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Holiday Cocktails

We’re heading into prime party season and who doesn’t love to celebrate with a holiday cocktail (or mocktail)!! One of Ina Gartnen's entertaining tips is 'to make drinks easy', so you're spending less time mixing drinks and more time together. So we prepared and tested a few festive drinks that are sure to add a little flair to your holiday gatherings - Ina Garten’s Raspberry Royale and Limoncello Vodka Collins, and a very special Christmas Cranberry Julep. Cheers!

We started with Ina’s Raspberry Royale because it could not be easier!! If you want to impress your guests - with little to no effort - this drink is for you

We added a teaspoon of Raspberry Liquor to each of our Antoine Champagne Flutes, threw in a few raspberries, and popped a bottle of chilled champagne. That’s it.

Ina recommends adding the raspberry liquor and raspberries to the glasses ahead of time and pouring the Champagne as each guest arrives - that way you get to serve them with the beautiful bubbles! To turn this into a mocktail, just use raspberry syrup and sparkling cider instead of liquor and Champagne.

The Limoncello Vodka Collins is usually a drink reserved for warmer weather, but we thought something light and refreshing was a nice option because it’s easy to sip on throughout the night.

It’s a great option when you are hosting because you can make a pitcher ahead of time, instead of mixing vodka drink by drink. We followed the recipe from Cooking For Jeffrey and rimmed each glass with a salt/sugar mixture. Instead of using low ball glasses we opted for La Rochere Amitie Water Glasses and they worked out beautifully - La Rochere glassware always adds a touch of elegance. 

When we saw the new Hôtel Silver Mint Julep glasses, we fell in love and wanted to use them right away - so we searched out this seasonal version of a julep (from Good Housekeeping). The Christmas Cranberry Julep starts with a cranberry syrup, which you can make and refrigerate ahead of time. It’s the same method as a simple syrup - just with cranberries and orange peel. The Good Housekeeping recipe yields enough for eight juleps but we only made four, so we cut it in half. 

Before we poured the drinks, we strained the syrup and got rid of the fruit. Then we added the bourbon to the syrup, mixed well, and poured it into our ice-filled Julep Glasses. We garnished with some cranberries and mint. The chilled silver glasses got a nice little frost on the outside. They were almost too pretty to drink! For a novice bourbon drinker, they were a bit strong - so I let my ice melt a little bit - but they were very tasty and I can see how this version could become a holiday favorite - especially when they look this good! 

We hope you have a wonderful time entertaining and celebrating this holiday season. Cheers!

--Cassandra

 

Ina Garten's Raspberry Royale

Ingredients

6 teaspoons raspberry liqueur
1⁄2 pint fresh raspberries
1 bottle of good Champagne, chilled

Directions

Pour 1 teaspoon of raspberry liqueur into each champagne glass and add 2 or 3 raspberries. When guests arrive, pop the cork and fill each glass with Champagne. Serve immediately.

Copyright 2004, Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved

 

Ina Garten's Limoncello Vodka Collins

Ingredients

1½ cups good vodka, such as Grey Goose
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 lemons)
6 tablespoons sugar syrup
¼ cup Italian Limoncello liqueur
1½ cups cold club soda, such as Pelligrino
Ice cubes
Sliced lemon, for serving

Directions

Combine the vodka, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and Limoncello in a large pitcher.  Just before serving, pour in the club soda and stir.  Fill highball glasses with ice and pour the mixture over the ice.  Garnish each drink with a slice of lemon and serve cold.

Copyright 2014, Cooking For Jeffery, by Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

 

Christmas Cranberry Julep (courtesy of Good Housekeeping)

Ingredients

1 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
2 strip fresh orange peel
1 c. fresh cranberries
1 c. Kentucky bourbon
8 sprig fresh mint

Directions

In 2-quart saucepan, heat water, sugar, and orange peel to boiling on high. Add cranberries and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until cranberries pop and split but still hold their shape. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. (Syrup and cranberries can be refrigerated up to one week.)

When ready to serve, strain cranberry syrup through sieve set over 1-quart liquid measure; discard solids. Spear 3 raw cranberries on each of 8 toothpicks. Stir bourbon into syrup. Fill 8 glasses with crushed ice. Divide bourbon mixture among glasses. Garnish with cranberry spears and mint.

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