Well its the time of year when entertaining a crowd, or treating you and your sweetie to something festive to sip on seems to be the destination at the end of most days. Even if you live in Texas, like me, where there’s no snow to make the season feel wintery, just hunkering down, relaxing and taking in the feeling that is surely in the air no matter where you live is real, and maybe made a little more chill with a good drink. So that being said, here are my FAVES to share over the holidays!
- MOSCOW MULE – I have to admit, I’m late to the party with this drink. I got my first copper mugs last Christmas in my stocking so naturally I was excited to mix the drink that was meant for these gorgeous cups. Here is the recipe that I follow:
- Fill your copper mug with ice, not quite to the top.
- Add 1 ounce of Vodka (we love Belvedere),
- Add 1 ounce of lime juice (fresh squeezed is best, of course),
- tear up some mint leaves to the flavor is easily infused into the drink; but not so small that you have tiny bits when you sip, it IS just for flavor (that said, my husband doesn’t like “salad” in his drinks so he takes it all out once it’s been mixed).
- A wedge of lime squeezed in and added to the ice.
- Then top with Ginger Beer. NOW…this is where my recipe differs from most. While I was out shopping for Ginger Beer, I went to my local HEB grocery store and the gentleman in charge of beer and wine showed me the Crabby’s Ginger Beer so I got it and use that in my Moscow Mules….BUT, it’s alcoholic! Because I was a newbie at this drink, I didn’t even realize there was a non-alcoholic version that is what is widely used for this cocktail. Well, not in the Meyer house! We have always stuck with the original mix we made, which means it’s tasty as all get out; but man, they sneak up on you! HAHA! Two of those and you are spreading all kinds of Christmas Cheer…..but then again, if you use the non-alcoholic ginger beer, you can add another ounce of vodka and probably get the same results! Either way, garnish with a sprig of mint on the side and enjoy this holiday favorite. We love it so much, we planted a mint bush in the courtyard so we can enjoy this drink all year round (fyi, it’s pretty good on a hot summer evening by the pool….just sayin’!)
- BLUEBERRY TEA – Going from a cocktail on ice to literally my favorite HOT spiked bevvie. And this one is not just for the Holidays….Kent and I have loved this drink for most of our 20 years together and it’s our go to after-dinner drink when we are out celebrating a special occasion. I don’t know what it is; but it’s seems to settle the tummy after a big dinner; but be really comforting and soothing, ending the night on a great note. Same goes for you and your guests when you serve a gorgeous meal to them….they will really enjoy keeping the dinner conversation going while sipping this drink. Here is the recipe we follow:
- Steep some Earl Grey Tea for about 9 minutes to get the full flavor.
- While waiting, get the mugs ready with 1 ounce of Grand Marnier,
- 1 ounce of Amaretto,
- one slice of an orange and
- one cinnamon stick. (NOTE – DO NOT USE GROUND CINNAMON. It’s not at all the same for this drink).
- Pour the hot, steeped tea over the liquor to the top and mix with the cinnamon stick! The flavors will fuse together and you will be sitting back wondering why it’s called blueberry tea with everything but blueberries in it, but loving every sip.
- WHITE RUSSIAN – I’m sure this is not an unknown drink…I got introduced to it by my gorgeous friend Carina our first Christmas in Texas and we make a habit of having it every year since. (Preferably together…so Bradbury’s let’s plan that shall we?!) We love to sip on this one before dinner while enjoying appies or as a late evening bevvie. It’s a bit too heavy to have with a meal in my opinion. Here’s what you will need for a short version of this drink:
- Fill your stemware of choice with ice,
- add 1/2 ounce of Vodka (again, we love Belvedere),
- add 1/2 ounce of Kahlua,
- then fill to the top with your preference of milk or if you want to go all the way with it, most use 1/2 and 1/2! Back home in Canada, we had a similar drink to this that also topped it off with Coke and we called it a Paralyzer. The tricky part with that drink is when the soda hits the milk, not getting it to curl….ugh, so gross. So I love the White Russian version, can’t mess THAT up! Enjoy.
- MARTHA STEWARTS EGGNOG – friends…..if you have never made this, you MUST! It takes forever because it’s totally from scratch, has a ton of ingredients and you will need to head to your local liquor store because when I say this is one boozy recipe, I am so not kidding. The first time I made this was back in about 2004 when we hosted our really close group of friends in our home for our annual Prime Rib Roast Dinner. We had a gorgeous night of food. Everyone brought something decadent to add to the meal and it was just a fantastic night of friends and celebrating the season. So after we finished dinner I brought this out….well, we literally all went from 0 to 60 in about 30 minutes!! It was hilarious, we were all feeling the run, bourbon and cognac that was in that punchbowl and we laugh about it to this day! It was DELICIOUS and I think everyone needs to give MARTHA’S CLASSIC EGGNOG a try at least once. (PHOTO courtesy of Martha’s Classic Eggnog – Big Oven – Google image search on Martha’s Classic Eggnog).
- MIMOSAS – what is any social gathering without the option of a mimosa; but Christmas morning, they are a must aren’t they!?! Here’s one that I love that has a little something extra to it….
- in your carafe or glassware that you are making the mimosas, add 6 Tablespoons of Grand Marnier,
- one bottle of chilled brut Champagne,
- and then about 1/2 a quart of Orange Juice (fresh squeezed if you can get it!) And there you have it! If you prefer to make it in the flute instead of a big batch, fill your flute 3/4 of the way with champagne, add a tablespoon of the Grand Marnier and then top with OJ. Garnish with a fresh Strawberry and you are good to go! Another take on a Champagne cocktail is rim the flute with colored sugar, put a couple of fresh cranberries at the bottom of the flute, fill with champagne and top with grenadine to add flavor and color. I just enjoyed a couple of these the other night at the annual cookie exchange my girlfriend hosts and they were yummy!
So there they are! What I love to sip on over the holidays….but then of course, there is this last one…..Baileys. I mean, that just goes without saying, right? I love it in my morning coffee, you can add it to hot chocolate and top with whipped cream and sprinkles! (for the kiddos, I make hot chocolate, add the Andes Peppermint/White Chocolate chunks, top with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles or crushed peppermint candies…..sooooo yum).
Wishing you the Merriest of Gatherings with friends and family. Whether it is you and one other, or you and a houseful, remember to lift your glass, give thanks, have gratitude for all your blessings, and know, that not just in this season; but every day of your life, you are Loved buy a Gracious and Patient God.