Holiday Cocktails

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Take a tip from our in-house bartender, Rob, and be the host of the hour at this year’s holiday gatherings.

Hello Ledbury readers! I am happy to have been asked once again to share with you a few seasonally-appropriate drinking options for this holiday season. Today I have three drinks to show you – two single-serving cocktails from my home bar, and a more classic multi-serving warmer.

The Toddy and Soul

This warm cocktail is my, perhaps heavy-handed, take on a toddy. Toddies, which are traditionally some variation of spirit, sugar, lemon juice, and a good amount of boiling water, always seem a little watered down. Swapping out the water and sugar for hot apple cider lends the drink more body. For the spirit, I go for a mix of bourbon and scotch, and I really think the smokiness of scotch pairs well with more common wintery flavors. The fernet is to add a bit of bitter complexity to a drink that would otherwise be too sweet.

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)
  • .5 oz. smoky scotch (I used McClelland’s)
  • .25 oz. Fernet Branca
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Hot apple cider
  • Garnish: Lemon wheel, cloves, ground nutmeg

Prep a 10oz heat-proof mug by filling it with boiling water, or by filling it with water and microwaving for 2 to 3 minutes. Empty the water and add all the ingredients, hot cider last. Garnish with a slice of lemon, whole clove, and freshly ground nutmeg.

The Colombo Flip

The flip is a classic style drink that goes great with the holiday season. Using just the yolk of an egg gives the drink a velvety, heavier texture similar to an eggnog.

  • 1 oz. aged rum (I used Zaya)
  • .75 oz Amaro CioCiaro
  • .75 oz. homemade vanilla syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Garnish: ground nutmeg

Add all ingredients, except the nutmeg, to a shaker and dry shake (no ice). Add ice and shake again. Strain into an old fashioned glass and finish by grating nutmeg on top.

Mulled Wine

Lastly, we have a beverage that can easily be made to serve multiple people at your holiday gathering — mulled wine. This is the same recipe that Ledbury uses for its own holiday parties in our Richmond shop, and it’s always a crowd pleaser.

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) apple cider
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • .5 tsp. coarsely grated ginger root
  • .5 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 5 pods of cracked cardamom
  • Zest of half an orange or lemon
  • .5 cup brown sugar (can be substituted with maple syrup or honey)
  • .25 cup brandy

Wrap the spices and zest in a large piece of cheesecloth or spice bag, and put in a stainless steel pot. Aluminum pots will impart a metallic taste after everything sits for a while. Pour the wine, brandy, and apple cider into the pot, and simmer on low heat. Never boil. Once warm, add your sugar (or maple syrup or honey) and leave over low heat for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is steaming, it is ready to serve. Garnish with a lemon wedge, like the recipe calls for, or you can be like me and just use the lemon peel. Both are good.

– Rob

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