Cocktails, mocktails help kick up your scaled-down holiday season

A whiskey sour made by the writer.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
A whiskey sour made by the writer.

Categories: Celebrate, Food

People like to drink during the holidays and the numbers prove it: Imbibers consume an average of twice the amount of alcohol during the holidays as compared with the rest of the year, according to a survey of 2,000 people conducted by OnePoll. Commerce platform Womply reported that four of the five biggest drinking days in America are in the last two weeks of December, but the demand for nonalcoholic beverages for teetotalers (or those just looking to cut back on alcohol consumption) is increasing as celebrators look for festive tipples, sans hangover.

Mintel, a global research group, reported that the request for zero-proof spirits on restaurant and bar menus has grown by 35 percent. For the average home consumer, though, stocking an additional stash of nonalcoholic liquors can be expensive and space-consuming. In a time when most of us are staying home and avoiding bars or large gatherings, learning how to adapt traditional holiday cocktails to accommodate nondrinkers is an easy process to provide a variety of drinks, regardless of the alcohol content.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum is one of those holiday cocktails that everyone knows about but few have actually tasted. End the cycle this year. Make some for yourself.

Nonalcoholic version / makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Hot, brewed chai tea
  • Heavy cream

Steps

Beat together the butter, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt with a stand or hand mixer until light and well combined.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture to a heat-proof mug. Add hot tea to the mug, leaving a half-inch of space before the top of the mug, and stir to mix all ingredients together. Turn a spoon upside down and hold it so the edge of the spoon’s bowl is just touching the top of the cocktail, then slowly pour 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream onto the back of the spoon to create a “float.” Serve immediately.

Alcoholic version / makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Spiced or dark rum
  • Very hot water
  • Heavy cream

Steps

Beat together the butter, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt with a stand or hand mixer until light and well combined.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture to a heat-proof mug with 4 tablespoons spiced rum. Add hot water to the mug, leaving a half-inch of space before the top of the mug, and stir to mix all ingredients together. Turn a spoon upside down and hold it so the edge of the spoon’s bowl is just touching the top of the cocktail, then slowly pour 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream onto the back of the spoon to create a “float.” Serve immediately.

Recommended: Montauk Distilling Sunburn Cinnamon Flavored Rum (Riverhead, NY)

More from Celebrate 2020

Whiskey Sour

There’s something about a golden-colored whiskey cocktail, garnished with a bright, round cherry like a Christmas tree ornament, that seems most appropriate for winter. Surprisingly, it can be made nonalcoholic without losing the rich, malty flavor of the traditional option.

Nonalcoholic version / makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons bourbon alternative (we suggest Lyre’s American Malt or Ritual Whiskey Alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1/2 egg white (about 1 tablespoon), optional
  • 1/2 orange slice, for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish
  • Ice

Steps

Add the bourbon substitute, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white (optional) into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Add a handful of ice and shake again, until the mixture seems frothy. Strain the mixture into a coupe or lowball glass. Fold the orange slice in half and skewer onto a toothpick with a maraschino cherry and place in the drink, then serve.

Alcoholic version / makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (or preferred whiskey)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1/2 egg white (about 1 tablespoon), optional
  • 1/2 orange slice, for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish
  • Ice

Steps

Add the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white (optional) into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Add a handful of ice and shake again, until the mixture seems frothy. Strain the mixture into a coupe or lowball glass. Fold the orange slice in half and skewer onto a toothpick with a maraschino cherry and place in the drink, then serve.

Recommended: Schenectady Distilling Company Black Rock Bourbon (Schenectady)

Cran-Razz Spritzer

For a good anytime drink (Christmas morning, for instance), try this simple spritzer.

Nonalcoholic version / makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cranberry-raspberry juice blend, cold
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • 1-inch section lime peel
  • 1/2 cup sparkling apple cider
  • Whole cranberries, optional

Steps

Combine the juices together in a champagne flute. Twist the lime peel to release its oils into the flute, then place the lime peel in the flute. Top the champagne flute with sparkling apple cider. Garnish by floating a few cranberries on top, if desired.

Alcoholic version: Follow the recipe as directed, but substitute the sparkling apple cider with sparkling wine.

Recommended: Saratoga Sparkling Co. sparkling rose (Galway)

Wassail

Wassail is a traditional drink consumed around the time of the winter solstice, but few people drink it these days. Bring the recipe back and enjoy it on a cold winter day.

Nonalcoholic version / makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 whole nutmeg

Steps

Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a simmer on the stove, then reduce to low to maintain a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes, then ladle into mugs and enjoy.

Alcoholic version: Follow the recipe as directed, but add 2 tablespoons brandy

Recommended: Harvest Spirits Applejack or Rare Pear Brandy (Valatie)

Deanna Fox is a food and agriculture journalist. www.foxonfood.com @DeannaNFox

More from Celebrate 2020

Leave a Reply