We launch our new weekly cocktail column, The Alchemist, with the hottest drinks of the season
What’s the best way to get into the festive spirit? Why, with some festive spirits, of course.
All over Vancouver, the city’s best bartenders are shaking, stirring and mulling the best seasonal flavours into cocktails designed to warm body and soul. And truly, can you think of a better way to bring this cold, dreary year to a close?
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.
Best made a few days in advance to allow the flavours to develop.
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.
Turn the heat on under this cocktail an hour before your guests arrive and your home will be filled with wonderful holiday aromas.
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.
• 1 oz. Odd Society East Van Vodka
• 0.5 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
• 3 oz. Walter’s Caesar Mix
• 2 dashes Tapatio Hot Sauce
• Pinch ground pepper
• Pinch brown sugar
• 3 oz. Main Street Pilsner
In a 20 oz. pint glass, add ice and all other ingredients, and stir. Garnish with a stick of celery.
• 1.5 oz. Wayward Distilling Honey Rum • 0.5 oz. orgeat syrup • 0.5 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice • half a ripe banana • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters • 4 oz. Strangefellows Guardian White IPA
Put the banana into a cocktail shaker and muddle to a paste. Add everything except the beer, add ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain over fresh ice into a goblet. Top with Strangefellows Beer. Garnish with fresh banana slices.