Cocktails for Christmas
Due to the popularity of the Thanksgiving cocktails post, I’m back with some family-favorite Christmas cocktails. We love a Christmas cocktail over here, and these are all tried-and-true-and-tried-again suggestions. I also posted our favorite Christmas punch in my previous post, so hop over there for more Christmas alcohol content.
This is my mom’s gold standard holiday drink recipe. It appears here for the first time online and has its origins in her ladies’ group cookie exchange circa 1997. These slushies are delicious and go down dangerously smooth.
1 c. apricot brandy
6 oz. orange juice concentrate
6 oz. lemonade concentrate
30 oz. water
1/2 c. sugar
Mix well. Freeze covered (we use a rectangular container for easy scooping) for several hours. Scoop approximately 1/2 c. of slushy mixture into a large wine glass. Top with ginger ale.
A high-test addition to the lineup and a weird/funny story. When my brother and I were in undergrad, our parents started buying a real tree after we’d grown up with artificial ones. They had talked about buying a living tree to plant in our woods later, but none were large enough to use for decoration. This led to a cut tree being described as a ‘Zombie Tree,’ neither living nor dead. The theme stuck for quite a number of years as we changed the lyrics to carols (‘Check the Malls,’ ‘O Zombie Tree’), iced tree-shaped cookies with little red fangs, watched Night of the Living Dead on Christmas, and made these potent potables. Add 151 at your own risk.
1 tsp. simple syrup or superfine sugar
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. passionfruit juice*
1 oz. Jamaican dark rum
1 oz. white rum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 oz. 151-proof rum if you have a sincere death wish
Shake all ingredients except 151 with ice and pour into chilled collins glass. Float 151 rum on top (or don’t, this last step nearly sent two of us to the ER in 2009). Garnish with a mint sprig and serve with a straw.
*One time we made this, we couldn't find passionfruit juice at Giant, so we used a passionfruit-acai blend. I loved this combination, although I think I was alone. For what it's worth, I didn't get a hangover from the acai Zombie.
Adapted from the Old Mr. Boston Bartender's and Party Guide, 1972 edition.
Grown-Up Hot Cocoa
Like the slush above, this is a recipe from neighborhood holiday parties in Pennsylvania, although a much simpler one.
Make hot cocoa using milk, not water. Any store-bought cocoa mix or homemade concoction will do. Add 1-2 shots of Schnapps. The OG recipe uses ButterShots (butterscotch flavor), which is far and away too sweet for my taste. I add Peppermint Schnapps instead. Top with whipped cream and holiday sprinkles. This is the family favorite for post-Midnight Mass imbibing.
If you’re local to the Dayton area, the Hartzler Family Eggnog can’t be beat. It comes with the added bonus of being pasteurized. My husband’s family swears by an eggnog recipe that I unfortunately can't drink because it contains raw egg. At some point when eggs are not 8x their usual price, I plan to experiment with the recipe to create a safer version to post and drink.
Start with the high-quality eggnog of your choice. Add brandy directly to the punchbowl according to taste or add a shot to punch cups individually. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Alternate additions we love are: dark rum, Kahlua, cognac, and bourbon.
Back in the days when my grandmother hosted her big Christmas Eve party, she would pour an entire bottle of Southern Comfort into the punchbowl. One year, we caught the cat drinking this ridiculous eggnog, which took care of the evening’s entertainment, as the cat later enjoyed a few sips of my uncle’s wine. The cat was fine, although he certainly had a merry Christmas. May your holiday be as exciting as this drunk cat’s.