Cool Yule

Warm up with these festive cocktails

Lou Lou Childs photo

Whether it’s a glass of eggnog, a hot buttered rum, or a mug of spicy mulled wine, the winter season is loaded with tasty cocktails. What makes them ideal for the home bartender is their reliance on easily sourced pantry ingredients: spices (cinnamon, clove and nutmeg), fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage), and fruits (mandarins, cranberries and pomegranates). Here are my family recipes for iconic winter cocktails—and a twist or two designed to take your holiday gathering to the next level.

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Hot Buttered Rum

Justin Taylor’s hot Buttered Rum. Lou Lou Childs photo

Making the compound butter in advance will improve the finished drink. You could also package it for a seasonal gift.

INGREDIENTS:
2 tsp compound butter*
6 oz. boiling water
1-2 oz. dark rum to taste
cinnamon stick

METHOD:
Combine compound butter and boiling water in your serving mug and stir to dissolve. Add rum and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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Cranberry Collins

Justin Taylor’s Cranberry Collins. Lou Lou Childs photo

A perfect welcome cocktail to any holiday party and one that can also be served alcohol-free.

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz. gin
1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz. pure cranberry juice
1 oz. rosemary and sage syrup*
3 oz. soda water
rosemary sprigs

METHOD:
To a tall glass, add gin, juices and syrup. Add ice and top with soda. Garnish with rosemary.

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Home Made Eggnog

Justin Taylor’s Home Made Eggnog. Lou Lou Childs photo

Best made a few days in advance to allow the flavours to develop.

INGREDIENTS:
6 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground allspice
12 oz bourbon or rum
3 cups whole milk
1.5 cups heavy cream
2 whole nutmegs (for garnish)

METHOD:
Measure all your ingredients. Add the eggs to a blender running on lowest setting. After 20 seconds slowly pour in sugar and allspice. Increase speed to medium and slowly add bourbon, followed by milk and cream, and blend for one minute. Refrigerate immediately in an airtight container. Stir before serving. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. Makes 8-10 servings.

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Mulled Wine

Justin Taylor’s Mulled Wine. Lou Lou Childs photo

Turn the heat on under this cocktail an hour before your guests arrive and your home will be filled with wonderful holiday aromas.

INGREDIENTS:
750ml bottle red wine
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, pulp removed
0.5 cup granulated sugar
0.5 cup brandy or Cognac
2 tsp whole cloves
3 unpeeled mandarins, washed and cut into quarters
2 apples cored and quartered
1 cup frozen cranberries
4 cinnamon sticks
3 sprigs of rosemary

METHOD:
Add wine, orange juice and sugar into a large pot over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Stud mandarins with cloves and add, along with remaining ingredients, to pot. Cook gently for two hours (take care not to boil off the alcohol). Remove from heat and allow to cool, then strain through a sieve, pressing down to extract the juices from the cranberries and mandarins. Store up to one week in fridge. To serve, heat in a crockpot on low, or in a pan over low heat. Do not boil. Garnish with mandarin segments, apple slices, cinnamon sticks and cranberries. Makes 12, five oz. servings.

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