The holidays are a very busy time of year, wrapping up year-end work, shopping, and planning time to be with friends and family. It can also be very expensive, which is why John and I plan date nights at home. We’ll go for a walk in the park, cook a meal together, then treat each other with cocktails crafted right in our kitchen.
We love to experiment with spirits, bitters, and garnishes. “But you have to try it first,” John will say as he parks himself in front of me with a glass in hand. I’m usually attempting to finish up some work on my computer, “I’m almost done, just one more minute.” He places the glass on my desk, without a coaster since he knows that will get my attention. I pause, take a sip, “Oh, that’s good!”
Giving the gift of spirits offers Christmas cheer, that you can even share. This season I have partnered with Beam Suntory to offer a few delicious suggestions, inspiring you to create your own craft cocktail nights, so you can sip, savour, and cherish time together:
Festive Holiday Cocktail Recipes
Spirit: Auchentoshan American Oak®
Cocktail:Auchentoshan & Ale
Recipe: 1oz Auchentoshan American Oak
1oz Lemon Juice
1oz Simple Syrup
3oz Citrus Pale Ale
Add all the ingredients to a highball glass, drop in a few ice cubes, and top with your favourite ale.
Spirit: Auchentoshan 12 YO®
Cocktail: Auchentoshan Manhattan
Recipe: 1.7 oz Auchentoshan 12 YO
0.7 oz Sweet Vermouth
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir (17 times if you want to be a pro), and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and sip whilst imagining you are at the top of the Empire State Building with the city’s twinkling winter lights below.
Spirit: Bowmore 12 Year Old®
Cocktail: Oyster Luge
Recipe: Add a dram of Bowmore 12 Year Old to your favourite oyster and sip together right from the shell
Spirit: Bowmore No. 1®
Cocktail: Islay Blossom
Recipe: 1.3 oz Bowmore No.1
1.3 oz Chamomile and Mint Tea
1oz Elderflower Liqueur and 2 Cardamom Seeds
Place cardamom seeds inside a shaker and muddle. Add the Bowmore No.1, Chamomile and Mint Tea, Elderflower Liqueur and ice. Shake and double strain into a glass over ice. Garnish with an edible flower.
Spirit: Basil Hayden’s®
Cocktail: Basil Smash
Recipe: 2 oz Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
1 oz fresh lemon juice (or muddle half a lemon, cut into wedges)
¾ oz raw-sugar simple syrup (2:1 sugar-to-water ratio)
3 basil leaves, plus 1 for garnish; cracked pepper.
Add fresh ice to a rocks glass. Press 3 basil leaves into the shaker and add all other ingredients. Shake vigorously with ice, strain over fresh ice. Garnish with fresh basil leaf and 1 dash cracked pepper.
Spirit: Courvoisier VSOP®
Cocktail: Brass Monkey
Recipe: 2 oz Courvoisier VSOP
½ oz Benedictine liqueur
½ oz orange juice
3 dashes orange bitters
Stir all ingredients together in a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Spirit: Marker’s Mark®
Cocktail: Loretto Sour
Recipe: 1 oz Makers Mark
0.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
0.75 oz orange juice
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz red wine (merlot preferred)
Shake all ingredients except red wine with ice. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Layer red wine on top. Flamed orange zest garnish.
Spirit: Courvoisier XO®:
No extra steps here, it’s recommended to enjoy this neat to take in all the amazing and complex depths of flavours.
Whether you like simple flavours or robust combinations, your tastebuds will be dancing like Sugarplum fairies. Savour the essence of these spirits.
Please enjoy responsibly.