5 Spirits to Drink this Holiday Season
Gin has come quite a long way since its Dutch origins in the late 17th century. While juniper is still king of the gin castle, a very long laundry list of other botanicals are also used. These include coriander seed, angelica root, citrus peel, and many more. With an intense palate of exotic flavors, gin can add a distinctly different layer to cocktails. Gin is like that extroverted guy whose voice you can hear at the other end of the room. Sure, he’s a bit loud. But he sure does look darn good doing it.
Featured Cocktail: Aviation’s “Chamomile Hot Toddy”
- 1 OZ Aviation American Gin
- 3/4 OZ Yellow Chartreuse
- 1/2 OZ Freshly pressed lime juice
- 1/2 OZ Honey syrup*
- 2 OZ Chamomile hot tea
*To make honey syrup, combine equal parts honey to heated water and stir until the honey is dissolved.
- In a mug, add spirits & mixers (through honey syrup)
- Top off with hot tea
- Garnish with a lemon wheel
It would pretty be difficult to find a cocktail that couldn’t work with vodka. Like a chameleon, it will can camouflage itself with other ingredients in any cocktail recipe. Whether they’re distilled from wheat, rye, barley, potato, grapes, or anything for that matter, the best vodkas in the world have one thing in common: they are distilled to their greatest potential and then smoothened out with the highest quality water. The result is a clean spirit that is soft textured and the perfect match for virtually any drink out there.
Featured Cocktail: Reyka’s “Icelandic Mule”
- 2 parts Reyka Vodka
- 3/4 part Ginger syrup
- 1/2 part Lime juice
- For Ginger Syrup:
Combine 4 parts freshly pressed ginger juice with 3 parts sugar.
Shake until sugar is dissolved
- Shake and strain into iced Collins glass
- Top off with soda water
- Garnish with a lime wedge
When it comes to this spirit, ‘rum’ does not simply mean rum. There is no universal type of rum, but instead four distinct styles produced in the world. White rum is considered the ‘Latin American’ style, richer dark rums are the staple for Guyana and Jamaica, Rhum Agricole comes from the French-owned islands like Martinique, and Brazil’s cachaça is a type of rum made from distilled sugar cane juice. Its unique character makes rum adaptable for a countless amount cocktail recipes. This spirit is no longer just for tiki drinks with tiny umbrellas.
Featured Cocktail: Cana Brava’s “General Harrison’s Nogg”
- 2 oz Cana Brava Rum
- 4 oz Apple Cider
- 2 spoons of Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 2 dashes of Dales Pimento Bitters
- Shake ingredients vigorously and strain into a goblet
- Garnish with ground nutmeg
From the French countryside of Normandy is the delicious apple brandy known as Calvados. Distilled from a mishmash of apple types like sweet, bittersweet, sour, and bitter sour, as many as 40 different apple varieties are used in each blend. With many of its production methods resembling that of Cognac, these barrel aged spirits can add a tangy spice kick to cocktails. Apples and spice, possibly the most perfect spirit for the holidays?
Featured Cocktail: Lecompte’s “Le Normandy”
- 1 oz. of Calvados Lecompte 5 Year Old
- 1 oz. of Normandy Pommeau
- Previously, place Calvados and Pommeau in refrigerator to provide the necessary freshness required of this cocktail
- In a flute, pour the Calvados and Pommeau
- Top off with Champagne
- Garnish with a small apple ball on a stick
From the land of kilts and lochs are the incredible wonders of Scotch whisky. Although the styles of production are based on region, the majority of Scotch is a blend of both malt and grain whisky. In any case, all Scotch is aged in oak barrels for at least three years. While notoriously a ‘neat’ freak, Scotch is quite the handsome spirit that adds a bit of muscle to cocktails with flavors of smoke, pepper, and sometimes peat.
Featured Cocktail: Auchentoshan’s “Three Wood Spanish Hot Chocolate”
- 4 ½ oz. Milk
- 1 ½ oz. Auchentoshan Three Wood
- 3 – 4 heaped teaspoons of a high quality Spanish chocolate powder
- 2 tablespoons of Scottish double cream
- Bring the milk to a boil
- Put chocolate powder into a glass teacup
- Poor hot milk into the powder
- Add Three Wood and stir briskly counterclockwise until thick
- Top off with freshly whipped cream