You know what’s undeniably festive? Not getting stressed out over the holidays. Easier said than done, we know. But this is not the time for “smoked garnish” this and “14-ingredient” that. You’ve got stockings and poultry to stuff; meat to marinate; kids to wrangle. You forgot so-and-so’s gift and are making her an emergency chocolate cake in the hopes that she won’t realize you forgot it. (Hey, if it’s a good enough chocolate cake, she might not!)
In that jing-a-ling, ring-a-ding, when-will-2020-end spirit, here are four super-simple cocktails that employ ingredients you most likely already have. Talk about taking the edge off.
Dude. White Russians are the stuff of Big Lebowski lore, sure, but you know what else they are? A decadent delight. A good one can really tie the room together, and this classic recipe, from chef Joshua McFadden, hits all the right notes. Think: cream; Kahlúa; good vodka; Cointreau. Dust it with cocoa powder if you like; it’s good no matter how stressful the season has been.
Isn’t (s)he lovely? Jack Rose, we are here for you. This classic dates to the early twentieth century, and uses applejack, one of the marvelous tastes of the season. Definitely seek out a high-quality small-batch grenadine, which will make a huge difference, since this drink utilizes only grenadine, applejack and fresh lime juice. And look how she shimmers, ruby-hued, in the night! So festive.
“Instant hit.” “Huge hit.” “Immediate hit.” To read the five-star reviews of this pomegranate Champagne cocktail is to be smitten… or at least intrigued. It’s a fabulous way to use up the ho-hum, inexpensive sparkler you have rolling around the bottom of the fridge, because it calls for any sparkling wine. Add Grand Marnier, pomegranate juice and a few fresh pomegranate seeds, and no one will care that you burned the roast. (We kid! You, of course, never could.)
You know your loved ones best, and you know that if there’s a fan of “brown liquor” in the bunch, they won’t be happy with a bunch of (insert expletive here) “bubbly booze” or “millennial drinks.” For that fantastic curmudgeon (which, we admit, is often us), there must be rye, whiskey or Scotch. So consider your options, don’t break the bank, and offer something simple as can be, like an Old Fashioned, that wondrous combo of sugar, bitters and whiskey. Feeling daring? Hey, it’s your funeral! Swap in vanilla bitters for the classic Angostura, hand a glass to your favorite brown liquor person, and then run for the hills. (Peer back; they’re probably enjoying it.)