Don’t you need a signature winter drink? We think you do. Whether yours is a pomegranate-spiked crimson cosmo or a sparkling French Calvados number, pick the cocktail that says “you” for the season. Even if you love the holidays, there’s a good bit of stress to go around. We wouldn’t mind taking the edge off with any of these beauties.
1. Cranberry-Tequila Punch
The potable equivalent of mistletoe? Maybe! This cranberry-tequila punch crowd-pleaser is as tasty as it is good-looking, and features a bevy of seasonal fruit. We also adore those rosemary sprigs threaded with fresh cranberries. ‘Tis the season, folks.
2. White Russian
Renown for its addictive ice cream-like flavor and as a beverage of choice in the cult film classic, The Big Lebowksi, White Russians deserve some credit all on their own. For one, the sweet combo of Kahlúa, vodka, and heavy cream can be balanced by Cointreau, as in this wise Joshua McFadden recipe. And can you think of a better drink to accompany holiday cookies?!
3. Smoky Pomegranate Cocktail
Smoke from the grill infuses the pomegranate seed-studded ice cubes (really!) in this genius smoky pomegranate cocktail from the wise folks at Traeger. There’s also lemonade, vodka and pomegranate juice in there. The scarlet hue sure looks good on a Christmas table, for those who celebrate.
Everything doesn’t have to be all “pomegranate this” and “cranberry that” this time of year. Consider the abundance of winter citrus. David Lebowitz’s marvelous Voilà! cocktail employs seasonal tangerines plus a mala element: Sichuan peppercorns. They enhance the tangerine syrup that is part of the drink (and which you can use again and again, as you will).
5. Cinnamon Daiquiri
Who would have thought traditional daiquiri ingredients rum, lime and sugar would mingle so well with a cider-house staple in this cinnamon daiquiri? Miami bartender David Perez, is who. Orange bitters and a dehydrated orange slice are the ideal balancing final touches.
6. Pomegranate Cosmopolitans
So elegant. Ina Garten dreamt up these pomegranate cosmopolitans, which she makes by the pitcher in advance of a party, stashing them in the fridge. Unless you’re invited to Ina’s house this season, make your own! They’re as straightforward and delicious as you’d expect from the Barefoot Contessa.
7. French 75
Invented in Paris during World War I, the French 75 retains its vintage charms… and its kick. That’s thanks to the gin innocuously tucked into the flute along with lemon, sugar and Champagne. It doesn’t get easier than this drink if you want to serve a round of celebratory drinks to a crowd all at once (unless you’re serving straight bubbly!)
8. Pomme Royale
Gorgeous. The Pomme Royale David Lebowitz included in his recent book has French origins and a New York twist. Gotham bartender Julia Grossman is the mind behind it. Calvados, Cointreau, lemon juice and sugar get a frisson of bubbly. Somewhere between silky French cider and a French 75, with a decided elegance (it’s served in a coupe), it’s a glorious drink.
9. Impropah Scoffa
It’s the holidays. Can we be honest with one another? Sometimes, at the end of a long day singing carols, spinning dreidels, or talking politics, we need a proper, strong drink. Thanks, Massachusetts, for the Impropah Scaffa, a wicked awesome concoction, indeed. Sam Treadway of Somerville’s Backbar tweaked the classic 1800s drink the Scoffa with a bit of water. Cognac, Cardamaro, pear and maraschino liqueurs and a dash of Angostura bitters do the heavy lifting. It’s a drink for those who need a drink.