Go authentic and ask for rye (Canadian Club is the most common) when you order your classic Manhattan, a blend of whisky, sweet vermouth and bitters. Floral with plenty of warmth and an appropriately seasonal burgundy hue, it’s the cocktail for gents perusing Christmas dinner menus.
Captain Blackbeard’s Brew
This one is worth ordering if only for the name; the newest addition to the cocktail list at Lily & Bloom (lily-bloom.com) is a combination of Ron Zacapa 23 year old Guatemalan rum, coffee liqueur and cold dripped coffee that will ensure you get a buzz but still make it the whole way through secret santa.
The short leap from Manhattan to Suburban all depends on how much liquid patience you need this festive season. In this rendition rye whisky is blended with dark rum, port, orange bitters and a dash of Angostura magic to create a mellow yet robust mood enhancer.
A far more festively appropriate libation, the Brown Derby makes up in sweet, mellow flavor profile what it lacks in a name. A double run with the dark rum – something with balls, perhaps Appleton Estate – is balanced with lime juice and a splash of maple sugar (you can always use the syrup from your bed side table) is used to make a drink reminiscent of the days when maple syrup, the most glorious of condiments, was used to make rum. Memories.
The Old Fashioned as just about as many variations as a cocktail can have, which shows how harmoniously its ingredients – whisky, sugar and bitters – exist. If only humans could take note! Antonio Lai’s super sexy new lounge VEA (vea.hk) at The Wellington has its own imaginative take; the Bone Marrow Old Fashioned features bone marrow fat-washed bourbon, a touch of sugar, and a dash of Angostura, and is finished with fresh orange peel zest and a plump cherry.
Tom & Jerry
An ideal tipple if you’re having friends over this Christmas, the Tom & Jerry is all about sharing, and that includes the risk of heart attack thanks to its 12 eggs, 1 cup of sugar and a bottle of brandy! Add pinches of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, a bit of milk and…oh, and another bottle of booze, this time dark rum, and you’re good to go. Sharing is caring, just don’t plan to move anytime soon.
Hot Buttered Rum
Another great concoction for sharing, Hot Buttered Rum is a mix of rum (spiced is good here), butter (not margarine or Olivio), hot water or cider, sugar syrup and spice, including the usually suspects cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. With its origins in New England, Christmas is a great excuse to blow the dust off this classic, if not exactly heart friendly tipple. As in the bedroom, cream is optional, but always appreciated.
Let’s face it, you can add pretty much any spirit to coffee and cream and you’re truckin’ in the right direction. The classic, however, requires that a good Irish whisky – we love Jameson 15 – is combined with piping hot coffee (espresso gives it a nice kick), sugar and heavy cream. Feel free to lace this spirit warming concoction with a touch of Baileys, Kahlua or even the butterscotch schnapps at the back of the home bar.