hen one is in the midst of all
the holiday busyness, crafting
cocktails can feel like work.
It doesn’t have to!
A well-made cocktail can be simple,
using easily obtained ingredients. Whatever
the occasion over the holidays, if you follow
a few tips from these bartending experts,
you can produce tasty, stylish cocktails.
Think big. By batching cocktails (making
multiple servings in advance), you can save
time and reduce stress at the moment of
service. “So many classic drinks can be built,
let sit and then ladled out when your guests
arrive,” says Kyle Linden Webster, owner of
Expatriate cocktail bar in Portland, Oregon.
For cold cocktails, using a punch bowl allows
for experimentation with ice shapes and
garnishes. For hot cocktails, such as mulled
wine and spiced cider, a standard crockpot
;lls the bill.
Get warm. Whether modifying a classic
cocktail recipe or trying a new invention,
think warming spirits, advises Brian Means,
a Costco member and bar manager for
Dirty Habits in San Francisco. “Brandy is
always great—speci;cally Calvados [apple
brandy] and pear brandies, using those
classic fall spices that go with pecan and
pumpkin pies. Bourbon also has a warming,
And let’s not forget literally warming
up your cocktail. In addition to the mulled
wine and spiced cider, hot toddies o;er an
excellent counterbalance to the dropping
temps. Some say they were typically con-
sumed as bedtime drinks and even as cold
and ;u remedies. Today, they’re consumed
merely for enjoyment.
Dilute well. Tyler Kleinow, a Costco
member and bartender at Marvel Bar in
Minneapolis, recommends paying close
attention to dilution when mixing home
cocktails. “The key to making any sort of
good cocktail is to trust yourself and ensure
that it’s well balanced. Not too sweet, too
salty [or] too boozy.” (A quick taste test is
always a great idea.)
Make it pretty. Artful garnishes can push
an average cocktail to a new level. Webster
recommends orange twists, freshly ground
nutmeg and cinnamon sticks for drinks such
as sangrias and hot toddies. Means adds that,
with some innovation and a dehydrator, any
fall fruit is fair game for garnishes: “pears,
apples, pomegranate seeds, plums, citrus.”
A dusting of good cinnamon can change the
texture of a drink entirely.
Start with a good recipe, prepare ahead
of time, use great techniques and garnish
well: The steps to great holiday cocktails at
home are simple.
Emily McIntyre ( emilymcintyre.com)
writes about food and spirits.
Christmas Cranberry Martini
See recipe on page 71.
Add warmth and
cheer to your parties
by EMILY MCINTYRE
Costco features a
variety of fine wines,
spirits and mixers in