 Cocktail, Yule Need:
• 2oz. Boyd & Blair Vodka
• 3 oz. Red Ribbon Ginger Beer
• 1 Squeezed Lime
• 1 Sprig of Mint (optional)
Combine the lime, vodka, and ginger beer in a copper mug, top with ice, and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately, and tell your friends they need to pay a deposit for the copper mug. Watch them laugh, then tell them you’re serious.