This month’s cocktails are an eclectic bunch, but they’re all aimed at celebrating the season, in particular, the impending completion of 2020. Robbie Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne” has come to mind a lot lately for me, with its theme of days gone by and doing things for the sake of old times. This verse seems quite fitting for this late December, doesn’t it? So, raise your glasses, in your living rooms, toast one another, and remember that we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet…

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup! and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Penicillin

Penicillin

I really wanted to incorporate a Scotch cocktail into the mix for this column, in keeping with the “Auld Lang Syne” theme. This libation was created in 2005 by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey in Manhattan. The name implies a “cure-all,” which again seems fitting during a pandemic, even if there is simply a placebo effect. Some recipes call for honey-ginger syrup, but I prefer to make a honey syrup which is also a versatile ingredient for other cocktails, most notably, the Prohibition-era Bee’s Knees.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz single-malt or blended Scotch whisky (lightly peated is best)
  • 1/3 oz heavily peated Scotch whisky (Ardbeg 10-year is great here)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz honey syrup (see NOTES)
  • 1 tsp sliced fresh ginger

Instructions

  1. Place the ginger in a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, bruise the ginger to release the flavours.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients, add ice, and shake hard until well-chilled. Double strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube (or filled with cubed ice). Now take your medicine, like a good kid.

Notes

Honey Syrup

1/2 cup local honey (I like Yukon Raw Honey)
1/2 cup water

Combine honey and water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat.
Stir until blended.
Pour into a clean jar, let cool, and label before storing in fridge. Syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks. You can also use this syrup to make a classic cocktail, the Bee’s Knees!

Santa’s Little Helper

Santa’s Little Helper

Cue the Rolling Stones and let’s get ready for the holidays! But really, this might just be the perfect beverage to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Its creamy texture, rich bourbon flavours and bitter notes are the perfect pairing for cookies or chocolate (salted caramels are amazing with this drink). Free Pour Jenny’s has created this riff on a Boulevardier for this season because this year, even Santa might need a little extra help.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon\
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth (Martini Rosso works here, and you can increase it to 1 1/2 oz if you like it sweeter)
  • 2 oz cream (you can use half & half, or heavy cream for a richer taste)
  • 4 drops FPJ Cranberry Bitters
  • A couple of salted caramels for a “garnish”

Instructions

  1. Chill the spirits. Place liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake hard.
  2. Strain into a chilled rocks glass with no ice, and serve with a paper straw and salted caramels on the side. Ho ho ho!

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Scorpion

Scorpion

This tiki cocktail is a circa-1946 Trader Vic recipe. There are a multitude of variations if you look around. It is well-known for being served in a large, volcano-styled bowl, with a bunch of straws, but this version makes one serving and is thus more pandemic-friendly. Even better, you can splash a little overproof rum onto the drink and light it on fire before serving it! I have played with the ratios a tiny bit. I’ve also added Solstice Bitters to balance some of the sweetness from the OJ and orgeat. It is pictured here in a tiki cup that embodies my feelings toward 2020, and with this, I bid this year farewell!

Ingredients

  • 2 oz white rum
  • 2/3 oz Cognac
  • 1 2/3 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2/3 oz orgeat syrup
  • 10 drops FPJ Solstice Bitters
  • Several sprigs of fresh mint, or edible flowers

Instructions

  1. Add all liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a tiki mug or highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Garnish as wildly as you like, and serve with a tiki-themed swizzle stick and a straw.

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Kremas (Cremasse)

Kremas (Cremasse)

Yield: 4, may easily be doubled

Adapted from haitiancooking.com
This festive Haitian recipe is best shared with family and friends. Although this year you might not be gathering the way you’re used to, it can be gifted in little mason jars.

Ingredients

  • 177 ml evaporated milk (half of can) – can use partly skimmed variety for lighter version
  • 300 ml can sweetened condensed milk
  • 200 ml coconut milk (half of can) – shake can well prior to opening
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated (or ground) nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Free Pour Jenny’s Solstice Bitters
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup rum (try Bacardi 8 or Flor de Cana 7)
  • Thick piece of lime zest or nutmeg for garnishing

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk and coconut milk until well blended.
  2. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, bitters, and almond extract; whisk again until frothy. Add lime juice, whisking lightly to thicken the mixture slightly.
  3. Finally, whisk in the rum. Using a funnel and a fine mesh strainer, pour the cocktail into a clean 750 ml bottle (or several mason jars) and then label.
  4. This cocktail will be better the next day! It will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Shake well before using. If you like, you can add a little splash of rum to each serving for a little more of that flavour; stir after adding the rum. Garnish with lime zest or a little freshly grated nutmeg.

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A few notes on alcohol consumption: these cocktails are strong, and they should be consumed in moderation; one serving of spirits is 1 1/2 oz. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. Cheers!

Warm Winter Drinks