7 festive cocktails for the holidays

Hosting a party this holiday season? Served with a few tasty snacks, these holiday cocktails are perfect for the cold winter months.

Spirited Splash: What says festive better than a chilled glass of bubbly? We added a splash of colour for a delicious cocktail that is sure to make any gathering sparkle. Raise a glass to laughter, love, and celebration.

To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add ½ oz Cognac and ½ oz Chambord. (See tip, below.) Shake and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and sparkling wine and garnish with a frozen cranberry and a mint sprig. Tip: Chambord is a French raspberry liqueur. If there is none on hand, try cherry brandy or a dash of raspberry juice.

 

Jack Frost: While this crisp cocktail doesn’t nip at your nose the way Jack Frost does, the cool flavour of peppermint schnapps pairs perfectly with the richness of Irish Cream to create an icy-smooth drink.

To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 1 oz Irish Cream liqueur and ½ oz peppermint schnapps. Shake until frothy and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a peppermint stick.

 

Rusty Nail: This classic carries a name that is suits the spirit of cottages past, and belies the subtlety of its smooth, warming taste. Made with Scotch and Drambuie (a liqueur created with heather and honey), the Rusty Nail is neither metallic nor sharp. Discover why it has endured since its invention in Scotland 50 years ago.

Fill a tumbler with ice. Add 1 oz Scotch, 1 oz of Drambuie. Stir to mix. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

 

Skating Party: This cocktail is dedicated to the joy of pick-up hockey on a frozen lake, shoot-the-duck, and soft snowbanks—and mostly to that joyous moment afterwards when you pull the skates off your cold feet and settle into a richly hued, refreshing, and well-deserved cocktail.

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add 1 oz Amber rum, ½ oz cinnamon schnapps, 2 oz cranberry juice, and 3 oz apple cider. Garnish with cinnamon-dusted apple wedge.

 

Cottage Life Punch: We mixed many versions of hot punches and toddies in search of one worthy of the Cottage Life name. Our samplers wanted a drink that hearkened back to a simpler, more relaxed time; one that would keep the cold at bay and carry the familiar scent of festive celebration. The combination of cloves, cinnamon and allspice will fill the room with a beautiful, natural aroma.

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup (250 ml) water and 2 tbsp (30 ml) sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the peel of ½ orange and ½ lemon, 1 cinnamon stick, 2-4 whole cloves, ¼ tsp (1 ml) ground allspice, and ½ cup (125 ml) apple juice. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups (375 ml) red wine and 1.2 cup (125 ml) brandy. Heat thoroughly. Strain mixture into 6 heatproof mugs (discard the cinnamon, cloves, and peel) and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

 

Snow Squall Latte: This winter latte is for nights when the snow comes down thick as a blanket and everybody elbows for a spot close to the fire. It’s made with vanilla vodka, but you can substitute regular vodka and ½ tsp vanilla extract if you like. Let if snow, let it snow, let it snow!

To a heatproof mug, add ¾ oz vanilla vodka, ¾ oz Kahlua, and 3 oz hot coffee or 2 oz expresso. Pour in 2 oz of steamed milk and garnish with a sprinkling of cocoa. Tip: If you don’t have a fancy espresso machine, you can steam the milk in a saucepan over medium heat, using a whisk to create a froth.

 

Toe-Warmer Mocktail: While the kids are enjoying their hot chocolate, this grown-up version is perfect for a late-afternoon warm-up or an after-dinner treat. We’ve cut the sweetness of the chocolate with a splash of coffee to suit adult tastes, but the mini-mallows will make you feel like a kid again.

To a heatproof mug, add 3 oz hot chocolate, 2 oz hot coffee, and ¼ tsp almond extract. Add 6 mini-marshmallows and sprinkle with toasted almonds.