When most of us think of cocktails we inwardly smile. Whether we are looking forward to releasing the stress of the day or spending time with family and friends, there’s something about a cocktail that feels like a treat.
Around the holidays, this sense of family, friendship and releasing the stress of every-day routines can be enriched with holiday cocktails. They can be pretty and artistic, whimsical and light-hearted, fun and fanciful. They can also be warm, full of spices, thick, dessert-like, and different from the cocktails you have all year long. Holiday cocktails are as American as apple pie and can add a festive note to any holiday gathering.
The great thing about cocktails is that they can be light and decorative, dark and mysterious, sweet and comforting, or even healthy! There are cocktails without alcohol, such as the ones I’d like this year, and the ones the kids will be sure to love.
We experiment with berry seltzers and syrup and create raspberry, strawberry and blueberry soda, vanilla-eggnog milkshakes, peppermint caramel mochas, Shirley Temples and so much more. We like to call these “mocktails,” and get as creative as we can, adding the spices of the holiday season, alcohol-free eggnog, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, nutmeg and more.
For those with a taste for alcohol, taking the tasty beverages of autumn and winter and adding a blend of your favorite liqueur can warm the pit of your stomach and the cockles of your heart. Hot chocolate, white hot chocolate and other comforting, warm drinks can be made into cocktails with complementary alcoholic additions such as brandy, cognac, rum and even peppermint Schnapps.
Pairing wine with your meal will add a festive and elegant ambience to your gathering. In fact, excellent, well-paired wine can even enhance the flavor of the food you’re cooking, bringing out certain textures, flavors and subtlety of the food that makes it that much richer.
Mixing drinks together can be as much fun and as tasty and colorful as making dessert.